It’s late August, 1996. I had just arrived at college for my freshman year. Like most college kids back then with this new-found independence, I was taking the opportunity to sit in my dorm room and stare at the TV, free from anyone telling me where to be and what to do. Without Netflix, or YouTube, or Prime, we watched what was on TV. And on this particular Sunday, the eyes of the golf world were fixated on the final of the United States Amateur Championship.
Over the last few years, Tiger Woods had burst on the scene and captivated golfers with his unmatched talent, prodigious length, and record setting play. It’s safe to say that no amateur golfer had garnered this much attention since Bobby Jones, some 70 years prior. Tiger was no longer just known in golf circles, he was a celebrity.
As I sat on my bed in that tiny room in State College, PA, it was time to watch Tiger take his victory lap through that final match and achieve what no other golfer had ever accomplished...winning three U.S. Amateur Championships in a row.
But something happened on that path to victory. A young, fellow college player from the University of Florida, named Steve Scott, was 5 up after 18 holes. This wasn’t supposed to be the story line. How could Tiger’s monster drives and the backing of an entire gallery, not take down this opponent? Was Steve Scott going to be what stood in between Tiger Woods and golf history?
As many of you know, the legend of Tiger Woods took a huge leap forward that day. His comeback from that 5 down deficit was everything you came to expect from the most dominant player in our game. Tiger would go on to turn professional shortly after, would soon win his first PGA Tour event, and eventually The Masters, just 7 months later. You know the rest.
But as we learn in the episode, all was not lost for Steve Scott that day. He played as well as he could, taking Tiger Woods to the brink of defeat and during his college days, reached #1 in the amateur golf rankings. But it’s an episode on the 34th hole of the match that stands out to many. We discuss what happened and how Steve’s reaction, his sportsmanship and his decision to do the right thing, even in defeat, has benefited him time and time again.
In fact, it’s the title of his upcoming book, “Hey Tiger- You Need to Move Your Mark Back”, the story of the ‘96 U.S. Amateur and the moment that has defined Steve Scott’s career as a player and now as a PGA Professional. You can get the book HERE.