What’s it like to be paired with Tiger Woods? A Tour pro explains
On paper, Tom Hoge’s first full PGA Tour season in 2015 was highlighted by two top-10 finishes: a T5 at the RBC Canadian Open, and a T10 at the Barracuda Championship.
But it wasn’t until the season’s final tournament, the Wyndham Championship, that Hoge managed to fulfill a longtime dream: playing alongside Tiger Woods.
Thanks to opening rounds of 62-67 (129), Hoge was right in the mix heading into the weekend. And when Woods also posted a 36-hole total of 129 (64-65), the two were paired for Saturday’s third round — a surreal development for Hoge.
On this week’s episode of Subpar, Hoge described to hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz what it was like to tee it up with the game’s GOAT for the first time.
“I’m Tiger’s biggest fan, I would say, growing up, and to get that pairing was pretty cool,” Hoge said. “I was locked in, ready to go.”
Hoge said he watched most of Woods’ second round from his hotel room, and was pulling for him to play well so they could be paired together.
When the round began, Hoge said his opening shots went well, and he left himself with a short putt for birdie while Woods had a 15-footer. Unsurprisingly, he drained it.
“Everyone’s going frickin’ crazy,” Hoge said. “I’ve got like a four-foot, downhill, left-to-right slider that’s outside the hole, and I’m like, if I miss this, I might hit this off the green, 20 feet down the hill.
“I’ll never forget that feeling,” he continued. “I stepped over that putt, and it was like — I mean, you’re shaking, you’re moving, just so much excitement, adrenaline moving through your body. The crowd was still goin’ crazy, everyone’s runnin’ around, screamin’. And that’s probably the first lag putt I’ve hit from four feet. I was just trying to cozy it up there and get onto that next tee.”
Hoge ended up posting a round of 72 that day and eventually finished T38, while Woods shot a 68 and ultimately ended up T10.
“I’ve been fortunate, I got to to play with him two times since,” Hoge said. “I felt a lot more comfortable those next few times.”