They call it the ‘Tiger Effect’ — when just being on the same course as the 14-time major champion can make your dreams come true.
Such is the case with European Tour pro Matthew Southgate, as reported by Golfweek.
Southgate, who became a fan of Woods at 13 after watching him in the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield, penned an open letter to the Woods ahead of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The 28-year-old often writes letters and shares them with his Facebook fanpage, but this one was special to the battle-hardened golfer. Southgate had tried five times, unsuccessfully, to make the European Tour through qualifying school before being diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2015. He had surgery and returned to the game last September, and went on to earn his card. He finished fourth at last season’s Irish Open, securing him a full year on tour and, eventually, a spot in the same field as his hero.
Southgate wrote that he was happy to remind himself that “somewhere out there on the course is a certain Mr. Woods and we are both doing our jobs in the same office this week.” He called it a pleasure, and wished Woods well.
Woods withdrew Friday before his round citing back spasms. Southgate made the cut to play the weekend. He didn’t get to play with or near Woods, but that didn’t matter.
“Unfortunately I did not get to meet him because of his back injury,” Southgate told Golfweek. “I would have liked to have shaken his hand, but I just feel fortunate I’ve had the pleasure of playing in the same tournament. I’ve done it once and just the fact he was here and I competed against him sort of means that I’ve come full circle from Muirfield. Not many can say they played in the same tournament with their hero.”