Tim McGraw Shares Rare Insight Into His Relationship With Late Dad Tug

The following year, he added, he “begged” his mom to take him to see the Phillies play the Houston Astros.

“She borrowed a car, and we drove to Houston and he was playing at the Astrodome,” Tim told Oprah Winfrey. “And he’d left tickets for us ’cause she’d gotten in contact with his lawyer, I think, and his lawyer had said he’ll leave tickets for you. We go to the Astrodome, we walk in, and they’re warming up and he’s down on the field. He always did this thing where a player would hit balls with a Fungo bat, and hit it up in the air and he would catch ’em behind his back. So, he was doing that, and I started yelling at him and then he wouldn’t look at me. So, I spent 30 minutes trying to get this attention and he wouldn’t look at me. So, I went and sat back down. And then I never saw him again until I was 18.”

Eventually, Tim and Tug did form a bond. Tug died of brain cancer in 2004. And over the years, Tim has paid tribute to his dad on social media, including on the anniversary of Tug’s passing and on his birthday. 

“In a lot of ways, that probably was a good driving force for me. You know, knowing that his blood was in me, you know, it inspired me. It did,” Tim said to Oprah. “Whether he knew it or not or ever thought about it, he gave me something that you could never quantify. He gave me a dream of what I might could become because of who he was. He was my father, and what he had done with his life put something in me that I probably would have never had—I might not have ever had, who knows—but I certainly think that that was a driving force in me to think that I could become somebody.”