Before Tiger Woods won the first of his four Masters in 1997, he played the event twice as an amateur.
In 1995, Woods made his Masters debut as a 19-year-old Stanford freshman and was the only amateur to make the cut and tied for 41st. (In 1996, at 20, he missed the cut.)
In his book released on Tuesday, “The 1997 Masters: My Story,” which he wrote with Lorne Rubenstein, Woods goes into detail about his amateur appearances at Augusta National Golf Club, which helped him prep for his historic victory in 1997.
After Woods closed with a final-round even-par 72 in 1995, he left the course that evening to head back to Stanford so he could make his 9 a.m. history class. But before he did, he left a letter for Augusta National, which he published in his book:
Please accept my sincere thanks for providing me the opportunity to experience the most wonderful week of my life. It was fantasyland and Disney World wrapped into one. I was treated like a gentleman throughout my stay and I trust I responded in kind. The Crow’s Nest will always remain in my heart and your magnificent golf course will provide a continuing challenge throughout my amateur and professional career.
I’ve accomplished much here and learned even more. Your tournament will always hold a special spot in my heart as the place where I made my first PGA cut and at a major yet! It is here that I left my youth behind and became a man. For that I will be eternally in your debt. With warmest regards and deepest appreciation.
Who would have thought that two decades after Woods wrote this letter, he would have four green jackets and 14 major titles. You can buy Woods’s book here.