Australian golfing hopeful follows in young Tiger Woods' footsteps


At 15, Karl Vilips has trumped a young Tiger Woods, recently becoming the youngest amateur to win a prestigious US amateur tournament.

After the first day of the Australian Master of the Amateurs gold tournament in Melbourne, one of the youngest players, 15-year-old Karl Vilips, held a one-stroke lead.

But age has never been an issue for Karl Vilips.

"Putting my name with Tiger Woods on the same trophy was pretty nice."

He was playing competitively at age four, won his first world junior title at seven and has already achieved the golfer's delight - a 'hole-in-one'.

Karl told SBS he's in no rush to turn-professional, balancing study and golf at a US high school.

"The ultimate goal is to become a professional and become one of the best in the world - but for now I just want to build up my game and my academics so I can go to college in the United States," he said.

Karl studies in the US, meaning his father Paul who raised him as a single parent, cherishes opportunities to watch his son perform on the course.

Paul Vilips concedes life as a single parent wasn't always easy and says Karl's golfing sponsorship often gave the wrong impression of their circumstances.

"At night at times - we were living in a Salvation Army Hostel and yet he was playing golf at the highest level - looking the goods in clothing and equipment supplied by the manufacturers."

Karl says a golfing career wouldn't even be on the radar without the support of his father.

"He's been there, by me every single step of the way helped me out through tough times and we've battled it out together."

As humble and single-minded as this teen is - a recent win at a prestigious US amateur tournament, the 'Junior Orange Bowl' thrust the name Karl Vilips into elite golfing company.

"Building confidence - that's all it's about in golf. I played solid there and also solid the week before," he said.

"Putting my name with Tiger Woods on the same trophy was pretty nice."

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch