March 1, 2007
Story published by ESPN.com
By Jason Sobel
MARANA, Ariz. -- Tiger Woods remembers the match like it was yesterday. "I was 13," he said earlier this week. "James Mohon." He doesn't smile at the recollection, doesn't hide his displeasure for the memory. The words are chaperoned by a simple, phlegmatic stare. Woods says the name once more for anyone who missed it the first time. "Mohon." And then he is done. No reason to continue talking about a subject that's been eating at him for two long decades. He still seethes over it, the first time he lost in match play.
Mohon, meanwhile, remembers almost nothing about the match. Can't recall the exact date. Doesn't know the final score or remember any particular shots. Owns almost no memory of the day he accomplished what so many since have tried and failed to do. The day he beat Tiger Woods.
To the best of Mohon's knowledge, it was an afternoon in 1989 -- or was it 1990? -- and he was 16, maybe 17. The tournament was the Southern California Junior Match Play and unlike most age-specific events, it featured an open field, meaning any player under 18 could qualify.
When he drew Woods in the quarterfinals at El Dorado Golf Course in Long Beach, Mohon was already well aware of his opponent's growing reputation. "Everybody knew Tiger," he said by phone Thursday. "Everybody that played junior golf knew how good he was."
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