In February 2004, Stanford and Arizona played an incredible basketball game. Tiger Woods was in the audience, and boy, did he ever celebrate the miraculous comeback. We break it all down below. Prepare for uber-nostalgia below.
Back in ’04, the Cardinal were very good, undefeated actually, and playing conference foe Arizona in early February. Standing alone, the atmosphere was impressive, but the Cardinal also had Tiger Woods, near the peak of his dominance, attending their games.
More than a decade removed from that night, it’s clear Stanford (and Tiger) just didn’t know how good they had it. Here’s the recap from USA Today. Tiger received the slightest mention in the sixth paragraph. While he may not have earned popular attention in the newspaper write-up, Woods was the most famous athlete on the planet and the ESPN television crew treated him as such. At times he didn’t disappoint. At others, he most certainly did. Let’s get started.
The location of the game is clear from the start. Maples Pavillion is in a slightly reserved frenzy as an upset loomed, but a comeback held promise. An Arizona turnover, one theme of the video, ignites a Stanford fastbreak. A flurry of passes and questionable defense ensues to find Josh Childress, the man who would later grace the cover of NCAA Basketball 2K5, wide open.
Childress makes a perfect move to the open corner before shooting a perfectly formed jumper while bouncing his perfectly picked afro. Not long after the Childress shot found the bottom of the net, Tiger goes all epic-chip-in-bonkers.
Considering his history of celebration, this is actually a great high-five from Woods; probably one of his 10 best high-fives ever. It’s so fluid, quick and accurate that Woods makes it easy to lazily look past his attire. But we won’t be fooled. Look. At. That. Garb.
Hat turned backwards in the non-golf setting, Woods, though 28 at the time, fits in well rocking the same (amateurly designed) “Sixth Man” shirt as the students. The white turtleneck beneath is a look we could do without, but apparently that was high golf fashion at the time. From the waist up, Mr. Tiger looks alright, passable at least, which is important when standing next to the goddess known as Elin Nordegren, also known as Tiger’s future ex-wife.
From the waist down, however, Woods is not so cool. Sort of like his current short game, not very good.
Tiger is rocking those loose, powder blue jeans everyone owns but refuses to wear unless they have Sunday afternoon gardening plans. It gets worse. The man was worth more than $250 million, yet he was resorting to middle-age dad trainers on his feet. (At least Elin chose Nike Shox Turbo.) *clapping hands emoji*
I digress, because it’s quite evident there is more than just Elin in Woods’ company.
On Woods’ left is his longtime homie Jerry Chang, who played on the golf team with Woods at Stanford. Chang also kept his mouth shut in late 2009 when Woods was traversing through his “scandal,” so we know he’s one of Tiger’s closest buds. Chang receives the Woods celebration and, woefully, this other dude doesn’t.
This is somehow even sadder than it looks. Everyone in the arena is appropriately off their respective rockers and all he wants is some skin. One frivolous high-five! That’s it. I suppose if Tiger could barely high-five caddie Stevie Williams, then this dude had no shot. Nonetheless, one second later, with his proverbial tail now between his legs, the high-five offer recedes. (Side note: Is it just me or is the guy in the beige sweater Tiger’s golf bud Steve Stricker?)
This is a golf website, so we won’t waste much time describing the deplorable ball control of the Wildcats. After an instant replay breakdown from the legendary broadcast team of Brent Musberger and Dick Vitale, that loyal cameraman pans back to the Big Cat, in front of which the all-important turnover is about to take place. It’s merely a cameo, but Woods is doing his best to energize the crowd, because apparently they’re not hyped enough.
Salim Stoudamire, who would later become an All-American, buckles under basic defensive pressure and absolute chaos breaks loose. Nick Robinson gathers the loose ball, dribbles twice and heaves his 28-foot prayer, gliding across the hardwood as the ball confronts the nylon.
The junior forward hit the shot of the year. The students stormed the floor. Stanford remained undefeated and the No. 1 golfer in the world left the arena with a supermodel in hand and those hideous Nikes on his feet.
2004: What a time to be Tiger Woods.