Binghamton pro golfer recalls competing against Tiger Woods before any Masters wins

ENDICOTT (WBNG) — Before Tiger Woods was the golfer that we know today, he was a competitive teen whose potential was seen by many. Binghamton’s Barry Goldstein watched him grow up, rise to the top, get defeated and then come back to win his fifth Masters Championship on Sunday.

“I’ve never seen anybody really have a comeback quite like Tiger had,” explained Goldstein after Sunday’s victory by Woods at The Masters, something he described as emotional, “put a tear in my eye.”

Goldstein a pro golfer and golf instructor  competed against Woods in the Dixie Amateur tournament in Florida in 1994.

“He was amazing then I knew he was going to be special I didn’t know he was going to be possibly the greatest player to ever live,” explained Goldstein.

Goldstein said while he didn’t make the cut for further match play, Woods did. The next morning Goldstein went to go watch the teen golfer at the time.

“It was just me, his father Earl, and Tiger, and his opponent and I watched Tiger play,” said Goldstein. “I remember asking his dad what makes him so special and hid dad said, you know wonderful athlete, extremely focused, and of course now I realize how his father pushed him very hard in a good way.”

Goldstein said he was familiar with that Florida course, and was amazed that Tiger, “hit the ball in spots where I just couldn’t believe he hit it.”

It was two years later that Woods came up to Endicott to play 18 at En-Joie Golf Club for the 1996 B.C. Open, now called the DICK’s Sporting Goods Open.

“Seven months later he won The Masters,” said Goldstein. “He had a historic win in 1997 he was just a kid I think he was 21 years old.”

After that win he hugged his father, comparable to a moment on Sunday when Woods opened his arms in joy to his son for a hug seen by millions around the world.

“He’s just so experienced and his heart and his desire is just different in a beautiful way,” explained Goldstein.

Woods now has five Masters wins, one behind Jack Nicklaus who will be at En-Joie this year during the DICK’s Sporting Goods Open for the UHS Golf Expo on August 14th.

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Michael Schwartz

Michael Schwartz

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