Lt. Col. Michael Rowells, a nine handicap, found himself shanking balls from the rough and dropping shots into the water Wednesday in Dubai. The serviceman was nervous and rattled by his surroundings.
The reason? His playing partner was Tiger Woods.
Rowells beat 16,000 other golfers in a draw and was given the opportunity to play with Woods. Stationed in Afghanistan, Rowells had to scramble in order to get a passport and borrowed a set of golf clubs from Emirates Golf Club.
"I came in wanting to play decent and I really didn't," Rowells said. "But it didn't matter. The experience was so far beyond what my score would have been. The time with Tiger, and the time here at Emirates Golf Club, has just been tremendous regardless of how many balls I put in the water."
Though his overall game was lacking, Rowells was able to cozy up a few approach shots and drain some long par putts during the round, drawing some praise from one of the world's top golfers.
Woods is familiar with the military, as his father did a couple of tours in Vietnam, so the two spoke mainly about Rowells' service.
"He understands the services, and that is always a plus," Rowells said. "A lot of people don't quite understand what we do. I think he has decent respect for the military and that is always nice. We spoke a little about his dad, some of the places he had been, like Fort Bragg, where I'll be ending up in the next year and a half or so."
Overall, Rowells with smitten with the experience and left impressed by the golfer, who has been dealing with some trying circumstances over the past year.
"I played with a Tiger that struck the ball very well, was a complete gentleman, a class act, easygoing and put me at ease," he said. "One of the larger-than-life figures was very down to earth and very accommodating to somebody that came in to do this."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report