Ahhh, Torrey. It’s been too long.
Not too long since we’ve seen you, Miss San Diego, just too long since 2008, that magical year where you hosted a pair of Tiger Woods victories, one by eight strokes over Ryuji Imada (now the 1,869th ranked player in the world) and another against some guy named Rocco.
Facetious name-dropping aside, that second victory we know all too well: that epic U.S. Open of 91 holes where a 32-year-old Tiger won his 14th major championship. As a throwback to that special week and to honor Tiger’s return to Torrey, we perused the endless Sports Illustrated archives for a telling photo, that special snap we could hold on to as 41-year-old Tiger tees it up at Torrey Pines this week. It needed to have Sunday Red.
There are so many things happening in the photo above (taken by Fred Vuich). So many things. From the fashion to the rooftop, the historic event that was Woods triumphing on a busted leg to the astonishment of his fans is captured in the photo below. It explains so much, yet leaves plenty to the imagination. We’ve broken it all down below. Enjoy the flashback.
Lady in Yellow
First, look at the entire crowd. In this photo, there is one person who is sitting and one person who has completely ignored the shot (Psst: same person). It’s that lady in yellow with her butt planted in the rough. At this exact moment, Tiger Woods has lost his tee shot into a fairway bunker and old man Mediate is sitting cozy in the fairway. Somehow, you’re NOT watching where T-Dub’s shot ends up? Please, don’t mind history, stay seated.
Monday’s playoff was madness, but do you think this guy behind Tiger ever actually lost track of the golf ball? Not a chance. Everything about him is bold. He took his v-neck even deeper than Tiger took driver and is unfazed by the pair of khaki cargo-bros leaping in front of him. Unlike most spectators with binoculars, his aren’t plastered to his forehead. No, this guy understands how easy it is to lose the ball at impact, so he has his binocs holstered, draped around the neck. He’ll know, better than anyone that, in just a matter of seconds, Tiger’s ball has spun back to 12 feet.
‘This is all I had’
Damn, you people, this is golf, not a rock concert! It should be mandatory that U.S. Open attendees attend another Tour event prior to showing up to our nation’s championship in a tuxedo shirt and flip flops.
How lucky this man is to have witnessed the brilliance of Tiger Woods; to have been there (and not at work) on that fateful Monday. It’s okay to be jealous of his front row seat. Surely you wouldn’t screw it up like he did. We can confidently assume this guy woke up that morning wearing a cheeky grin and thinking ’Tiger is going to win the U.S. Open, and damnit, I’m going to dress just like him!’ But c’mon, bro. Only a true Tiger Woods fan knows the stripes get lost on Sunday.
I love you people. I love every last one of you. Golf diehards dying so hard that, without tickets, they ascended to the roof of a parking garage to see ol’ Eldrick out there chasing glory. These people, I hope, have their binoculars plastered to their foreheads.
The king of #TourSauce never met a shot he couldn’t react to. While this one is rather timid, just glancing at this photo should elicit automatic memories of the once all-mighty and powerful Tiger. Sure, he was spraying his driver around the lot and scrambling his ass off to make sure Rocco ended his career without a major, but Woods was a walking, living, breathing piece of reactionary art. For him to hit a shot within a ringed crowd AND NOT send his iron twirling into a g-force frenzy would be bizarre. Unlike much of the above, we may still get a taste of that this weekend.