What happened to Tiger Woods? It’s a thorny question, with no easy answers, but one that Sports Illustrated writer Alan Shipnuck tackles in great detail in this week’s SI. In exploring both Woods the golfer and Woods the man, Shipnuck chronicles “all of his flaws, contradictions and triumphs” and reveals several new anecdotes about the 14-time major winner.
One of the most entertaining and illuminating of those tales comes via Charles Howell III, who vacationed with Woods in South Africa in the run-up to the 2003 Presidents Cup. Joining them was Howell’s wife, Heather, and Woods’s then-girlfriend Elin Nordegren. From Shipnuck’s story:
Woods wanted to cage dive amid the great whites that feed in the waters around Seal Island, off the coast of Cape Town.
“We chummed the water for seven or eight hours, but there’s not a shark to be seen,” Howell recalls. “Tiger is bored out of his mind. He’s wearing a wet suit to dive into the cage in case any sharks come, and suddenly he just jumps into open water. He’s decided to swim over to the island and get up close to the seals. The guys on the boat are going nuts, shouting for Tiger to come back, but he just keeps swimming, through all the chum. The seals start hopping around and hollering like they do. Tiger is having a great time. After what seems like an eternity, he swims back and casually gets on the boat.” Howell pauses for a moment, lost in the story. “He’s just different from normal people,” he adds. “Completely fearless.”
Wow. Consider us impressed.