On Monday, Golf Channel hosted a media day previewing next month’s NCAA Golf Championships at Eugene Country Club, which included a teleconference with Stanford alums and members of the 1994 NCAA national championship team Notah Begay, Conrad Ray and Casey Martin.
One of the main topics discussed was the stresses and pressure of competing in the NCAA Regional Championships (and I can tell you from my personal experiences, it really was the worst, especially since it always coincided with finals for us). Martin recalled an insightful anecdote from the 1995 Regionals, when he and fellow Stanford teammate Tiger Woods both got food poisoning. It’s a great story and just another example of what a fierce competitor Woods was.
From the transcript, courtesy of Golf Channel:
CASEY MARTIN: And again, to piggyback on that, a Stanford story about the rigors of regionals, our senior year I remember very vividly we were I think the No. 1 team in the nation with Tiger and Notah and we had regionals in New Mexico, Notah’s home course, and Notah took us to his favorite barbecue joint. The only problem is Tiger and I had the same thing to eat and we were rooming together and we got food poisoning that evening.
So I remember very vividly waking up at 1:00 in the morning and I was hurting so bad, and then Tiger woke up and we started throwing up all night, and so I kind of let Coach know as early in the morning that there was no way I could play golf. I was literally and Tiger to his credit was in the same boat I was, but he had to play, because if we both don’t play, we’re done, and we’re the No. 1 team.
Tiger went out and I think he shot 71 and he threw up three or four times. We were in the ER after the round with IVs, and then we survived and advanced, but it was not without some serious stress.
So it’s a legit thing. Regionals, your whole season comes down to three rounds, and most of the time you’ve been shipped to someplace that you’re not familiar with. It’s kind of fun, and it’s kind of not, too, but it is what it is, and we have to be ready for it.
NOTAH BEGAY: Yeah, Case, I remember that story and I remember going into you guys’ room and looking at both of you just on death’s door practically, and I go, one of you guys has got to go, so you decide who it’s going to be.
CASEY MARTIN: I had the leg and the stomach, so I knew Tiger would help me
NOTAH BEGAY: That’s how to pass on that one, Martin. The funniest thing is you guys remember the long par-3, I believe it was the 17th hole, a little long back then. These guys it’s probably a long iron for some of these guys, but most of the guys were hitting in 3woods or 5woods or whatnot.
I remember Tiger was setting up over his shot, and then he backed off, walked to the side of the tee, threw up, walked over there, hit it on the green and two-putted, and I think he won the individual title that particular week, which was remarkable considering that he was extremely dehydrated and needed an IV when he was done.
But that was one memorable way to get through regionals.