As the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, Tiger Woods played in his first Masters in 1995. While he’ll never forget his maiden start at Augusta National Golf Club, the five-time winner of the green jacket would rather not dwell on the first putt he ever hit there in competition.
Paired with defending champion Jose Maria Olazabal, Woods, then a 19-year-old freshman at Stanford, reached the first hole in regulation and eyed a birdie putt. So far, so good.
Then he hit the putt.
“I putted off the green right into the gallery playing with Ollie,” Woods said. “Chipped back up there and made the putt for bogey, and that was one of the most embarrassing moments that I can ever remember.”
1995 MASTERS: Final leaderboard
Woods quickly shook off the humiliation and posted an even-par 72. He followed with a second-round 72 and was the only amateur to make the cut. With weekend rounds of 77-72, he finished in a tie for 41st for low amateur honors while Ben Crenshaw won his second green jacket.
Woods said he didn’t hit his irons well that week but he thoroughly enjoyed his first Masters. Woods left the grounds in a hurry after he putted out on the 72nd hole, for he had a 9 a.m. history class he had to get to at Stanford the following day. Before he left, however, he wrote a letter of gratitude to Augusta National and the tournament’s organizers.
Years later, he recalled the 1995 Masters with the joy of a child in a candy store.
“It was like Disney World and fantasy land, something like that, wrapped together, and it’s true,” Woods said. “I loved the golf course the first time I saw it. The history, the beauty, the challenge of the course. … it’s such a great place. It was my first time, and I’ll never forget it.”
This is the first story in a series looking at each of Tiger Woods’ appearances at the Masters.