Tiger Woods Pays Tribute To Kobe Bryant

The 15-time Major winner was in shock after the news of Kobe Bryant's death

Tiger Woods Pays Tribute To Kobe Bryant
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The 15-time Major winner was in shock after the news of Kobe Bryant's death

Tiger Woods Pays Tribute To Kobe Bryant

Tiger Woods finished T9th at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open where the entire property was in shock on Sunday afternoon after the news of Kobe Bryant's death.

Bryant played for the LA Lakers his entire career and is widely renowned as one of the greatest players of all time.

Woods is a huge Lakers fan and also one of the greatest of all time himself, so it seems only natural that the pair were close.

Tiger didn't hear about the news until after his round when his caddie Joe LaCava told him.

"I just heard of it from Joey when we were coming off the 18 green," Woods told reporters.

"I didn't understand why they were yelling "Do it for Mamba" on the back nine.

"People yell things all the time, so I was just, you know, plodding along, doing my own thing.

"Then when Joey told me that here, it's unbelievable, the reality that he's no longer here.

"LeBron breaks his record and he passes today."

Woods then paid tribute to Bryant's legendary on-court skills.

"For all of us -- for me, I grew up a die-hard Laker fan, always have been my entire life. That's all I remember, and he was part of the most historic franchise in all of the NBA," he said.

"As I was telling Amanda, what made him so impressive is that he was dominant on the offensive side, yeah, we know that, but he would lock up on D.

"He played their best guard and shut 'em down for all 48 minutes. That's what made him so special, he played both ends of the court.

"There are maybe two guys, three guys in the entire NBA history that you can say that, that would do that. He was up for that challenge.

"And one of the more impressive things that I've ever witnessed is when he ruptured his Achilles and he went to the foul line, made his shots.

"Ultimate toughness, ultimate competitor, and one of the most shocking, tragic days that I've ever been a part of in a very quick span here."

Woods also revealed that the pair used to work out together when he lived in Newport, California before moving to Florida.

"When he retired we'd work out at Equinox together.

"I was always getting up early, he'd get up early, we'd work out.

"You know, he liked and enjoyed retired life, but he missed being competitive beyond the course and doing what he did, but it was his time.

"We really connected on more the mental side of it, the prep, how much it takes to be prepared.

"For me, I don't have to react like he does in my sport, we can take our time, but you've still got to pay attention to the details and that's what he did better than probably any other player in NBA history.

"He paid attention to the details, the little things.

"The amount of hours that he spent in the gym in the offseason and during the summers to work on shots and do all the different things, it looked like it came natural to him on the court during game time, but he spent more hours looking at film and trying to figure out what's the best way to become better.

"That's where he and I really connected, because we're very similar.

"We both came in the league -- well, he came in the league and I turned pro right around the same time and we had our 20-year run together. It's shocking."

"Well, life is very fragile as we all know," Woods said.

"You can be gone at any given time and we have to appreciate the moments that we have.

"I just can't imagine what his family's going through right now."

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV