Hell Yeah, Internet—The Girl With The Viral Tiger Woods Poster Is Heading To Augusta For The Masters
For all the (very-true) talk of how the Internet is a cesspool of negativity and hatred, some good does come out of these Online Streets. And this—this is very, very good.
A few weeks ago, Tiger Woods' caddie, Joe LaCava, noticed a particularly compelling sign behind Riviera's 17th green during Saturday's round of the Genesis Invitational. Tiger tends to put blinders on while he's playing and ignores nearly all chirps and signs—it's the only way he can stay focused given the madness constantly going on around him. LaCava, then, often acts as a filter on the golf course. He'll take things in, and if he feels they're worthy of the boss' attention, he'll let him know.
This sign was worth the boss' attention. The reasons are pretty self-explanatory—it's an adorable young girl who had a heart replacement and now has just two things left on her bucket list: meeting Tiger Woods and getting to play Augusta National. And so Tiger walked over to the girl, grabbed her sharpie, checked off that second item by himself and gave her an autographed glove.
The whole thing went viral, and a member of Augusta National got in touch with Drew Stoltz and Colt Knost, who co-host the Subpar podcast and Gravy and the Sleeze on Sirius XM. (Knost, of course, is a former U.S. Amateur champion and PGA Tour player who's now a crucial part of CBS' golf coverage). Long story short, the member was able to get in contact with the girl, whose name is Madelyn Quinn, and her father, Greg. And the two of them will be making the trip to Augusta this year to watch Friday and Saturday's round at the Masters.
"One of the members who heard the story insisted on getting a hold of me to offer tickets," says Greg. "We are pumped!"
A bit of background on Madelyn's fight, from the Transplant Living website:
Madelyn Quinn was born on April 26, 2013 with a “hole in her heart”, a congenital heart defect known as a Ventricular Septal Defect, or a heart murmur. While Madelyn was all smiles on the outside, what was happening on the inside was very different. Madelyn’s heart failure worsened along with her energy levels and appetite. At six-months-old, Madelyn underwent her first open heart surgery. The procedure to close the hole in her heart was successful, however she developed heart block. Two additional open-heart surgeries were performed on young Madelyn in the next six months, implanting two different pacemakers to attempt to correct her heart block and fix her little heart.
Madelyn’s condition got significantly worse, and after months on a feeding tube, continued loss of energy, and overall “failure to thrive,” Madelyn was placed on the transplant waitlist on November 23, 2014. The thought of a new heart implanted into our one-year-old was very scary, but at the same time gave my wife, Alyson, and I much needed hope for a new beginning. For Madelyn’s entire life, it seemed that everything kept getting worse and worse, and now, for the first time, we were optimistic. A new heart would give Madelyn and our family a new life.
On March 4, 2015, Alyson and I received the best phone call of our lives. Our team at Stanford received a new heart that was a perfect match for Madelyn. On March 5, Madelyn received her heart transplant, and even though we were optimistic, we were very scared. We had no idea just how amazing and sudden the transformation that her new heart would provide to her. Alyson and I got to see Madelyn shortly after the transplant and for the first time in Madelyn’s life, she had color in her cheeks, she was warm to touch and looked like a brand new child. Just a few days after her transplant, she had her first meal and she ate like we had never seen her eat in her whole life. Her laughs were louder, her smiles were bigger and her joy was larger than life.
The crazy part is the Quinn's almost didn't go to Riviera at all that day. They made a last-minute decision to head to Riviera on Saturday after seeing Tiger made the cut.
"I wanted to take her on Friday to see Tiger," says Greg, "but she was going to miss school. So once I saw that he was gonna make the cut we got tickets last minute. We entered around the first hole and immediately saw this huge group of people following Tiger."
They caught a glimpse of him on the 15th tee, but Woods was laser focused and didn't acknowledge Madelyn or the sign. So they headed to a grandstand behind 17.
"It was all Joey," Greg says. "You can see Joey sees it and gets a glove out for Tiger to sign. And I'm telling her, here he comes. She kind of froze up. Super, super star struck."
Fast forward and they're headed to golf's Mecca this spring. A massive shoutout to the nameless Augusta National member and to Stoltz and Knost, who mobilized quickly to make this happen. And, of course, to that brave girl. We love to see the golf community come together to make something like this a reality.