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Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods reflects on George H.W. Bush: ‘his name is synonymous with golf’

  • American is competing at the Hero World Challenge in Bahamas
  • A number of players pay tribute to late former president of the USA
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 December, 2018, 3:30pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 December, 2018, 3:30pm

Tiger Woods didn’t much want to talk about his round Saturday in the Hero World Challenge.

But he fondly spoke to the times he spent with George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States who died on Friday. He was 94. Bush was a World War II veteran, an ambassador to China, the CIA director, a vice president – and a golf nut who loved the game and played as much as he could.

“He was fantastic to be around. He was just one of the smartest people I’ve ever been around, and so down to earth,” said Woods, who added he first met Bush when he was a member of the Stanford golf team. “Obviously, his name is synonymous with golf. Being around him for all these years and getting a chance to, you know, be around him at the Presidents Cup and him being involved in it since its inception in ’94, he was such a class act.

“Anyone who’s ever been around him knows how much he loved his golf and how much he supported it and how much we’re going to miss him.”

Bush embraced the game and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011 through the Lifetime Achievement category. He also received the Bob Jones Award in 2014, the highest honour given by the US Golf Association. And Bush’s brisk pace of play was welcomed by all his playing companions, including Woods, who played a round of golf with Bush in Houston back in the day. It didn’t take long.

“It was one of those very quick ones, 18 holes in probably under two and a half hours,” Woods said.

When asked who played faster, Woods smiled.

“It was basically club, ball, one look, gone,” Woods said of Bush’s speed of play.

Many of the players wrote 41 onto their golf caps for Saturday’s round to pay tribute to Bush. Many spoke after the round about their time with him, including Patrick Reed, who lives in Houston.

“It’s an unfortunate time, but with what he’s done throughout his entire life for our country and for everyone in Houston as well, he’s going to be dearly missed,” Reed said. “He was more than just an avid golf fan, he was beyond that. He absolutely loved the game. You know, to have the support from presidents and have them come as much as they do to golf tournaments and how often they’re out there, it means a lot to us and the game.

“To lose a guy and to lose a person like president Bush, it’s sad because how much he’s touched all of us.”

Woods did get around to talking about his round, which was an even-par 72 that dropped him into last place in the 18-man field. He’s at two-under through 54 holes, 11 shots behind a trio of co-leaders – Jon Rahm (69), Tony Finau (67) and Henrik Stenson (69).

Woods once again struggled with his putting, chipped a ball over a green at number two and twice hit chips that rolled back to his feet off the slope to the left of the green at the third hole.

“I got off to a great start today,” Woods said with a laugh. “Yeah, just one of those days where I kept feeling like I was fighting from behind and somehow wound up with even-par.”

But Woods said this is not a time to panic.

“It’s definitely not alarming, for sure,” Woods said. “I just haven’t played clean. Today was probably the best I’ve felt physically this week, finally started to get my energy back and started to feel a little bit better.

“I just have not done a very good job this week of playing clean and keeping my rounds going like I should and could have.”