Samuel L Jackson Reveals He Once Beat Tiger Woods At Golf

The acclaimed actor recalls a story more incredible than the most far-fetched film plotline

Samuel L Jackson takes a shot during the celebrity matches before the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The great and good of the golf world were full of praise for Tiger Woods on his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame last week, reminding everyone of the 15-time Major winner’s astonishing career to date. However, actor Samuel L Jackson has achieved what many others have failed to do – beat the great man.

Speaking on The Tonight Show, he told host Jimmy Fallon about the incredible occasion he got one over the 46-year-old. He explained: “Complete accident. Well, the first time I ever played St Andrews, they paired me with him in what was the Dunhill Golf Tournament, and I was a 16. So, they gave me my 16 shots, and I shot 78 because he said: ‘Follow me,’ and I stayed as close to him as I could and I shot 78, which means I beat him by about eight strokes.”

Jackson’s love of golf is well known. Indeed, in a 2017 interview with the New York Times, he claimed that he has the “option to go golfing twice a week written into all of his film contracts.” Not only that, but he is a regular competitor in celebrity golf tournaments, including the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. The 73-year-old, who once played off a 4.9 handicap, credits the sport with steering him away from destructive things, too, although Jackson’s gain was Tiger’s loss – at least on one occasion.

Even Jackson – known for his supreme confidence – probably didn’t bank on beating Woods when he first picked up a club after being convinced to go to a driving range by his friends. Nevertheless, while he admitted the win had been accidental, it’s surely still an accomplishment that ranks alongside the star’s achievements on the silver screen.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.