The Story Of Tiger Woods Winning His Version Of The ‘Flu Game’ Is Why He’s The G.O.A.T.

Tiger Woods

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There are countless stories you can point to in order to highlight the impressively competitive nature that allowed Michael Jordan to become one of the most dominant basketball players (if not the most dominant) in NBA history, but there aren’t many that stick out quite like the contest known as the “Flu Game.”

His Airness was already a legend when the Bulls faced off against the Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals, but he only cemented his greatness by overcoming the illness he was battling ahead of Game 5 to post 38 points to give Chicago a 3-2 lead in the series they’d go on to win two days later.

It’s worth noting “Flu Game” is a bit of a misnomer, as Jordan used The Last Dance to confirm a long-running rumor that he’d actually come down with food poisoning after a late-night pizza order came back to haunt him the following morning.

It turns out he’s not the only notable athlete who’s been able to overcome that particular setback, as Tiger Woods also spent a fair amount of time getting familiar with the toilets during a PGA Tour event he nonetheless managed to win in a very, very convincing fashion.

Tiger Woods won the 2003 Bay Hill Invitational by 11 strokes despite having food poisoning

Tiger Woods

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Tiger made his debut on the PGA Tour in 1996, and a year later, he officially announced his arrival with the most dominant performance in the history of The Masters.

In the years that followed, Woods managed to routinely outshine the rest of the competition to the point where it frequently felt like every other golfer in the field was essentially playing for second place when they arrived at a tournament Tiger had entered.

That was the case when the Bay Hill Invitational (which is now the “Arnold Palmer Invitational”) kicked off in 2003, where Tiger was looking to defend his title for the fourth consecutive year thanks to his mastery of the tract known as “Arnie’s Place.

Tiger trailed the leaders by one stroke after shooting an even 70 in his opening round, but he quickly distanced himself from the rest of the pack with a 65 on Friday and a 66 on Saturday to head into the final 18 holes with a commanding lead.

However, Bay Hill locker room attendant Rick Roberts said he was a bit shocked Woods was even able to play on Sunday thanks to the fairly debilitating case of food poisoning the golfer found himself battling in addition to the brutal rain and win that had made life extremely difficult for everyone on the course.

Tiger had already puked a few times before he scrambled into the bathroom at the turn, and Roberts recalled what happened once he arrived, saying:

“He came into the locker room and splashed water on his face. Then he put his head down on his arm, and his legs kind of buckled, and I thought there was no way he was going to finish.

I asked if he needed anything, and he asked for a Gatorade. His voice was kind of weak, but he thanked me, headed out and shot 68, and won by 11.”

Woods had a couple of birdies under his belt by the time he arrived in the locker room, and while he “only” shot par on the back nine before heading into the clubhouse with a 68, Roberts said another golfer later remarked he couldn’t believe anyone (nevermind someone with food poisoning) could have recorded that score based on the inclement conditions at Bay Hill that day.

Tiger Woods is truly built different.

Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.