4 awesome Tiger Woods Masters stories you might have missed

There aren’t many names that go together better than Tiger Woods and the Masters.

With Woods likely to make his next competitive appearance next month at Augusta National, we dug back into the archives of GOLF Subpar to check out stories from some of our guests about the five-time Masters champ.

Keep reading below for some of the best Tiger Woods Masters stories you may have missed from Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Paul Casey and Justin Thomas.

Chris DiMarco and Tiger Woods shake hands at the 2005 Masters.
Smack-talking Tiger Woods in his prime? Here’s what that was like
By: Jack Hirsh

Tony Finau’s Sunday deadpan (2020)

Tony Finau shot a third-round 64 at the 2019 Masters that jumped him into contention for his first major title. But that also meant, due to the final-round tee times being pushed to the morning due to weather, that he’d be in the final threesome with Woods.

“I’ve dreamed since I was a kid of competing against Tiger, playing against him in the final group, being paired with him in the final group of a Masters or a U.S. Open,” Finau told Knost and Stoltz in 2020. “Of course I was nervous, but, you know, it didn’t feel the way I thought it would on Sunday.”

If he was expecting Woods to be chatty while he chased down his 15th major, he was mistaken. After the two exchanged pleasantries on the 1st hole, Finau said he didn’t hear a word from Woods until No. 7.

“Tiger and I are walking next to each other off the tee and I said, ‘Hey, Tiger,'” Finau said. “You know, it’s kind of awkward. I’m like, how come he’s not talking to you? Yeah. I should say something to him. So I’m like, ‘Hey, Tiger, how’s the kids,’ you know?

“And he’s like, ‘Oh, they’re doing fine.’ And he just laser-eyed, straight down the fairway and just kept on walking. And from that point on I said, ‘Well, I guess I know where his attitudes are.'”

Finau said he didn’t speak to Woods again until he congratulated him on the victory.

Tiger Woods and Tony Finau shake hands after the 2019 Masters.
Finau spoke to Woods again after the final putt dropped. Augusta National via Getty Images

Xander Schauffele’s runner-up (2021)

Finau ended up tying for fifth that week, Xander Schauffele was one of the three runners-up to Woods.

“It’s funny, finishing second there doesn’t hurt as much, I think, as other finishes I’ve had, just because at the end of the day, you know, I sat there waiting for him to go into scoring,” Schauffele said. “Basically it was a historical moment.”

Schauffele said the scene of fans erupting when Woods came in from the final green was like a basketball game.

But before that, he said when he looked at the leaderboard and saw his name tied with Woods, he “completely lost my marbles.”

Paul Casey and the bird (2020)

Tiger Woods can do things mere mortals simply can’t comprehend. That even includes not hitting golf balls.

There are numerous videos of Woods stopping his swing, even after he’s already started his downswing, but none were as memorable as when he stopped mid-downswing on Augusta’s 13th tee.

Paul Casey was in Woods’ group that day along with Aaron Baddeley.

“He loads up and he’s in full load, the top of the back swing on his way down and a bird — one or two birds — flew overhead. And the shadow — there’s footage of it somewhere — the shadow passes through kind of the golf ball in his stance and the line, just the shadow, distracts him,” Casey recalled in 2020. “And he stops.

“He’s on the way down and he manages to stop before he gets to the golf ball. It was the most unbelievable — I mean, one, to have the awareness with the speed of the shadow to make the decision: ‘Oh shit, I don’t want to hit this. I want to stop.’ And then have the physical capabilities of stopping it?

“I was jaw wide open. So was Bads’ and I’m like, ‘I’ve seen some cool stuff. But that’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.'”

Justin Thomas’ practice sessions (2020)

Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas are close, Woods has even referred to Thomas as his son Charlie’s “big brother.”

Even from the beginning of their relationship, Thomas said Woods would show him the ropes of being a successful pro golfer. But the timing was key.

Thomas recalled one practice session from right before the 2017 Masters, which Woods missed due to injury.

“He’s just teaching me so many shots around the greens and what holes, you know, I’m going to use it on and how to hit different bunker shots and why I can’t do this, why I can’t do that,” Thomas said in 2020. “And I was like, ‘Man, that was unbelievable.'”

The next year, Thomas, now a major champion, sought out Woods’ advice for playing Augusta in 2018. The request wasn’t granted this time.

“I was like, ‘Hey, let me know if you want to do some short game work this week. Like I’m around,'” Thomas said. “He’s like, ‘I’m playing this year.’

“Yeah, I know, but let me know if you want to practice,” Thomas replied.

“He’s like, ‘See you in Augusta.'”

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.