DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – An American army officer serving in war-torn Afghanistan has won the chance to play with Tiger Woods in the Dubai Desert Classic pro-am on Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Michael Rowells, who has a nine handicap and is deployed currently with the 401st Army Field Support Brigade, beat 16,000 other amateur golfers in a draw ahead of the tournament’s traditional curtain raiser at the Emirates Golf Club.
“I am thrilled and can’t believe my luck,” Rowells said in a statement.
“I registered with little hope of actually being selected,” he said. “Miracles do happen, and I am overwhelmed with the prospect of playing … with Tiger. Truly a dream come true.”
Woods’ father Earl did two tours during the Vietnam War as a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. It was his second tour that shaped the latter part of his life.
He met Kultida Punsawad, who was working as a receptionist in Thailand, and married her in 1969. He fought alongside Lt. Col. Nguyen T. Phong of the South Vietnamese army, a friend he nicknamed “Tiger” because of his courage and bravery.
Earl Woods promised Tiger Phong that he would name a son after him.