All Still a Buzz After Epic 19-Hole Masterpiece
It’s an hour before the NBA Finals at Staples Center and ESPN studio host Michael Wilbon is more concerned where Tiger is on the leader board of the U.S. Open held over 100 miles away in San Diego.
“What did Tiger on the 18th? Did he save par?,” he asked anyone who was willing to take their eyes off the huge flat screen in the media center adjacent to the NBA interview room.
Since I don’t know par from far, I was reluctant to mumble anything and then some rather open chap quietly gave him the answer to the question.
During one of my happy Father’s Day calls, I was interrupted only to be told that Daddy Bakewell was watching Tiger.
A day later as I went to grab something to eat at Taks down the street from the office on Crenshaw Blvd., I couldn’t make it my seat in time before I overheard the old dude sitting at the counter offering that Tiger was much too young to lose to his forty-something foe in the miraculous 19 hole playoff.
No utter mention of the Lakers survival in game five. No whisper of the dwindling economy or Barack Obama.
Not on this day and not during this week and not at this time. TIGER PLEASE…
African American have never had the fascination with a sport that only represents them by one-golf for the most part was some real estate that put hills on what could have been a good Pop Warner football field.
Even on television it was just something that caught your attention while you were channel surfing or because it was an event held on the channel your basketball for football game was being shown next.
Admitting I now own a set of clubs that is collecting more dust than they had when they were given to me by someone else, but my attraction to Tiger Woods is cult like.
I want to dress like him, I want to walk like him, I want to have money like him, but I know that I will never be able to golf like him-so why take away tee time from some other lad.
There was a time when Tiger was linked to tennis phenoms Venus and Serena Williams and he will forever be associated with basketball icon Michael Jordan, but those day are long gone.
After winning what he suggested was the greatest tournament he had ever won, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines there isn’t anyone on the same planet with your roaring holiness now.
With a surgically repaired knee hindering his normally flawless game, Tiger finished off the U.S.Open marathon winning a 19th hole playoff over Rocco Mediate. It was his 14th major and soon the only records that he will be breaking will be those of his own.
Mediate was the most unlikely challenger of them all since it took a playoff for him just to get into the field.
Once there he wore the glass slipper for as long as it would fit and then after 18 holes and another 19-hole playoff including the sudden death he was alone with a Tiger.
No bear in the trees, just a young man who has 65 career victories and passed the legendary Ben Hogan for third all-time.
“With everybody in the world looking in, and everyone expecting me to get [my behind] handed to me, I didn’t,” Mediate said. “And I almost got it done. I almost got it done.
With a name that is a cross reference between a stiff in a Rocky flick and a mafia hit man, he found out what many others have before him. It’s easier to get in position to beat him than to actually beat him.
Players don’t really choke or fold against Tiger, they are just as enamored as we are and once you get that close up, you’re good.
“It was unreal,” Tiger said. “It’s probably the greatest tournament I’ve ever had.”
Oh, yeah right…until the next one.