PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – An induction ceremony that drifted well past the scheduled two-hour window was predictably highlighted by a Woods. No, not Tiger Woods, who gave an inspiring 17-minute speech. Instead, it was his daughter, Sam, who introduced the newest member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
With rare insight into Tiger Woods the father, Sam Woods began with a story from the 2007 U.S. Open, which Tiger lost to Angel Cabrera by a stroke.
“My dad found himself in a position to make an 18-foot putt to force a U.S. Open playoff, which he missed by a foot,” Sam Woods, 14, laughed. “He then had to rush to the airport, fly from Pittsburgh to Orlando, and drive to the Winnie Palmer Hospital. Within five minutes of walking into the hospital room, still wearing his red golf shirt, on June 18, I was born. He may have lost that day, but he won the greatest gift of all.”
Sam Woods offered a side of her father that has been largely hidden by an athlete who values his privacy.
She went on to describe an active father who was a regular at violin concerts and soccer games. She even offered a glimpse into a memorable family vacation to the Bahamas that featured Tiger’s signature resilience, as she and her dad fought through jellyfish stings to keep diving and looking for hermit crabs on the beach.
“I realized while writing this speech that, no matter what life throws our way, we somehow come out together and stronger. You know, train hard, fight easy,” she said.
But the most emotional moments came when Sam Woods recounted Tiger’s single-vehicle accident in February 2021 that required multiple surgeries to his right leg and has kept him from competing on the PGA Tour.
“We didn’t know if you’d come home with two legs or not. Now not only are you about to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but you’re standing here on your own two feet,” Sam Woods said. “This is why you deserve this, because you’re a fighter.”
The emotional introduction was felt by everyone in attendance, including Tiger.
“Crap, I just lost a bet to [Steve] Stricker that I wouldn’t cry,” Tiger said. “Thank you, Sam.”