As I alluded to in a previous article, I was very much looking forward to the Genesis Invitational PGA event being held down the street from me. There are so many reasons to love PGA events, even for the non-golf nuts; beautiful landscapes, house snooping, food, drink and lounge areas to name a few, but this event was particularly special as it was Tiger Woods’ first return since the 2023 Masters. Unfortunately, Tiger had to withdraw midday Day 2 due to the flu, but he still offered my family a moment and experience that we will never forget. A touching moment in which the popular publication, Golf Digest picked up and seemingly referred to me as ‘the happiest girl on the course’….

Earlier in the week leading up, we learned that children under 10 were free for each paid ticket to the event. So, between myself, Khrista, and brother in-law, we could bring my two nieces and nephew. What could go wrong with bringing a 5-, 3-, and 2-year-old to a walking-intensive event like this during nap time hours? To ensure sufficient vigilance as we settled into our first viewing location, Justin Thomas, Viktor Hovland and Patrick Cantlay all launched drives in our direction that came raining down like missiles. Sounds scary; I promise it’s much more terrifying in real life, particularly as we tried shielding the kiddos. We quickly left that spot and continued our day of wandering.

Khrista manned the stroller while her brother and I geeked out to players’ practice routines, divot taking and of course their actual shots as the girls thoroughly enjoyed picking flowers and dragging sticks. Around the 11th hole we settled in and watched a few shots from the famous 600+ yard par 5. As PGA tour rookie, Chase Johnson approached his second shot, he cracked a smile looking at me pointing and whispering in the girls’ ears explaining what to look for, who the players were, where they’re coming from, etc. I may be biased, but they were adorable wearing their matching US Open outfits and flower bracelets they had put together. The players had to wait for the green to clear, so Chase, understanding his position as a role model with heavy influence over the children and man-children alike, b-lined to us with his golf glove in hand. In a very sweet and approachable manner (my nieces are easily spooked), asked the girls if they would like his glove to remember the day. This was kind of a big deal. Golfers don’t often give away their gear and almost never during the actual round. Though the girls had no understanding of what was going on, I was a puddle, knees weak, full-force fan boy. Chase smiled, said a few words then went back to his ball before hitting a 3 wood 3 feet from the pin for an eagle that he would go on to make. After hitting the 3 wood, he was clearly excited and came back to us gesturing for the glove back. He was asking the girls if they saw and liked the shot and he put the glove back on so that he could properly sign it. Again, the girls weren’t the least bit interested, but I certainly was! I’m sure Chase was embarrassed for me as a person four years his junior smiling as if I were being welcomed through the Pearly gates.

While the rest of the day was wonderful, our interaction with Chase was surely the high point. A day later I was scrolling through the internet and stumbled on a new Golf Digest article about young Chase Johnson getting to compete against his idol, Tiger Woods. An interesting read you can find here:  Chase Johnson Meets Tiger Woods. As I scrolled through, I realized the author & Chase were referencing our moment on the 11th fairway and how special it was for himself and the ‘excited girls’. As I mentioned, Hailey wasn’t particularly excited, Harper was downright scared, so by process of elimination, I assume the role of ‘excited girl’. I’ve been called worse!


By Thomas Schulte CFP® Director of Financial Planning Read More