'Second Hole, There's A Helicopter' - Southern Hills' Head Pro Explains Tiger's Practice Round

Speaking on 'A New Breed of Golf,' Southern Hills' Head Professional, Cary Cozby, explained the lengths some people were going to to see Tiger

Tiger putts
(Image credit: Twitter: @scottpfeil)

If you needed any further proof who the needle-mover in golf is, then I suggest you look at the coverage of Tiger Woods' practice round at Southern Hills on Thursday.

Getting in some practice ahead of a possible PGA Championship appearance, which gets underway on the 19th May, Tiger was spotted and filmed by many, many individuals throughout the day, with Southern Hills' Head Professional, Cary Cozby, who also walked with Tiger during his round, revealing the extent that people were going to get a glimpse of the 15-time Major winner.

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Describing the scene to Michael Breed on 'A New Breed of Golf,' Cozby explained: "It's amazing what he has to deal with on a daily basis. I mean, he came for the day, didn't come to the clubhouse because he knew what he had to deal with. He went to the range and explained that he will meet us on the first tee.

"Our clubhouse is open and we had around 20 people in - I mean, the patio and the golf shop is right by the first tee, so there was probably around 20 members that slipped through and came out to watch. Second hole, there's a helicopter. Fourth hole, there's 50-70 people up on the hill, overlooking that hole.

"By the time we get to the sixth there's 30-40 people in the trees across the street, with television cameras and phones and pictures and 'we love you Tiger' and 'go get them Tiger.' It's just amazing."

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Following the explanation of what happened during the day, both Cozby and Breed go on to speak about what happened prior to the practice round, with the Head Professional explaining that: "I got a call from the PGA and they just said 'hey this is going to happen on this day and you need to run point with our on-site guy, Brian Karns (Championship Director at PGA of America)." 

Cozby then added that he was told to: "Not tell anybody" about the appearance, with the American stating: "They connected with us with Rob McNamara (Executive Vice President - TGR, Tiger Woods Ventures) and did everything via email and text and away we went."

The sighting of Tiger at Southern Hills is the first since his return at Augusta National in April. Woods has already appeared on the preliminary entry list for the second men's Major of the year. He previously lifted the Wanamaker Trophy at the Tulsa layout back in 2007, his 13th Major title.

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x