The Forecaddie: Mackenzie Hughes remains in awe of Tiger Woods

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The Forecaddie: Mackenzie Hughes remains in awe of Tiger Woods

Forecaddie

The Forecaddie: Mackenzie Hughes remains in awe of Tiger Woods

Being near Tiger Woods never gets old, whether you’re a fan or a fellow professional golfer.

The Forecaddie caught up with Mackenzie Hughes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, as he’s been on both sides of that equation.

As a college kid, Hughes was in the gallery as Woods played his Monday practice round at the 2010 Masters – the 14-time major champion’s first start back after scandal. If you saw the massive TV ratings Woods brought recently as he challenged for the title at the Valspar Championship, the atmosphere Hughes described would be no surprise.

“It was just really cool,” Hughes, now 27, told The Man Out Front. “The crowds were like as big as Sunday at a major.”

Fortunately for Hughes, then a Kent State player, despite the sizable gallery he got closer to Woods than most. At Augusta National’s par-4 11th, Woods went right of the fairway and outside the ropes. Woods in fact moved right in the direction of Hughes and a teammate, so naturally the eager fans figured, let’s follow Tiger Woods.

They began walking just a few feet behind Woods, but as Hughes noted, that lasted about 20 seconds.

“Shortly after, we were pushed away by some security guards,” Hughes said.

Indeed, Hughes could feel security personnel tug on his arm and bark, “Get back a little bit!” Worth it, though? Hughes certainly feels so, and TMOF tends to agree.

Now Hughes is a PGA Tour winner who has played in the Masters (he missed the cut in his sole appearance in 2017). But while times change, a lot stays the same.

Hughes had never actually conversed with Woods until the 42-year-old happened to sit next to him in a bar area while eating lunch at Bay Hill on Tuesday. Naturally, the Canadian was excited.

“You’re definitely like, ‘Holy (expletive), that’s Tiger Woods,’ ” Hughes said.

Woods started talking football and Hughes was able to chime in and have a brief conversation with the man he grew up idolizing.

The inner fan in Hughes prevented him from formally introducing himself to the Big Cat.

“I was like, ‘Introduce yourself, introduce yourself,’ and I never did it. Just a baby, fanboy still,” Hughes said, laughing. “I watched him my entire childhood and teenage years, and idolized him. So I just couldn’t muster up the courage to say anything.”

This coming from a man who stepped up and drained an 18-foot par putt in a playoff at the 2016 RSM Classic to capture his first (and only) PGA Tour win.

Such is the power of Tiger Woods, TMOF reckons.

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