Man who met Tiger Woods at Masters has died
A cancer patient who met Tiger Woods at the Masters Tournament has died.
Shane Caldwell, from Columbia, died earlier this week, according to The State. He was 52.
Before the first round of the Masters on April 5, Caldwell enjoyed a brief reprieve from the stage 4 lung cancer he was battling at the Duke Cancer Center.
After Woods warmed up on the driving range, he tugged the white golf glove up on his hand and signed the palm. He then walked to the back of the range where Caldwell sat in a wheelchair next to his wife, Renay.
“Are you Shane?” Woods asked, breaking into a grin.
Woods chatted briefly with Caldwell before wishing him the best.
“It was pretty emotional,” Caldwell said after meeting Woods. “I went to the PGA in 2012. We were there eight days and we’d be there at 7 o’clock in the morning or late, late night and I never saw him (on the driving range). I just wanted to get him to sign my hat.”
The Caldwells did not learn until the evening before that Woods would be meeting with them.
“Our daughter did this,” Renay Caldwell said. “Shane’s been sick. He has stage 4 lung cancer and he’s been a Tiger Woods fan for at least 30 years. Shane has had a rough go of it recently, and some friends of ours gave us Masters tickets before he ended up in the hospital, so we were already planning to come.
“We had tickets for today and he ended up in the hospital a week ago Monday. We told the doctors we don’t care what you have to do, you have to get us out of the hospital because he has Masters tickets. They put a big note on his chart and everybody who walked in the room said, ‘I heard we have to get you out for the Masters.’”
Even with a Masters badge, the Caldwells' chance of meeting Woods was minuscule. That is, until their stepdaughter Jordan Miller took to social media.
Miller posted an emotional plea on Facebook and Twitter for Woods to meet her father.
Miller called her idea “a crazy dream” that had to happen in five days. She said Caldwell had every reason to be selfish, but instead he is a “truly selfless and loving father, grandfather and husband.”
Miller said that while fighting the lung cancer for the past 20 months, her dad’s most frequent question to doctors is “when can I play golf again.”
“She wanted to do everything she could for her stepdad to meet Tiger Woods,” Renay Caldwell said. “She sent out tweets and she hounded everybody under God’s creation. She is a full-time student and mother. She has spent every waking minute trying to get people to respond, tweeting ESPN and even one of the Bachelors.
“Some people started retweeting, and evidently it was on the news in Atlanta and it went viral.”
The Tiger Woods Foundation got in touch with Miller and set up the meeting.
Shortly after living out his dream of meeting Woods, Caldwell also thanked Erica Herman, Woods’ girlfriend, who was standing next to his wheelchair.
“Thank you for everything you did,” Caldwell said.
“I did nothing,” Herman said.
As Caldwell talked about the meeting, his voice cracked and his eyes watered.
"I’ve just always wanted to meet him,” Caldwell said. “A lot of people knock him down for a poor choice here or there. I’ve kind of always had his back.”
The signed glove said: “Stay strong!! Tiger Woods.”