Maverick McNealy has drawn comparisons to Tiger Woods for the last several years, given they share an alma mater, Stanford University, and the distinction (along with Patrick Rodgers) of claiming the most individual wins in Stanford history, with 11.
While McNealy recently told Alan Shipnuck about the influence Tiger still has at Stanford, Woods’s influence on McNealy’s own life actually stretches back much further, as evidenced by this epic story McNealy shared with me at a recent Callaway shoot.
“When I was 5, my aunt, who went to Stanford, knew Tiger,” McNealy said. “And he came over to our house. We had a little chipping area in the backyard. And so Tiger came over, and my dad says, ‘I hit golf balls down into that canyon. You can’t reach anything down there.’ And Tiger says, ‘Can I try?’ ‘Sure.’
So my dad goes out, pulls out a brand new glove — ’cause it’s Tiger — brings out an old TaylorMade bubble shaft driver, tees up a ball, and, no warm-up, no waggle, Tiger hits one. And he’s like, ‘Oh, it’s about 10 yards right.’ My dad said, ‘Yeah, 50 yards short of anything.’ And he had a little house, a little roof, way down there [in the canyon]. And Tiger was like, ‘Give me another ball.’ So he gets another ball, tees it up, hits it and says, ‘That’s right on it.’
And it’s a dead quiet, dead still evening. And the ball’s going, going, going. Then I hear, bam! Right off the roof. And so we all run inside, giggling and laughing. The roof had to have been 400 yards out there and 50 feet, maybe more, dropped down into a canyon valley. And Tiger says, ‘Oh, I’m going to do that again.’ So he gets out, puts another ball down, rips it. And bam! Rips it off the roof again. We said, ‘OK, we’re done. We’re done.'”