Caddies react to the news of Tiger Woods’ car accident
The news of Tiger Woods’ car accident Tuesday came as a shock to many. News of a major sports star getting into that serious of an accident understandably is a very sad thing and also one that developed quickly on social media, television and all the other places we get our news.
A shattered ankle and two fractured legs including one compound fracture is a heavy thing to hear.
For pro caddies, the reaction was that of concern for the well-being of the icon.
Veteran caddie Mark Fulcher, who started his career on the LPGA Tour, was back out there this week with his former boss Laura Davies in a practice round on the 18th at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio when he first heard the news.
“My initial thought was concern for his life, you hear the reports of anybody who’s in a major car accident or collision and your concern is straightaway for his life,” said Fulcher (Fooch), who spent several years working for Justin Rose, including his 2013 U.S. Open win at Merion and his gold-medal win at the Rio Olympics in 2016. “Obviously hearing that he was injured is terrible, it’s a bad thing, but I wouldn’t mind betting that every man and his dog was delighted to hear that as bad as the injuries are, the man’s alive. That’s the most important thing.”
Indeed, hearing that Woods’ life was not in danger was a huge relief for all of us following the story, and especially those of us who love golf.
“Tiger is one of the toughest sportsmen, toughest men you are ever likely to meet and he’ll come out of this problem like he’s crossed every other problem in his life,” Fulcher said. “Obviously he’s coming to the end of his golf career, but he’s only just started his career as a father and obviously a grandfather down the road and obviously all the golfing world should be concerned with is his health and his happiness.”
Caddie Terry Walker (Andrew Landry) also sees the resolve that Woods has shown mentally to overcome so many physical setbacks coming into play here as well.
“What he’s proven through all the things that he’s been through is that he’s going to always fight back, so I just have that expectation and the belief that he’s going to make it through the recovery and that he’s going to be back in the golf arena again,” Walker said.
Walker was just coming off the driving range at home during his off week when he heard the news. He said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the way Woods’ SUV looked after the crash.
For veteran Shay Knight, he was at this week’s PGA Tour event at The Concession when his wife sent him a text message with the news. Knight isn’t as optimistic about Woods returning to the game so quickly.
“He might have hit his very last golf shot, which is very disappointing to think,” said Knight, caddie for Viktor Hovland. “With a compound fracture, he’s going to need some nuts and bolts to repair that but I don’t know how much the ankle is shattered but if it’s the left leg which he posts up on with golf, that’s going to be a difficult injury to come back from, especially at his age. I was just shocked and saddened, to hear that.”
For Tony Finau’s caddie Mark Urbanek, who was also on the course at The Concession during a practice round, this scary moment made him stop and reflect a bit.
“Something like this just puts things into perspective that at any time how quickly things can change,” he said. “It’s scary. At this point we just hope he’s alright and that he gets back to normal health.
“I was out on the course for nine holes with Jon Rahm and Tony, then Tony got an update on his phone and he kind of filled us in on what had happened, that it was a single-car crash and that he was in surgery,” Urbanek said. “So we went about our business and I didn’t hear anything else besides it wasn’t life threatening. Anytime you here a single-car crash you can only speculate like maybe someone ran him off the road or maybe he was not paying attention, but again who knows, at this point everything is speculation.”
Caddie Justin York (Chez Reavie) was at home in Scottsdale and had just finished a game of pickleball with his neighbors when a friend texted him a couple screen shots of the accident.
“My first reaction was thinking of Kobe (Bryant),” York said. “I was thinking that it was about a year ago that he passed away from an accident, then I was like, ‘there is no way this is happening again, already, with another big figure in sports.’ I was massively relieved when they said he was conscious and all it was was some leg injuries. But it just kind of sucks because he’s the face of the game.”
Veteran looper J.J. Jakovac was at The Concession with his player Collin Morikawa when he heard the news.
“Collin told me the news, but here was no information when we were out there and we didn’t want to speculate and just hoped it wasn’t anything bad,” Jakovac said. “All the text messages came in from my friends asking if I knew if he was OK. I don’t know what’s going to happen but it just doesn’t sound good. Hopefully he can come back. Legs are no joke in golf. If you lose your legs for a while, it’s tough.”
Kip Henley felt the emotions of the moment when he found out the news.
“Your heart sinks when you hear a breaking news story concerning a major star like Tiger,” Henley said. “You’re praying it isn’t a Kobe-type of thing. I am guessing this is a minimum of a year-long recovery time for Tiger and that’s sad.”
At this point, who knows how long the recovery will be? But we are all cheering for Woods to get back to a good quality of life, especially for his kids.