Before Masters Win, Tiger Woods Sent Encouraging Video to Golfer with Cancer

Before Masters Win, Tiger Woods Sent Encouraging Video to Golfer with Cancer article feature image

Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tiger Woods.

  • Wednesday before the Masters, Tiger Woods sent a video to a friend of fellow PGA Tour pro Harold Varner.
  • The friend, Daniel Meggs, is dealing with life-threatening cancer.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One day before the Masters started, while prepping for what would become his 15th major championship victory, Tiger Woods sent a 17-second video from his phone.

In this video, he offered words of encouragement for a man he’d never met.

He spoke sincerely about handling adversity.

And he fulfilled a promise to a fellow player, one which meant more than he even knows.

“It’s just giving me chills right now just how it went down,” said Harold Varner III.

On Tuesday, in advance of this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, Varner, a local resident and PGA Tour veteran, told the story of asking Tiger to record a short video for a friend named Daniel Meggs who’s been diagnosed with life-threatening colon cancer.

“Hey, Daniel. I know you’re going through a difficult time,” Woods said in the video. “But I just want you to know that I’m pulling for you. Stay strong and keep fighting. That’s the most important thing. Never give up hope. You’re an inspiration to all of us. Just keep hanging in there, all right. Take care, dude.”

Meggs grew up playing tournament golf with Varner in North Carolina. “He was such a stud growing up, but never treated the players that weren’t as good any different,” Varner recalled. “Just a super awesome guy.”

While Varner attended East Carolina, Meggs was playing at Wake Forest on an Arnold Palmer scholarship.

Fast forward a few years and the two friends had lost touch a bit. Varner had heard Meggs was dealing with serious health issues, but hadn’t seen him until Sunday night of last year’s Wells Fargo, following the final round at a nearby watering hole called Selwyn Pub.

“I was sitting there, I was like, ‘That’s Daniel,’” said Varner, who proceeded to catch up with his old buddy for a while. It wasn’t until about a month later when he was told, “The doctors gave him like a time limit, X amount of time [to live]. I didn’t ask him ask any more questions. [The mutual friend] was like, ‘It’d be really cool if Tiger could video or call.’ Well, I’m like, for sure he ain’t calling, that’s just not happening, but we’ll see. I’ve never asked him for anything.”

A few months ago, Varner put in an official request with Woods, asking if he would record a few inspirational words for Meggs.

It wasn’t until Wednesday of the most pressure-packed week of the year that Varner heard back, receiving that 17-second video on his phone.

“I sent it to [Meggs] and he sent the greatest reply ever,” Varner explained. “He said, ‘Well, I can die now.’ We’re laughing. He’s like, ‘No, man, it’s really cool. I needed this.’”

Varner tries not to discuss too many details with Meggs.

He knows further surgeries are an option, as is chemotherapy. He knows that his friend is varying degrees of sick on a daily basis.

Meggs was planning to come to Quail Hollow Club on Wednesday to caddie a few holes for Varner during the pro-am, but a fever spiked, leaving him unsure of his availability.

Varner explained that despite his serious issues, Meggs is always upbeat and encouraging when they speak on the phone.

“Never worry about anything, just full speed ahead,” he said. “It’s easy to say you would do that, but for him to be in that position and actually do it is something else.”

After receiving that video from Tiger, Meggs also had a little premonition.

“He says that he’s going to win on Sunday,” Varner remembered. The self-proclaimed “Tiger fan” skipped right over those words, though, instead focusing on his friend. “I’m thinking like, ‘I don’t really care if Tiger wins on Sunday. How are you doing?’”

Four days later, of course, it happened.

The premonition came true.

Call it karma, call it coincidence, but just days after sending words of encouragement to a man he’d never met, Woods had put the finishing touch on his own improbable comeback.

As soon as it was over, once Tiger had pumped his arms into the Augusta sky as the ground shook beneath him, Varner made another phone call.

“For a good 20 seconds, we didn’t say anything,” he said. “We just cried.”

On the other end of the line, Meggs knew his Wednesday prophecy had been fulfilled.

“I’m just glad he wasn’t in front of me, because I would not have said anything,” Varner continued. “It was just super awesome. I didn’t do anything, but the joy that I got out of like [hearing] him talk to me, I just can’t put it into words.”