EVENT: NEC Invitational, Firestone Country Club, Akron
DATE: Aug. 27
"This was the week after Tiger had won the PGA Championship. With
another golfer you might expect a letdown. Not with Tiger.
"We had a three-hour rain delay on Sunday and were worried about
whether everybody was going to finish. Tiger's in the last
pairing, with Hal Sutton. After they tee off on 16, with dusk
approaching fast, I tell 'em if they feel it's too dark, they
should tell me and we'll suspend play. I don't get much in the
way of a response from Tiger. He's got his game face on. He's got
about a 10-shot lead at the time.
"On the 17th fairway, where they're waiting again, I remind them
that we can suspend play. This time Tiger flashes that big,
beautiful smile and says, 'If the guys in front of us finish,
we'll finish.' I was amazed because he never gets out of focus
like that during a round. Then he jumped right back in, preparing
to play his shot.
"By the time we're on the 18th fairway, it's pitch-black. The
only light is from camera flashes and lighters and flashlights.
I'm standing right behind Tiger as he plays his approach shot.
You could barely see the ball go off, it's so dark, but what a
sound that shot made, a solid, pure click. Tiger started walking
after it, the way he does when he hits a good one. The crowd was
roaring, but I had no idea how good the shot was. When I got to
the green, I saw that it was maybe two feet from the hole. An
eight-iron from 168 yards, in the dark, stiff.
"Seeing him play that shot reminded me of my golf as a kid at the
old City Park course in New Orleans, finishing in the moonlight.
It reminded me of my boyhood love of the game. For Tiger, I had
the feeling it was business as usual. He tapped in for birdie and
won by 11."
B/W PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY SIMON BRUTY
THE NUMBER OF BACHELORS, OTHER THAN TIGER, TO WIN ALL FOUR
MAJORS. (THE LAST BACHELOR TO WIN EACH MAJOR: JOSE MARIA
OLAZABAL, '99 MASTERS; ERNIE ELS, '97 U.S. OPEN; JUSTIN LEONARD,
'97 BRITISH OPEN; JOHN DALY, '91 PGA.)
The number of bunkers at St. Andrews. During the British Open,
Woods didn't put his ball into any of them.