Reigning Master’s champion, Tiger Woods recollects the time when he met Muhammad Ali in a Hilton.
American professional golfer, Tiger Woods recalled an encounter with boxing Legend Muhammad Ali in a hotel lobby. According to Woods, the meeting started with a “love tap.”
In 2004, Woods checked into a Hilton to play a practice round ahead of the US Open at Shinnecock Hills, New York.
While Woods was at the front desk of the hotel, Ali snuck up from behind and hit Woods on the ribs. Enraged by the pain, the golfer was ready to clobber anyone in front of him.
In an interview with Golf Digest, Woods recounted the incident at Shinnecock.
“I’ve met him [Ali] on several occasions. But this is when I went for practice at Shinnecock. The year that Goose [Retief Goosen] won out there,” Woods said.
“I checked into a hotel, I believe it is where the Hiltons live, and so I’m checking in and I just have my backpack and literally my golf clubs. I’m just going up there for a day trip or stay the night and get up early the next morning and go play golf.”
“I’m in line at the front desk and I get hit in the ribs, my right ribs. And it hurt,“ Woods added. “And I whip around and I’m thinking I’m just going to hit somebody. I was so pi**ed. I look around and it’s Muhammad Ali.”
After a greeting from Ali, Woods followed up with a question. He asked Ali, “Why did you have to give me a love tap that hard?”
Muhammad Ali was 62 years old at that time. However, the heavyweight icon could still deliver a debilitating blow.
“He was old but it still hurt. And I just can’t imagine being hit in a ring for 15 rounds like they used to fight back in the day. It’s just crazy.” Although he was fuming with rage, Woods did not have any intentions to give one back. He simply said:
“I was going to lose that one!”
Even though Woods did not win the U.S. Open in 2002, he went on to win several major championships in the following years.