Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods had become good friends over the years, so it will come as no surprise to Tiger’s fans that he was stunned to hear of his friend’s death on Sunday. As it happens, Tiger was in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open when the news broke. He didn’t learn of his friend’s death until after he finished.
As ESPN details, word of Kobe’s death began to emerge as Tiger played the front nine of Sunday’s course. Tiger’s caddie, Joe LaCava, learned of the heartbreaking news as the tournament continued. However, he decided not to tell Tiger until after he had finished playing.
After Tiger wrapped his round, he walked with LaCava and learned of Kobe’s death. Those watching the tournament caught the moment and saw that Tiger was momentarily stunned.
The wording was difficult to hear in the clip that made the rounds on Twitter. However, LaCava could be heard telling Tiger that he had something difficult to tell him.
A few seconds later, Tiger slowed his pace.
“Excuse me?” he asked LaCava.
The two men kept walking and Tiger only had a moment to wrap his head around the shocker before he faced television cameras.
LaCava telling Tiger about Kobe. Unreal. pic.twitter.com/7EsIAuywKI
— Jay Rigdon (@jayrigdon5) January 26, 2020
“It’s one of the most shocking, tragic days that I’ve ever been a part of in a very quick span here,” Tiger replied when asked about the heartbreaking news.
Tiger went on to note that throughout the back half of the round, he heard quite a few people yelling something related to Kobe, but he was left confused by it.
“I didn’t understand why they were yelling, ‘Do it for Mamba,’ on the back nine. People yell things all the time, so I was just plodding along, doing my thing,” the golfer explained.
Tiger went on to talk about how he was a die-hard Lakers fan growing up. He recounted several bits of Kobe’s career that most impressed him and opened up about what connected the two athletes.
The PGA star noted that he and Kobe really connected over the mental preparation needed to play their games. Tiger said that they did not necessarily see one another often, but the two spent time together occasionally when Tiger had a home in California.
“He came into the league, and I turned pro right around the same time, and we had our 20-year run together. It’s shocking,” Tiger continued.
Tiger was one of the millions of people who were left virtually speechless by the news of Kobe’s death on Sunday. In addition to the NBA star’s death, reports detail that his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others perished in the helicopter crash.