tiger’s practice round

mulligan, 02 June 2004, Comments Off on tiger’s practice round
Categories: Uncategorized

I’m reporting today from the Memorial Tournament practice round. Designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1974, Muirfield Village Golf Club is absolutely one of the most majestic courses. Of the courses I’ve walked or played, I place it second only to Pebble Beach.

Today, I followed Tiger on the back nine. (Since he teed off at 6:30 a.m. when I was still in bed, I missed the front.) He played with Orlando neighbor John Cook, and a man who appeared to be a golf coach was walking in the group (if I find his name, I’ll update). There were probably a couple hundred people following Tiger’s early practice round — yes, people are pretty fanatical about golf in this part of the country.

Tiger’s iron shots, short game, and putting all looked pretty fluid. Everything looks so easy, especially in a practice round. He did not hit as many drivers, choosing to go with the 3 wood more often off the tee. But he did hit an amazing driver “off the deck” from the fairway on the par-5 15th, from 235 yards out and onto the green. I have it on tape and will try to post it.

I’ve followed Tiger a number of the times in the past, but today I appreciated more exactly what he has to deal with being Tiger. He’s like a rock star, drawing huge fans who flock to see him in an almost mob-like atmosphere. Today, only John Daly and Jack Nicklaus generated the same kind of “buzz” among the fans as Tiger, but Tiger’s following appears to be the largest or at least most intense. No doubt he tees off early to avoid the crowds and finish early. The security detail plans out Tiger’s getaways, just so he can leave the course.

But it’s good to see Tiger hasn’t lost his sense of humor. After he struck a good shot on the 215-yard par 3 16th, one spectator asked Tiger, “What did you hit?” With a straight face, Tiger replied, “The ball.” And then he cracked a smile.


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