Tiger hasn’t forgotten his trip to Texarkana

Twenty-three years ago this month Texarkana Country Club hosted the National Insurance Youth Golf Classic.

One of the key figures responsible was Texarkana businessman Dennis Young, who shares his memories with anyone above the age of 30. If you're younger than that you probably didn't know Tiger Woods and John Daly played in Texarkana that week.

Woods was only 13-years-old, standing 5-5 and weighing 107 pounds. It should have been a handicap considering he was playing against golfers four and five years older. One those players was David Duval, who finished fifth in this junior event, but would go on to be the No. 1 ranked player in the world for a short time.

Former British Open champion Justin Leonard was also here for that tournament, edging Woods for the championship. Future pro Notah Begay was here. He would go on to be a teammate with Woods at Stanford.

Other than Woods, Daly has had one of the more controversial careers. His problems with alcohol are well documented, yet he continues to play. Daly is in the hunt this week at Kiawah Island, S.C., looking for a second PGA Championship title.

Woods and Daly were in the same group back in 1989 at TCC. Daly's presence that day earned him a life-long fan in Young.

Professional David Ogrin was unable to reach Texarkana for the IYGC event because of a storm, forcing Young to scramble for a replacement. He called Daly at his home in Blytheville at 11:30 p.m., telling him he needed a favor.

"He had just gotten back from a tournament in Memphis when I told John I needed him to be in Texarkana for a tournament at 8:30 a.m. he paused," reminisced Young. "He answered OK, saying he would get a couple of hours sleep and get his caddy to pick him up and drive to Texarkana."

The two safely made it to TCC with Daly going straight to the tee box where he was greeted by Woods and two other youngsters.

The Associated Press noted in an article Friday that Woods had not forgotten that experience.

"I've always rooted for John," the story reported. "I have always been a John Daly fan and a friend."

That day in 1989 Woods displayed his enormous talent with a 3-under-par performance on the front nine that was four shots better than Daly. The blonde bomber did not concede. He birdied three of his last four holes to beat Woods by two shots.

"After his round John put on an exhibition for the boys and spectators," Young said. "For this, I will always be indebted to John Daly."

Both Daly and Woods had good first rounds in the PGA, Daly shooting a 4-under 68 with Woods one shot back. Unfortunately for Daly, he slipped in Friday's second round with a 77, but even at 1-over he remains in contention.

Meanwhile, Woods shares the lead despite a bogey on the final hole where he three-putted.

The fact Woods is on top preserves some pride here after tagging Matt Kuchar the man to beat after making 24 consecutive cuts and leading the PGA in scoring average. That was before Friday's 82 had Kuchar packing for home.

Picking football winners is a lot easier than picking golf tournament champions.

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