The ‘worst thing’ about playing near Tiger Woods at tournaments, says this pro

Hundreds of pros have stories of what it’s like to play alongside Tiger Woods, or tales of some heroic shots they saw the 15-time major champion pull off.

You also might have heard those same players talk about some of the challenges that come with playing with Woods. Or, more accurately, the challenges of playing among the chaos that is the galleries Woods attracts.

Back in 2018, Rory McIlroy touched on the topic, calling it “Tigermania.”

“I swear, playing in front of all that, he gives up half a shot a day on the field,” McIlroy said after their first-round grouping at the Genesis Invitational. “Like, it’s two shots a tournament he has to give to the field because of all that goes on around. It’s tiring. I need a couple Advil; I’ve got a headache after all that. … He has to deal with that every single time he goes out to play.”

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Chris DiMarco, a three-time PGA Tour winner, joined this week’s GOLF Subpar podcast to talk about the PGA Tour Champions, money in pro golf and more. But the majority of the conversation focused on battling Woods, specifically at the 2005 Masters, when they were paired together for the final round and DiMarco shot 68 to Woods’ 71 to force a playoff, which Woods won.

DiMarco said Woods is actually extremely conscious, and then in turn considerate, of the chaos around him. One common issue is that when Woods finishes holes, the crowd around the green will leave en route to the next tee box, trying their best to snag a spot in front. All that moving and chatter can be distracting to Woods’ playing partners, who still might need to finish the hole.

“He’s really good about that,” DiMarco said. “If he lags one up within a foot of the hole, a lot of times he’ll mark it knowing that that’s what’s going to happen, knowing that people are going to come by and just leave as soon as he’s done.”

Interestingly, DiMarco says the Woods effect goes beyond his group, too.

“The worst thing is playing in front of him or playing behind him,” he said. “When you play in front of him, everyone’s running up to the green while you are playing, and if you are playing behind him, they putt in, you look down to get a club, and the next thing you know there’s nobody around the green. It’s a lot better playing with him too, because if you hit a bad shot, you are hitting somebody and the ball is only going a couple of feet off the green instead of 10 yards off the green, because you are hitting into the crowd.”

For more from DiMarco, including the differences of what it’s like playing with Woods vs. Phil Mickelson, listen here or watch the YouTube video below.

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