Tiger Woods’ chances of winning the 2013 Players Championship were slim before the event. Prior to the tournament, the golfer had never finished better than eighth since his 2001 title. Many dismissed Woods’ chances to thrive at TPC Sawgrass’ The Players Stadium Course in 2013.
However, Woods came as a surprise to many. Years after the big win, his then-caddy Joe LaCava revealed that he felt compelled to give the legendary golfer a pep talk. LaCava channeled his past experiences with Fred Couples to make sure Woods was on top of his game. Having led Couples to the title in 1996 at the event, LaCava told the star golfer that “Fred owned this golf course” and with good reason.
remembering his conversation with tiger forest before the event, LaCava said, quoted by PGA tour:
“I basically told him… ‘Listen, Fred owned this golf course and he owned it for a reason. For me, it’s a second shot golf course.’ Premium in iron shots. You have to hit it in the right places. Lots of 6, 7, 8 irons, that kind of thing. And I think Fred in his time was probably the best iron player I saw in that time.”
Radiating confidence in the player, the caddy added:
“I think Tiger was the greatest of all time… and I didn’t change his mind, but I did make him think a little bit. Which is all you need to do with Tiger.
Joe LaCava’s ‘Fred Couples’ talk with Tiger Woods was effective
LaCava’s words were effective as tiger forest finished with a total of 13 under par, two shots behind Kevin Streelman, David Lingmerth and Jeff Maggert, to win his second players championship qualification. After the win, Woods hugged LaCava, almost as if he was thanking his caddy for the pep talk.
LaCava further added:
“I think he thought it through and said, ‘You know what? I think you’re probably right. You should do better there. I don’t think he had a bad attitude about it; I think he had a bit of a defeatist attitude. That changed a bit. He ends up winning in 2013; I think that led to the big hug, and he just appreciated the fact that he put his mindset in the right place for that place.”
“I had nothing to do with the win. That’s all about those guys. But a change in attitude helped, I think, that week.”
Interestingly, Tiger Woods also made friendly fun of his good friend Couples after securing the 2013 title. After the win, the star golfer said that Fred “couldn’t make fun of him anymore.”
It is pertinent to note that LaCava met with Parejas at last week’s Cologuard Classic on the PGA Tour Champions. Celebrating the tenth anniversary of Woods’ second Players title, the caddy recalled his influential conversation with the legendary player and how Pairs became a part of it.