What Happened to Tiger Tracker, Golf’s Most Beloved Twitter Account?
For his most devoted fans, watching Tiger Woods play golf has always been the can’t-miss main attraction of any tournament—but for much of the last decade it came with a built-in side show. There was a game within the game, one centered around a seemingly simple question that proved to have a surprisingly elusive answer: Who is Tiger Tracker?
Over the years, countless golf aficionados turned would-be detectives launched amateur investigations aimed at uncovering who was behind @GCTigerTracker. Since launching in 2012, Golf Channel’s wildly popular Twitter account followed Woods wherever he played and reported on his every move and shot, dutifully chronicling his on-course birdies and real-life bogies in equal measure. Tiger Tracker was there when Woods won five times in 2013 on his way to becoming the PGA Tour Player of the Year. TT was there for Woods’s protracted bout with back pain, and it was there when Woods came down with a nasty case of the chipping yips in 2015. Tracker was there in Atlanta in 2018 when Woods won the Tour Championship at East Lake, his first victory in five years at a time when a lot of critics thought the notion of Woods winning anything ever again was little more than a faded fantasy. And of course TT was there when Woods pulled on the green jacket one more time after winning the 2019 Masters.
Over eight years, Tiger Tracker tagged along with Woods as he traveled the world, posting almost 47,000 tweets for the account’s nearly half a million followers, an eclectic list that includes countless blue-check notables ranging from Steph Curry and Mike Trout to Star Jones and, at one point, Anthony Scaramucci. TT even followed TW to the United Arab Emirates in 2017 for the Omega Dubai Desert Classic—only to almost immediately return to the airport and fly back to the states when Woods withdrew from the tournament shortly after arriving. But unlike the famous golfer who inspired the handle, the operator behind Tracker preferred to remain in the shadows. Covering Tracker’s tracks even included a detailed faux author bio for TT on Golf Channel’s official website. And thus began the great guessing game, with fans tweeting at Tiger Tracker and asking whether they’d managed to unmask the person behind the account. There was naturally also a subreddit devoted to cracking the case on Tracker’s true ID.
Like almost everyone else, I had no idea who Tiger Tracker was before reporting this story—mainly because I had no idea Tiger Tracker existed at all. It wasn’t until I randomly stumbled into a Ringer Slack channel one day a few months ago that I was clued into the account and its cult following. I’m not a golfer, and the only time I’ve ever covered the sport was when the Philadelphia Inquirer dispatched me to detail the circus surrounding Woods at the 2010 Masters following his stint in sex rehab. (I don’t remember how he played or what I wrote, but more than a decade later I can report that the pimento cheese sandwiches in the Augusta National press box were good and plentiful.) Over the years, former golfers turned on-air Golf Channel talent like Brandel Chamblee and Woods’s college teammate Notah Begay have been accused of secretly being Tiger Tracker. Similar theories have been floated about Tiger’s caddy and even Tiger himself. None of them, obviously, are Tiger Tracker.
My Ringer colleagues had their own guesses about Tracker’s identity, but on that day when I crashed their conversation, what they really wanted to know about was something more pressing: Where was Tiger Tracker? After obsessively following Tiger and tweeting about his every shot over eight years, the account had mysteriously gone dark for the first time ever in late October despite the fact that Woods was playing in the Zozo Championship in Thousand Oaks, California. The fact that Tiger Tracker wasn’t tweeting out updates per usual caught a lot of people by surprise—including whoever handles Golf Channel’s official Twitter account.
That tweet was quickly deleted, but it underscored the secrecy and behind-the-scenes uncertainty surrounding how Tiger Tracker made its particularly popular brand of social media sausage. Even some executives at Golf Channel and its parent company NBC Sports/NBC Universal didn’t seem to know why Tiger Tracker had suddenly vanished, according to TT. (Multiple executives and spokespeople for NBC Sports and Golf Channel did not respond to several interview requests for this story.)
“You can’t make this shit up,” Tiger Tracker told me with a chuckle in late November.
TT might have been laughing to keep from crying. All is not well at Golf Channel. These are tough times. In February, employees were told that the network was relocating from its longtime home in Orlando, Florida, and taking up residence in the NBC Sports complex in Stamford, Connecticut. Months later, staffers were informed that mass layoffswould restructure Golf Channel and leave hundreds of employees without jobs. When Tiger Tracker was nowhere to be found for the Zozo, some devotees speculated that TT had been unceremoniously ushered onto the unemployment line with so many others.
And then, suddenly, Tiger Tracker was up and running again for the pandemic-rescheduled Masters in November. Fans weren’t sure what happened or what to make of it—or even that it was the real Tiger Tracker with their fingers on the account. Skeptics thought it had to be a fake Tracker and not the original article, especially because TT suggested something no one wanted to believe: that the Masters would be the account’s final tournament before shutting down again, possibly for good. In typical Tiger Tracker fashion, there were pop culture tweets during the week that included references from Bad Boys, The Fast & the Furious, and the WWE, all designed to signal that Tracker was saying goodbye. On the final day of the tournament, the morning of November 15, TT tweeted out a clip of Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting: “Once more into the breach, dear friends.”
The whole thing made for an emotional Masters. On a site that is often cynical, callous, and critical, followers overwhelmingly adored Tracker, arguably the most beloved Twitter handle in golf. Fans tweeted their heartfelt appreciationto Tiger Tracker for a job well done. Some people said they joined Twitterspecifically to follow the account. There were pleas that begged Golf Channel to not shut down Tracker, while others vented their anger at Golf Channel and NBC Sports over a decision one follower called “criminal.” It seemed that even TT was having a hard time processing the reality and resorted to posting the familiar GIF from The Office with Michael Scott saying, “All I can do right now is put on a brave face.” When the Masters ended, so, it appeared, did the account.