Jamestown Native Has Special Tiger Connection
Loans Woods’ Golf Ball From First Pro Round To Hall Of Fame
Of all the pieces of memorabilia that catalogue the historic career of Tiger Woods, one of the most significant belongs to a 1967 graduate of Jamestown High School.
Woods, who will be enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2021, played his first professional round of golf at the 1992 Los Angeles Open while still a 16-year-old high school student.
At his side for those first 18 holes on PGA grass as a security escort was Byron “Dana” Lindstrom, a Jamestown native who now resides in Rio Vista, California. The ball that Woods used during that momentous first round, resides in Lindstrom’s collection, signed and sealed in a shadow box.
Now, after learning that Woods will enter with the class of 2021, Lindstrom has coordinated with the WGHF to loan the ball so that it can be exhibited and enjoyed by golf fans from around the globe.
Recalling that fateful first round at Riviera Country Club, a harbinger of one of the greatest golf careers in history, Lindstrom said simply, “This kid was extra special.”
Weighing all of 140 pounds, Woods would shoot 72-75 to miss the cut at what was then the Nissan Open. The score didn’t much matter to Lindstrom and the golf community in attendance, because the potential of the teenager from Cypress was all too obvious.
“When you are walking with that young of a player, you are looking at this kind of talent, it is truly amazing,” Lindstrom said late last week. “I really love golf, but it was truly amazing to watch what was unfolding. I started by myself on the first tee and by the seventh tee I had called for six more reinforcements to come and help me because the crowd of the media, not so much the crowd on the course, but the media was getting wind of how well he was shooting. They just started to come in droves and at one time I think they had over 100 media following him.”
Lindstrom grew up in Jamestown and has been embedded in the world of sports from his early days working at Collins Sports Shop on Cherry Street. A graduate of Jamestown Business College, Lindstrom embarked on a career as a sports representative that eventually led him to California in the 1980s when he was hired by New Balance.
In the early 1990s, Lindstrom was offered the opportunity to work on the security committee of the L.A. Open by a business associate who formerly worked in law enforcement.
That would be the start of a 12-year partnership with the tournament, of which Lindstrom was named chairman in 2001.
Over that time span, he would form friendships with the likes of Fred Couples, Byron Nelson, Woods’ current caddie Joe LaCava, and other luminaries of the golf world.
Standing out from all of the photographs, autographs, and other pieces of history from those years is Tiger’s very first golf ball.
“When we finished that first round with him on Thursday, he signed the ball and gave it to me. I said to him, ‘You’re going to want to keep this, this is your very first professional tournament round,'” Lindstrom remembered. “His mother was there, and I said, ‘You need to keep this.'”
Woods declined that gesture, and since the ball has earned a second signature on the display box when Woods and Lindstrom reconnected at the L.A. Open in 2001.
One of the many connections Lindstrom made during his years as chairman was with Greg McLaughlin, another L.A. Open chairman who served a tenure as president and CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation beginning in 2000.
Now working with the WGHF, McLaughlin was Lindstrom’s first call when he heard the news of Woods’ induction.
“So I contacted him and said, ‘Hey, I still have this golf ball that he gave me that Thursday and autographed, would it be something that the Hall of Fame would be interested in showing in the gallery section when they put up the Tiger Woods section?’ He said, ‘You know what? Maybe so,'” Lindstrom said. “It has been a phenomenal experience for me since that day.”