New PGA Tour winner has an epic souvenir from one of Tiger Woods’ biggest beatdowns

Jake Knapp was only 11 back in early 2006, when the WGC-Match Play came to La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif., just 50 miles south of his home in Costa Mesa.


Knapp, winner of the Mexico Open at Vidanta in this, his rookie season on the PGA Tour, scored some tickets for that Wednesday 18 years ago, to watch the 64 best players in the world play in the opening round that featured 32 matches.

It’s no surprise that Knapp opted to follow Tiger Woods.

He witnessed history and walked away with a piece of it too.



Two years ago Jake Knapp was a nightclub bouncer. Now he’s a PGA Tour winner in the fifth start of his rookie season



Tiger Woods flashes vintage short game with filthy flop shot


That was the day that Woods faced Stephen Ames. If you still don’t recall what happened, Woods disposed of Ames to the tune of 9 and 8 after Ames said earlier in the week that he believed he had a chance to beat Woods, saying, “anything can happen, especially where he’s hitting the ball.”


Woods, deep in the heart of Tigermania and already a 10-time major winner, hit all 10 greens that day and needed only 14 putts. He was the equivalent of seven under par.


Asked to comment after the dusting, Woods only said, “9 and 8.”


After asking Williams for a ball all day, he finally tossed one to Knapp, but it took longer than expected.


“It’s about an hour from my house,” Knapp said Sunday in Mexico. “So my dad took my brother and I there when we were a kid. I was just hounding Stevie all day to give me a ball, give me a ball, give me a ball, and he kept on telling me after the round.


“Then Tiger finally closed out Stephen Ames 9 and 8 on the 10th hole. I was standing back by the 10th tee. They walked right by and I asked him for a ball and neither of them really did anything. They walked into the locker room and I was like, ‘dang, like there they go.’ Then 10 seconds later Stevie walked out and he was like, ‘hey, kid,’ tossed me his ball. It was pretty awesome. It’s really the only piece of sports memorabilia that I have that I really cherish. Still got it in the same little plastic case sitting on my shelf at home.”


Knapp, now 29, held a four-shot lead heading into the final round Sunday at Vidanta Vallarta and battled nerves most of the day. He bogeyed two of his first three holes but made two more birdies to shoot 71 and beat Sami Valimaki by two shots. He earned $1.458 for his victory and earned a trip to the Masters.



Gideon Canice

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