What it’s like to play with Tiger Woods at the Masters

Tiger Woods with amateur Neal Shipley walk and talk on the third hole during the final round of Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia.

Tiger Woods and Neal Shipley on Sunday at the 2024 Masters.

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If you think it doesn’t get much cooler than playing in the Masters as an amateur, well, Neal Shipley might be one to say, “Hold my beer!”

Not only did the 22-year-old Ohio State Buckeye qualify for the Masters as last year’s U.S. Amateur championship runner-up, he finished as the low am at this year’s Masters, and played his Sunday round alongside Tiger Woods — a pretty incredible sequence of events!

“It’s been a dream week,” Shipley told hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz on this week’s episode of Subpar. “Especially for any golfer. Tough to beat.”

After firing rounds of 80 and 82, respectively, Shipley and Woods were placed in an unexpected Sunday pairing, which Shipley’s caddie was first alerted to when people started texting.

“We went to the practice facility and we were just working on some things, and my caddie came over to us and he’s like, dude, my phone just blew up. We’re playing with Tiger,” Shipley said. “It’s like, there’s no way. Somebody’s messing it up somewhere. And then I went over, this little scoreboard that they have out there and saw that it looked like we’re gonna get paired of Tiger. And I just, like, holy smokes. That’s nuts.”

Given Woods’ physical condition, Shipley said he also had a brief worry that Woods may not continue playing.

“My second thought was, oh jeez. Like, he shot 82. I really hope he doesn’t withdraw,” Shipley said.

Once the round began on Sunday, Shipley said he broke the ice with some college chat.

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“We didn’t talk much down the first hole, but then on the second hole, I asked him like, oh, you’re from So Cal, right? Like I didn’t know that already,” Shipley said. “And so then we got into his little story. We start talking about this time at Stanford a bit down the second hole and that was kind of what we led with and kind of got the conversation flowing from there.”

It’s one thing to talk to Tiger, and it’s another to impress him. But Shipley did just that with a nicely-executed pitch shot on the second hole.

“The pitch shot you hit on No. 2, that little slice-flop-spinner was one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen,” Knost commented.

“Yeah, that was one of the top pitch shots I hit all week for sure,” Shipley replied. “It’s such a fun green because you can just be so creative and feed it in in different ways. I dropped a lot of balls there in all my practice trips and practiced that one a lot. So we, we knew how to hit that one, and that was a ton of fun. I wish it would have gone in. We would have got the huge Tiger roar.”

“Tiger gave you a little nod,” Knost said. “Like, that was impressive. There’s not many guys, their first trip, that can do that.”

For more from Shipley and his experience at the Masters, including what it was like to become a Masters meme, check out the full episode below.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.

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