How I Got Tiger’s Autograph…

…would be a great story to tell, if I actually had. :)

The stories I do have to tell, are through the cut.

This article is going to be a temporal mess, because I’m just going to blather on about whatever I remember first, not the order in which they happened.

Early start again–which was good, because Tiger and O’Meara went out at oh-dark-thirty. I caught up with them on the fifth at about 7.30 this morning.

O’Meara is as steady as he ever was, with that nice, no-muss no-fuss swing and hitting every fairway in sight. Tiger’s spraying ’em a little, but nothing really astoundingly off-line. And you could’ve put a Wal-Mart between his ball and Mark’s on the par-5 11th.

Saw David Feherty on the 16th–he held Tiger up a little, probably shooting a set-up for the coverage this weekend.

Speaking of Feherty, I saw Peter Jacobsen–one of the few people who makes Feherty look relatively sane–again this afternoon. I’ve never seen a pro who’s so good with the kids. He looked like he was having the time of his life, inviting them to hold their items to be autographed literally in his face, and biting one of them (offering it as a ‘dental impression’ type of autograph to the fan who’s program booklet he bit). Man, we need more color like that on the regular tour. He’s a joy to watch–it doesn’t matter what he’s shooting, by golly, he’s having a good time doing it.

If Jacobsen, Trevino, McCord and Feherty played a foursome … would any actual golf even get played, or would they just stay on the first tee, trying to out-do each other? :)

Anyway. Got a pleasant surprise after leaving the Woods-O’Meara group: just behind them was Jose-Maria Olazabel, then the Haas boys (father Jay and son Bill–never did find out who schooled who, but my money’s on Haas pere), and not far behind them was a quartet of young guns: Justin Rose, Trevor Immelman, Ian Poulter and Adam Scott, with David Leadbetter walking along.

Somehow or another, I’d managed to get myself over by the 9th green, and watched Jack and Fred Couples come in, then just stayed there a while as Steve Flesch, Craig Parry, Tim Herron, and a few others came through.

The clinic was great–Jack had the Big Easy hit an old steel-shaft persimmon wood as a ceremonial “First Shot” (this thing is travelling to all the PGA events as part of the ‘Drive To A Billion’ promotion), and Ernie sent the ball off into the next county.

Got three of the fifteen rolls of film I shot developed. My camera, it turns out, has a light leak. I have no idea how many shots are ruined, how many are okay, and how many will take a salvage operation.

Final autograph tally for this year: Jim Furyk, Lucas Glover, Paul Azinger, Kevin Na, Tim Petrovic, Charles Howell III, Bo Van Pelt, Aaron Baddeley, Mike Weir, Ernie Els, Bernhard Langer, Carlos Franco, Peter Jacobsen, Jose-Maria Olazabel, Greg Owen, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Trevor Immelman, Ian Poulter, Zach Johnson, David Toms, and David Leadbetter.

Handicapping this event is no easier than handicapping a major, but I expect the following:

  • Vijay was spending way too much time smiling and laughing–does he know something we don’t? Expect him to challenge strongly.
  • I have a good feeling about Chris DiMarco this week for no reason I can put my finger on, other than that he has a great record at Augusta, and Muirfield Village is very similar. For the record, I also have a good feeling about DiMarco in the PGA this year.
  • Tiger will start a new cut streak, but I don’t think he’ll be in contention.
  • Davis Love looks strong. He might be a factor.
  • The 11th green will give the players migraines.
  • The weather will suck at least one day this weekend. This is Ohio, and this is The Memorial. The weather always sucks at least one day of the tournament.

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