Kevin Shanahan has volunteered at the Honda Classic for several years, but the event held an entirely different meaning this time around for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sophomore.
One week after surviving a shooting that left 17 of his schoolmates dead, Shanahan was among those in the crowd before Tiger Woods’s early morning pro-am round on Wednesday.
According to CBS12, Woods’s caddy Joe LaCava heard that Shanahan was in attendance. Woods called him over to where he was hitting and spoke to the teen for a short time, signing his hat in the process.
Shanahan was moved by the gesture. “It was really a majority of me thanking him because I thought, ‘oh my God I’m getting this signed by Tiger Woods,’ but it really felt like he talked from the heart,” Shanahan told CBS12. “It didn’t feel scripted, it felt like it really came from him being sincere and saying, ‘I’m really sorry that you’re going through this,’ and it made me feel awesome.”
Shanahan also got a picture with Rickie Fowler, the Honda Classic’s defending champion.
Many players in the field wore ribbons during Thursday’s opening round in honor of the shooting victims. PGA National, the site of the event, is about 40 miles north of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Shanahan added that he hoped the words of his outspoken classmates in the wake of the shooting would spur legislative change.
“A lot of my friends are protesting in Washington D.C. right now, and I see them on TV and it’s like we have changed from these high schoolers living our daily lives to revolutionaries, starting this whole entire movement.”