If you follow the PGA Tour, you've heard the statistic: Of the
12 tournaments in which Tiger Woods has held or has shared the
lead entering the final round, he has won 11. Who beat him?
Yours truly. Tiger had me by a stroke going into Sunday's round
at the 1996 Quad City Classic at Oakwood Country Club in Coal
Valley, Ill., but I had a few tricks up my sleeve.
--On the 1st tee I asked Tiger to sign my cap. I told him my
kids were big fans of his and were about the same age. I then
asked him how old he was, and when he said 20, I said, "Wow, you
were just one when I started playing on the Tour."
--Every time Tiger's shot with a wedge ended up outside my
four-iron, I would tell him, "Nice shot." I could see this was
very demoralizing to him. To make sure I wasn't intimidated by
his length, I looked away while he boomed 300-yard drives I can
only dream about.
--On the 4th hole that day at Oakwood, Tiger pull-hooked his
drive into the water, took a drop, hit it in the drink again and
made a Quad City quadruple-bogey 8. There were so many people
following him, I couldn't see how many strokes he had taken
until I got to the next tee and the standard-bearer changed the
red number next to his name from an 11 to a 7. Suddenly leading
by one, I started whistling the tune I Got a Tiger by the Tail.
Of course, Tiger was just a cub back then, and Quad City was
only his third start as a pro. These days he probably could beat
me with only his five-iron, but I still tell my buddies about
the day I got him. I don't have a trophy of a tiger in my den,
but I do have a 27-foot catamaran--the toy I bought with my
$216,000 winner's check--outside my house in Matagorda, Texas.
Every time I take it out on the water, I say, "Thanks, Tiger."
Ed Fiori, 46, has won four events and $2.2 million on Tour.
COLOR PHOTO: JOE PICCIOLO