Last week Tiger Woods gave an exclusive interview to TIME in which he discussed his momentous career and what to expect going forward. The interview caused quite a stir, which got us thinking: What kind of impact did Woods have when he first stepped onto the scene?
For that, we have the Way Back Machine, an archive of the Internet. GOLF.com launched in 1996 as golfonline.com, and one of the site’s first pieces was a reader poll about the public perception of Tiger Woods.
As you can see, golf fans were generally excited about Woods when he first joined the PGA Tour, but not nearly to the extent that they would become. This poll was published a month after Woods made his debut at the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open.
According to the poll, golf fans were not all that awed by Woods’ driving ability (maybe because he was still just a lanky kid). He would go on to finish in the top five on Tour in driving distance in each of the next five seasons.
Our readers were most off base in what they predicted for Woods in the year that would follow.
Tiger would, in fact, lead the PGA Tour money list that season with four victories and $2,066,833 earned. One of those four wins came at the Masters, which he won by 12 shots. The event also set television records for golf.