No number signifies a perfect score in golf, as everyone has a different personal record. It’s all relative.
Yet, any mark below 60 suffices as “perfect” to everyone familiar with the sport.
A score of “59” has a special lore, and so does any mark below that.
Woods revealed that he had shot a 59 only once, and it happened at Isleworth Country Club in Windemere, Florida, a week before the 1997 Masters.
Mark O’Meara, a longtime friend and mentor to Woods, played alongside him. Hilariously, O’Meara was sent running for the hills with empty pockets.
Then just 21 years old, Woods, who started his perfect round on the back nine, went out with a 9-under par 27.
He birdied 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 and eagled the par-5 13th. He parred his opening hole, using the 10th to get loose.
After making the turn, Woods birdied the first hole, continuing to impress O’Meara.
But at the third hole, Woods remembers looking at the sky and seeing the Space Shuttle launch.
It must have distracted him, as the future 15-time major winner made par at the par-5 3rd hole when he had an iron in his hand for his second shot.
He failed to take advantage of the other par-5 on the front, the 7th hole, as he again had a long iron into the green.
Nonetheless, Woods finished his second nine with a 4-under par 32, totaling that elusive score of 59 for his 18 holes.
It remains the only time Woods has shot a sub-60 round.
He also admitted he has never shot 60 on the dot.
Indeed, on the PGA Tour, Woods has shot 61 in competitive rounds four times: the first round of the 1999 GTE Byron Nelson Invitational, the second round of the 2000 WGC-NEC Invitational, the second round of the 2005 Buick Open, and the second round of the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
He also has shot 62 competitively five times, most recently during the first round of the 2018 BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club outside of Philadelphia.
But on the day after shooting 59, Woods, paired with O’Meara once more, birdied the 10th hole, and made a hole-in-one at 11, his second hole of the day, to go 3-under thru 2.
O’Meara walked off the course.
“He gets up to the [11th] tee, he’s hitting like an 8-iron,” O’Meara recalled. “I haven’t even gotten out of my cart, but he hits it and it’s going right at it. It one-hops and goes into the hole for [an ace]. So I go over and take $100 or whatever it was, I can’t remember, and I put it on his cart seat. I didn’t even hit my shot. I said, ‘That was a really nice shot. I quit. I’ll see you later on the driving range when you get done.’
“That was awesome. I hate that guy.”
The next week, Woods won the Masters in unbelievable fashion, winning the tournament by 12 strokes and putting the sporting world forever on notice.
Perhaps O’Meara had a hint at what was to come.