Tiger Woods captured his second PGA title in Disney World
By: Josh Morris – Tiger Woods won his second career PGA Tour title at the season ending Walt Disney World-Oldsmobile Classic on this day. The win came just two weeks after his first triumph at the Las Vegas Invitational. Woods was off to a brilliant start and this was just a preview of what the golfing world was in store for in the years to come. Remember, Tiger had won the U.S. Amateur three times in a row and split after two years at Stanford University. After turning pro in 1996 he won two tournaments out of seven attempts, odd-defying by any rookies standards. In addition, he became the first player in fifteen years to have five consecutive Top-5 finishes, last completed by Curtis Strange in 1982.
Head to head with Payne Stewart
During Tiger’s sprint to the final he had to take on a former U.S. Open Champion in Payne Stewart…and beat him. Woods long game was the ultimate test for Payne coming down the stretch. Stewart fired an impressive 67 but it wasn’t enough as Woods edged him by a stroke with a 66. That gave the rookie a 21 under par 267 total to win a whopping $216,000. That was enough to give Tiger a total of $734,794 in his late season surge. That meant he reached the Top 30 on the money list on the 1996 year securing himself a spot on tour for the 1997 season.
Controversy in the final round
While Woods and Stewart traded gems, rookie Taylor Smith found himself trailing the duo for most of the day. He actually sat tied with Woods by the end of the day with a birdie on the final hole of play. Smith was the center of controversy when he was disqualified when his playing partner turned him in after the ninth hole for an illegal putter grip. Technically, the putter grip was flat on one side…violation of Rule 4-1c of the Rules of Golf. His playing partner Lennie Clements notified PGA Tour officials after the ninth hole.
“Lennie did the right thing” said Taylor Smith, who played the back nine and then appealed the disqualification. “He had to protect the field.”
Josh Morris is the Editor of Golf History Today. A proud USGA Volunteer and golf enthusiast. In his free time he enjoys being a weekend caddie as well as playing as much as he can.