Tiger Woods’ influence still felt in St. Louis


ST. LOUIS – Tiger Woods has touched the lives of many people from all walks of life in the St. Louis area.

PGA and local golf pro Jay Delsing has seen two sides of Tiger on and off the golf course.

“Your heart goes out to his family and you want him to be okay,” Delsing said. “When you’re playing with him. he wouldn’t say anything. He’d just look right at you, look right through you…he was so much better than everybody.”

He also sees a kind and friendly Tiger off the course. A man who wants the world to be a little better.

“He opened doors that should have been opened long ago and made things possible, that at the time we weren’t doing as well as we should have been with some of these race issues,” Delsing said.

After Tiger Woods created his foundation, one of his first stops was Forest Park in the summer of 1998. He held a golf clinic for young people, including inner-city kids.

Kevin Kroll, who works at Forest Park Golf Course, was there that day.

“I remember the reaction of the kids’ faces. They’re nervous as they wait for him to get there. As soon as he got there, they were smiling and talking,” Kroll said.

Tiger’s effort had a lasting effect on kids who took up the sport and returned to the golf course, often including two brothers, who were 7 and 8 years of age at the time.

“I saw those kids for 10 plus years,” Kroll said.

Fans wonder and worry if Tiger will ever compete again.

“He’s had such a big influence on the game,” Owen Rittenhouse, a SLU High School golfer, said. “It’s something for sure we’re praying about.”

Thousands of St. Louisans will never forget Tiger’s play at a 2018 PGA event at Bellerive Country Club.

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