Yes, I Did See Tiger Woods

To answer the obvious question: Yes, I did see Tiger Woods. We camped out around the 11th hole yesterday, and we made a point of staying there until Woods played. As much as I have zero use for celebrity worship, I couldn’t come to the Master’s golf tournament and miss seeing him. And trust me, Woods is a massive celebrity, even among this crowd of mostly affluent, Southern, white, middle-aged men.

Woods wasn’t playing particularly impressively at that point in the afternoon. He had racked up a succession of par rounds, even as a legion of lesser talents were smoking past him. But when Woods showed up in the fairway behind us, all heads swiveled away from the mere mortals who were teeing off on the 12th hole back toward Woods, who was doing nothing, just leaning casually against his golf stick and waiting for the group ahead to finish. A whole sea of people — investment bankers, corporate attorneys, building contractors, the business elite — stood up from their seats just to get a better glimpse of the Mighty One.

Woods was cool — relaxed, almost nonchalant, showing no stress at falling three shots off the leadership pace. He played solid golf on the 11th hole, finishing up with another par. He had a chance at scoring a birdie, but he took a long putt that missed the hole by an inch or two. And then he was on to the next hole. No showmanship, no swagger. Very understated, very civilized. Woods, I would suggest, is one of the few celebrities who deserve the idolatry bestowed upon him.

That was my brush with Woods worship. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt with the Master’s logo.

I get to stay in our guest house today, getting some work done, while my father-in-law, an avid golfer, uses my pass. The Master’s is a world-class event, and I’m pleased that I had a chance to witness it. The grounds were immaculate and beautiful. I soaked up impressions of a sub-culture to which I had never been exposed. But I’ll tell you this, as boring as golf is to watch on television, it’s even more excruciating to watch in person. At least the television cuts from player to player — no long waits between “action” sequences. In person, one must endure interminable intervals between golfing groups. Golf makes baseball look like a non-stop, fast-action thriller of a sport. On television, there is no trouble seeing where the golf ball travels. In person, you might be lucky enough to see the ball immediately after it’s hit, but you lose it in the sky and can’t see it again until it plunks down on the ground. Booooring.

But, hey, it would be a dull world if everybody liked the same thing. If people love golf, good for them. I’ve got other things to do with my life. … Like blog.

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  1. I went to the practice days a couple of times when I lived in GA. Somewhere I have pictures of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus playing golf together at Augusta.

    Are the concessions still run by the ladies auxiliary? The most surprising thing about the Master’s experience when I went was the $1 beers and $1 BBQ sandwiches served by a local non-profit group. There was no major event price gouging at all.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    My former mother-in-law, a Little Rock native, was a great Tiger Woods fan. She probably didn’t know anymore about golf than I do (nothing), but she loved to watch HIM. Toward the end of her life she sank into dementia with some good days and some bad days, and the last coherent conversation I had with her involved Tiger.

    I was staying with her to give her son a chance to run some lengthy errands and asked her if she still watched the Tiger Woods video that I had bought her. She said she hadn’t watched it lately but added, “Tell me, is that sweet thing still makin’ big money?”

    I assured her that he was.

    She’s been dead for some years now and that “sweet thing” is still makin’ big money – and still a class act.

    Deena Flinchum

  3. Groveton Avatar

    I had the good luck of spending a little one-on-one time with Tiger Woods. It’s a long story but we ended up in the same gym working out. There was Tiger, me and the guy at the front checking IDs. Tiger Woods is every bit as articulate, pleasant, witty, personable and humble in person as he is made out to be on TV. He is a credit to the United States and US golf. He earns his money by being the best at what he does. Who can argue with that?

  4. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Has anyone noticed that Tiger is looking pretty buff these days? I could tell he’s been working out. The guy has a great physique.

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