One scene at the PGA Championship shows why Tiger Woods is still the biggest rock star in sports

Richard Heathcote/Getty ImagesThe PGA Championship showed that Tiger Woods may be more popular than ever.
  • For the second straight major, Tiger Woods was in contention, finishing second to Brooks Koepka at the PGA Championship over the weekend.
  • Fans in St. Louis flocked to Woods all week, and roars were heard even when his score was updated on the leaderboard.
  • One scene in particular after the 18th hole showed that Woods is still the biggest rock star in sports and may be more popular than ever.

Brooks Koepka won his third major at the PGA Championship on Sunday, but the star of the show at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis was Tiger Woods.

After sitting out with an injury or missing the cut at 15 of the previous 18 majors, Woods was in contention over the weekend for a second straight major. But while his run at the British Open was fun, his second-place finish at the PGA Championship felt different, and that was due in large part to his fans.

All weekend, fans flocked to the course or TVs to see Woods – and if they couldn’t see him, they roared when his score was updated on the leaderboard.

While Woods still hasn’t won a major in a decade, one scene at the PGA Championship in particular solidified his return as the biggest rock star in sports. It came as he finished his final round and walked off the green to a bridge that took the players to the clubhouse.

When Woods walked across the platform and waved, the crowd went bonkers.

The ESPN analyst Michael Collins, who was previously a PGA Tour caddie, described the scene on “Get Up.”

“When Tiger left the golf course – that walkway off of 18, that’s a walkway that goes by [Hole No.] 9 – it was slammed with people,” Collins said. “And everybody just stood there kind of staring up as Tiger Woods walked across that platform, the staircase. When he just waved at the crowd, they went ballistic.”

Keep in mind: Nobody was playing the ninth hole at the time.

Koepka talked about the noise for Woods after the round.

“Everybody on the golf course heard,” Koepka said. “It was actually quite funny. You could hear the roars when we were on 10 and 11, and then you could kind of hear it trickle down as they changed the leaderboards all the way through. You could hear a different roar like every 30 seconds. So we knew what was going on. It’s pretty obvious when Tiger makes a birdie.”

Eric McHugh, a St. Louis TV cameraman, told Michael Bamberger of Golf magazine the intensity of the crowd was unlike anything he had ever seen at a sporting event.

“The crowd noise for Tiger was like a storm brewing,” McHugh said. “You’d be standing on the side of the fairway and he’d be walking up it, and it was like a sound wave, building up, getting louder and louder.”

McHugh added that he had covered games in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum “with 85,000 people there, hollering.”

“This was more than that,” he said.

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