Twenty years after Tiger Woods’s historic victory at the 1997 Masters, the golf icon is sitting out the tournament yet again. With his cultural impact dwindling by the day, friends, journalists, and fellow golfers reflect on Tiger’s increasingly complicated legacy.
It was the sound that got him that week, and it is the sound that still gets him today. It is the sound that Dan Forsman has been striving to produce nearly his entire life, the sound he’d aspired to as a caddy at a country club in Northern California, the sound he’d sought to perfect as a golfer at Arizona State, the sound he’d been attempting to replicate for more than 15 years as a professional on the PGA Tour. It is the symphonic percussion of a golf club hitting a ball flush, a sound so elevated and so Zen-like and so beautiful that it gives Forsman chills to recall it 20 years later.
Forsman was, by any reasonable standard, a very good golfer in April 1997. He’d won four professional tournaments, and he’d finished in the top 10 at two majors, including the Masters in 1993. He had sponsors and money and a solid career in a sport that is perhaps more capricious than any other. But his entire notion of his place in the world changed at the 1997 Masters, when he stood on the Augusta National driving range and watched Tiger Woods hit wedge shots to a flagstick roughly 90 yards from where he was standing.