Why watching Tiger Woods in person for the first time was a letdown for this pro

Tiger Woods at the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama.

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As a youngster, Zane Scotland wasn’t just your average Tiger Woods fan. He was a superfan, and even, incredibly, won a contest in the UK that was searching for the next Tiger Woods.

Scotland developed into a talented amateur player, eventually becoming the youngest-ever qualifier for the Open Championship at only 16 years old. Now, he’s a top-rated instructor overseas, and on this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, Scotland detailed the entertaining story of what it was like when he had the chance to see Tiger Woods in person for the first time.

“My dad and I got a trip to Valderrama to go and watch the Ryder Cup, and that was amazing,” Scotland began. “All I wanted to do was go and see Tiger. We arrived on the first day. Dad’s like, let’s go and watch some of these matches. I’m like, no, gotta go find Tiger. He’s out on No. 12. We trek all out there, get a spot on the tee. I’m like 13, 14, so I can rustle through the crowds to get to the front.

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“I’d never seen Tiger in real life before, and he comes through and he gets on his tee, 2-iron comes out,” Scotland continued. “I’m like, right. I’ve got right down the line here watching it. And he hits this 2-iron, no word of a lie, just like, snap-hooked it into a tree about 150 yards off the tee. I was like, is this some sort of joke?”

“Your hero’s just hit a low snap-hook into the trees!” Harmon laughed.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Scotland said.

For more from Scotland, including how he transitioned from elite player to a top instructor, and his advice for aspiring amateurs, check out the full interview below.

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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.