When the Tiger prowled at The Grove
16 April 2019 / Golf /
Tiger Woods’ historic win at The Masters on Sunday brought back wonderful memories of when The Grove was fortunate enough to have him compete on our championship golf course and, like at Augusta, he finished a champion.
To this day, the WGC – American Express Championship played here in September 2006 remains the only WGC event to have been staged in the UK.
The world’s best players arrived in London a week after The Ryder Cup was played at The K Club in Ireland, an incredible and emotionally-charged match (Irishman Darren Clarke had recently lost his wife to cancer) that eventually saw a European win.
In incredible fashion, mirroring his epic final round exploits at The Masters, Tiger reigned supreme over our lush, manicured championship fairways, picking up his 12th career WGC title with a flawless eight-shot victory.
Tiger’s feats over those four rounds – he scored 63, 64, 67, 67 for a -23 total – remain at the heart of our golfing experience to this very day. Thousands of golfers that visit our open-to-all facility each year touch a piece of Tiger’s achievement during their round.
Walking or driving up to the 9th tee (the 18th tee during the WGC event), visitors are still greeted with a sign to mark Tiger’s exploits during the tournament.
The 15-time Major winner eagled this hole three times and birdied it once (lipping out for a fourth eagle!), to complete a remarkable show of power, precision and strength on this 567-yard, par 5 hole, called ‘Ruined Tower’.
Golfers today still marvel at the three plaques we have in the fairway, each marking the point from which Tiger hit his second shots on the tournament days to make an eagle.
Woods commented at the time: “It has been good to me that hole, hasn’t it!”
Many try to replicate Tiger’s phenomenal achievement when visiting The Grove. Even if they make it to one of the plaques with a long tee shot, they are left with a not insignificant 275-yard second shot to a tight green that only a select few achieve.
Tiger’s historic Masters victory at Augusta gave us the perfect opportunity to delve into our photographic archives too, and remind ourselves of that special week in the life of The Grove.
Ironically, the two joint runners-up 13 years ago (Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter and Australian and former Masters winner, Adam Scott) were both in contention last week at Augusta, proving that age is no barrier when playing world-class golf.
But for us mere mortals, here is the advice of our golf course architect, Kyle Phillips, when playing the beautiful 9th hole at The Grove:
“Let yourself off your tether and give it a ride, taking aim just to the left of the spreading Cedar in the distance. Don’t fear what is beyond a tangly outcrop of grass that breaks the view to the green, because a gnarly waste of humps and hollows on the left is the only real trouble.”
Good luck to those of you that are fortunate to take on Tiger’s Challenge at ‘Ruined Tower’, we hope to see you at The Grove soon.