Twenty years later, Steve Scott looks back on epic bout with Tiger Woods

By Steve Waters
Published on
Twenty years later, Steve Scott looks back on epic bout with Tiger Woods

Editor's note: We're republishing this story as Steve Scott was welcomed to PGA of America Headquarters this morning for a fireside chat. Scott, the PGA Head Professional at Paramount Country Club in New City, New York, spoke about his epic match against Tiger Woods in the 1996 U.S. Amateur and his life since then.

“I’ve been so lucky in both life and golf," Scott said today. "And now I get to help my members at my club learn the game. It’s been a wonderful transition.”

Here's Scott reflecting on that thrilling U.S. Amateur match, which went 38 holes at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course in Oregon:

"At the time of the match I wasn’t intimidated," Scott said. "I didn’t watch him hit it at all that day. I was hitting it 280, he was hitting it 330. I had to beat him with my putter.” 

Here's PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua getting some instruction from Scott on his "gator clamp" putting grip:


And here's Scott demonstrating his grip to Charlie Rymer on the GOLF Channel:


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Twenty years after competing in perhaps the most memorable U.S. Amateur championship match ever, Steve Scott is doing great.
The former Coral Springs High School and University of Florida star went 38 holes before losing to Tiger Woods in that thrilling final match at the 1996 Amateur at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore.
For Woods, it was his third consecutive amateur title and sent him on to a record-breaking career on the PGA Tour.
For Scott, it was an experience that he'll always treasure.
"Other than I didn't win that match, there's nothing negative about it," said Scott, 38, in a telephone interview from Paramount Country Club in New City, N.Y., not far from New York City, where he is in his fifth season as the PGA Head Professional.
Escalante Golf, which owns Pumpkin Ridge along with 16 other golf properties, invited Scott to return to the club last month to hold a clinic for club members and share his memories of his match with Woods.
Scott went to Pumpkin Ridge, which has a private course where the Amateur was held and a public course, with his wife, Kristi, who was his caddie during the tournament, and their children J.C., 7, and Kaylie, 5.
"It was very special. We had a great time," Scott said. "Probably the neatest thing was to go back and show my kids where it all went down."
One of the key moments of the match that was overlooked in the frenzy of Woods winning and turning pro was Scott's act of sportsmanship that would have made Bobby Jones, golf's greatest amateur, proud.
Late in the match, with Scott leading, Woods had moved his ball marker on the green so Scott could putt. When Woods went to putt, he forgot to replace his marker.
Had Scott not pointed that out to him, Woods would have lost the hole and the match.
"That was the right thing to do," Scott said. "There was no way I was going to do it any other way."
Scott won two state high school championships and two team titles at Coral Springs and was a three-time All American at Florida.
He was the country's top-ranked amateur when he left Florida in 1999, married Kristi and turned pro with his eye on making the PGA Tour.
He played in 15 PGA Tour events and on the Nationwide Tour, which is now the Tour, but most of his pro golf was on the Canadian Tour, where he won two tournaments.
"I never quite got the job done when I needed to," said Scott of his PGA Tour play. "I made a few cuts, but nothing substantial. I went to six Q-Schools and had some pretty good success, but never what I needed to keep going."
So Scott went back to college, graduating from FAU with a communications degree in 2005. Then he worked as a PGA Professional and became a head professional in 2009 at a club in New Jersey.
About the time his contract there was coming to an end, a mutual friend of Scott and the owner of Paramount, an A.W. Tillinghast design, put them in touch with each other and Scott was hired.
It's been a dream job for him and for Kristi, who played for Douglas High School and is the club's LPGA teaching professional.
"The ownership of the club is really fantastic," said Scott, who oversees the golf operation and gives lessons. "They built my family a house right on the golf course."
Highly regarded as an instructor, Scott has been featured on Golf Channel and is known for his Gator Clamp putting grip, which can be viewed on his website
"I always feel better after giving a lesson. I never knew how much fun it would be," said Scott, who credited teaching professional Bob Toski of Boca Raton for his success. "I learned a lot from him. I was first a student of his and it just translated into me just kind of getting his passion for the game, then all of a sudden I started helping some people and it grew from there."
This article was written by Steve Waters from The South Florida Sun Sentinel and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.