Jake Knapp was only 11 back in early 2006, when the WGC-Match Play came to La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, California, just 80 kilometres south of his home in Costa Mesa.

Knapp, winner of the Mexico Open at Vidanta in this, his rookie season on the PGA Tour, scored some tickets for that Wednesday 18 years ago, to watch the 64 best players in the world play in the opening round that featured 32 matches.

It’s no surprise that Knapp opted to follow Tiger Woods.

He witnessed history and walked away with a piece of it too.

That was the day that Woods faced Stephen Ames. If you still don’t recall what happened, Woods disposed of Ames to the tune of 9 and 8 after Ames said earlier in the week that he believed he had a chance to beat Woods, saying, “anything can happen, especially where he’s hitting the ball.”

Woods, deep in the heart of Tigermania and already a 10-time major winner, hit all 10 greens that day and needed only 14 putts. He was the equivalent of seven under par.

Asked to comment after the dusting, Woods only said, “9 and 8.”

According to Knapp’s bio on the PGA Tour’s website, Woods’ caddie Steve Williams tossed a ball to Knapp during that short, 10-hole match against Ames. The ball still sits on Knapp’s desk at his home and he considers it one of his earliest golf memories.

Knapp, now 29, held a four-shot lead heading into the final round Sunday at Vidanta Vallarta and battled nerves most of the day. He bogeyed two of his first three holes but made two more birdies to shoot 71 and beat Sami Valimaki by two shots. He earned $US1.458 for his victory and earned a trip to the Masters.