11 questions with Tiger Tracker, the biggest Masters winner not named Tiger Woods

first_imgIt’s been more than a week since Tiger Woods completed what is regarded as one of the best career comebacks professional sports has seen in some time. While Woods’ Masters victory has deservedly earned him continuous praise, one other person has also enjoyed their time in the spotlight.  TT: I’m still floating, and don’t know when I’ll come down. I went back over some photos from last week and many struck me as awesome. But when I saw the Tuesday photo of the Champions’ Dinner and imagined what it would be like next year with Tiger in the middle, sitting right next to Jack, it gave me goosebumps.SN: With Tiger on the comeback trail, have you considered revealing your identity?TT: Nope, although a follower found an old tweet where I said I would reveal my identity once he passes Jack on the majors list. I don’t recall that, but I want to be a man of my word. If that day comes, we’ll have some big decisions to make. Golf Channel’s “Tiger Tracker” Twitter account (@GCTigerTracker) has followed Woods around from one tournament to the next over the past seven years, tracking his every shot intermixed with entertaining commentary. It’s an essential follow for every golf fan. Except the Tracker had never tweeted about a Woods’ major victory — until Sunday at Augusta. MORE: Tiger finally delivers major moment again | Can he catch Jack?Having amassed nearly 400,000 followers since joining Twitter in March 2012, the Tiger Tracker solidified its place in the golf community and allowed those who engaged with it to share in the joy of Woods’ fifth Masters win. As Woods basks in the glory of his fifth career green jacket, Sporting News caught up with the mysterious person — he or she has remained anonymous through the years — behind the account that tracks his every move for a wide-ranging Q&A in the aftermath of the Masters. We also tried to get an answer to the burning question about whether the account will ever publicly reveal its identity. (Note: Portions of this interview have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.)Sporting News: What was the moment during the Masters that made you start to think Tiger was going to win?Tiger Tracker: Weird thing is I never let myself think it was possible until (Francesco Molinari) hit it into Rae’s Creek on the 12th hole. And it still surprises me that he did, even though he clearly didn’t have his best stuff all day. When that happened, I knew it was there for Tiger to take. SN: What was your confidence level in him going into the tournament?TT: Confident that he’d easily finish inside the top 10. If you go back and look, he hasn’t played poorly since late August at The Northern Trust, and even that wasn’t terrible. Before that was an ugly missed cut at the U.S. Open. He’s been trending upward and his big win over Rory at the (WGC-Dell) Match Play told me something. He found an extra gear. I was confident of a great finish, but a win was beyond my wildest expectations.MORE: Amid Tiger Woods’ Masters win, fulfillment for one faithful Twitter accountSN: It’s impressive how well you’re able to live tweet from the course. What’s your secret? How were you able to keep your composure while tweeting when it appeared Woods was going to win?TT: Augusta National is the only place where I cannot have my phone on the course to tweet. It all has to be done inside using the technology available. As much as I don’t love that, those are the rules and I abide by them. I made it very clear to the audience that I follow the rules. Yes, I’ve tracked Tiger for seven years and this is the first major he’s won since I’ve been doing this. And yes, I wasn’t able to be on the 18th green live when it happened.SN: How has the social media reception been for you after Tiger’s victory?TT: It’s been tremendous. Just fantastic. People mostly have been happy for me, almost as happy as they have been for Tiger. It’s sort of weird, but also endearing at the same time. We’re a dysfunctional family of 400,000 people and we’re all happy for each other when things go well.SN: With Tiger hitting some low lows in recent years, did you honestly ever think this moment would come?TT: Nope. I honestly did not. Remember, there was a time not that long ago when Tiger didn’t think it would happen either. But that’s what made it so great, it happened when most didn’t think it was possible. And it happened at the most iconic golf course on the planet. Just terrific. A great, great moment.MORE: Tiger Woods wasn’t the only big winner at the MastersSN: How was the atmosphere at Augusta when Woods won? Could you sense a growing buzz during the last couple of holes?TT: Again, see my earlier answer about not being able to be on the grounds. I went out early in the morning and walked around to take it all in. I did the same thing on the previous three days. But an hour from Tiger’s tee time I head back inside, assume the position, eat free ice cream, and get to work. Sure, it’s bittersweet that I wasn’t fully able to soak it all in, but that’s just being selfish. Tiger Woods won the Masters. Nothing else matters.Side note: I mentioned to the followers around the 14th hole that it was bizarre that I wouldn’t be able to be out there live. A huge majority of the response told me to stop on the spot, shut the account down and go out and watch. That I deserved to be out there in the moment. It was a sweet gesture. But I get paid to tweet what Tiger does and there was no chance in hell that I was going to leave during the greatest comeback in sports history.SN: How many more wins will Woods have on Tour this year? Will he win another major in 2019?TT: He’ll win once or twice more. There are some courses he loves coming up on the schedule. Regarding majors, we weren’t sure he was going to win one more, and now that he has it’s opened the floodgates. We’re expecting more.I don’t think he’ll win another one this year, although, clearly, I’m hopeful he will. Many look at his success at Pebble Beach and think that could be the place, but I’m not sure a U.S. Open setup is best for him these days. I look more at Bethpage Black for the PGA Championship, or even Royal Portrush for The Open. I think he absolutely will be in the hunt at those two places. And, hey, if he’s in contention, and others fold around him like they did Sunday at the Masters? You never know.WATCH: Tiger shares special moment with son after Masters winSN: Do you envision Tiger passing Jack Nicklaus’ major record? If so, when?TT: It’s difficult to answer, because I’m Tiger Tracker and I’m supposed to say yes. But to pass Jack would require four more major wins and that’s a tall task. That means, at 43 years old, he would have to duplicate the major totals of Rory McIlroy or Ernie Els. Think about that for a moment. One or two more major wins is doable. Four just seems unlikely. But, after all, he is Tiger Woods.SN: How did you celebrate the night of Tiger’s Masters win?TT: This may disappoint you, but it wasn’t as crazy as you’d think, or as crazy as I wish it would’ve been. First, there isn’t a whole lot going on in Augusta, Georgia on a Sunday night. Even a Masters Sunday night. Then, the early start, coupled with the euphoria of the moment absolutely drained me to my core. I was exhausted and crashed before midnight. But I had a few pops since and have had more than a few in the days after. I feel like I’ve properly celebrated. SN: What has life been like for you in the days since the Masters victory?last_img read more

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