By John Strege
Some of the better stories about Tiger Woods' prowess with a golf club come from his college days, as his old Stanford teammate Conrad Ray reminded us recently.
"When [Tiger] was a freshman, it was customary for them to load and unload the bags on trips," Ray said at the California Golf Writers and Broadcasters Association annual awards dinner in Pebble Beach Tuesday night. "Tiger did it once and didn't like it. He said, 'How do I get out of this?' We told him, 'Win the next tournament,' and he did."
A few months after Woods left Stanford in 1996, his former teammate Jake Poe told this story, about a day in which Woods, holding a driver, was at the other end of the Stanford range, about 60 yards away, and began walking toward him.
"He was looking at me and I punched a 4-iron shot at him and got it rolling toward his feet," Poe said. "He's still walking and in mid-stride he grabs his driver with his other hand. He's got it in both hands now and the ball's rolling at a good pace, and in mid-stride, still walking, he takes a full swing and hits the ball at least 290 yards, a slap shot, perfectly straight. Probably the most impressive shot I've ever seen. Everything in full motion -- him, the ball, everything. Incredible."
Another teammate, Eli Crum, once recalled the exhibition Woods gave one day on the Stanford range adjacent to a dormitory. The other Stanford players were reluctant to aim for the dormitory and attempt to slice the ball away from it, "just in case you hit one straight," Crum said.
Woods would announce, "it's D time, fellas." Driver time. "Tiger would pull out a driver and throw a ball down with no tee, and he would hit these big slices. He'd start them right at the dormitory and and turn them back toward the driving range. He would do it all the time, any time he wanted. It was awesome."
Woods was inducted into the California Golf Hall of Fame at the dinner at the Inn at Spanish Bay Tuesday night. Ray, now the Stanford golf coach, was inducted into the Northern California Golf Association Hall of Fame, as was their Stanford coach Wally Goodwin.
(Getty Images photo)