When he was in his prime, it’s no secret Tiger Woods was the most talented golfer on the course. But fellow pros have long raved about the other gift Woods possessed, which might have been his best: his mind.
Adam Scott, who will compete in his 10th Presidents Cup this week, faced off against Woods several times over the last two decades. They first met in the gym at UNLV when Woods would sometimes work out there and Scott was a student athlete at the school, but they didn’t really get to know each other until they were both working with Butch Harmon.
Scott learned a lot about Woods, and on this week’s Subpar Podcast with co-hosts Drew Stoltz and Colt Knost, he was asked if he had any good stories about the 15-time major champ.
“Plenty of them,” Scott said.
The Aussie went on to explain how much better Woods was than everyone else and also touched on the psychological warfare he’d use on the golf course.
“Physically he just did everything better than everyone. He drove it better than anyone, irons, chipped, putted, clutch, it was everything better than everyone,” Scott said. “And that’s why he was dominating. He just had it in the head so much better than everyone and then he got to the point where he would just play mind games on the course and in majors. He would pull way too much club on a par-3 and let you see it as it was playing out. He’d make kind of a full swing with a 7 and flight it in there nicely and let you see it was a 7, and you were tossing out whether if it was an 8 or a 9. And you were like, ‘Well, it’s definitely an 8 if he hit 7,’ and then you go ahead and hit an 8 and airmail the green.
“This was kind of standard stuff when he was just messing with guys so much,” Scott continued. “It got to the point where I started having some success playing with Tiger by not watching him play. That was the best way to go. I literally turned my back and didn’t watch him make a move or hit a shot or feel like I could get sucked into the drama that was playing with Tiger Woods because there was so much going on.”
Scott brought up one story from the 2000 Open Championship at St. Andrews, which was Scott’s first major as a pro. He played a practice round with Woods, David Duval and Mark O’Meara.
Playing for some money, Scott was the only player without a bogey through 10 holes. On the 11th, playing an approach into the wind, Woods hits a pure 4-iron into the green. Scott had a 5-iron in his hand, which he thought was the right club. But after seeing Woods’ shot, Scott started to question his club selection. If Woods, one of the best ball-strikers and longest players on the planet, is hitting 4-iron from there, could Scott get a 5-iron on from a similar spot?
“I saw he hit the 4, went back to the bag, got the 4, and airmailed the green,” Scott said. “[Tiger] said, ‘You should never look at my bag.’”
You can listen to Scott’s full Subpar appearance below, in which he talks about the Presidents Cup, his career, where his family calls home now and more.