Eye of the Tiger

I did something today I'd never done before, and it took more energy than I anticipated.

It's been over 20 years since I walked a golf course and I had NEVER seen a real professional tournament before, but today I checked out the final round of the Phoenix Open.

It's not that far from my pad actually--less than 8 miles away, but I would NEVER have gone except for one golfer--Tiger Woods. In the olden days I woulda gone to see Arnie (ask any older golfer who that is if ya don't know), but Tiger's the only one who interests me now.

It's a whole different world than I'm used to--this golfing crowd. A little less white than the pre-Tiger days, but still predominently country club Anglo crowd.

Noticed several unique subcultural things about this crowd--mostly middle age and older and upper middle class. Tiger's presence has added a few young people to the mix and a few blacks and Asians to the crowd.

I got there to the first tee in time for the first groups, so about an hour and a half before the tourney leaders. Whenever I saw a father close by with his son, it only took a few minutes before you heard the word "Tiger." Part of Tiger's appeal is that he IS different from the other pros who all seem to come out of a country club upper class cookie cutter. Of the top half of the surviving field at the Phoenix Open, there were a few middle aged guys, a couple a left handed pros, but nearly all save one were Caucasian.

Tiger stands out. I was surprised how tall and straight he carries himself, and he remarkably handles the adulation. What a beautiful, "effortless" swing he has, and can he smoke the ball. He was always outdriving everyone in his group.

Tiger had a good round--no bogeys and three birdies. But he probably won't remember much about today since so many other putts of his just didn't quite drop, and that was the difference. He made up 3 shots on the leader, but it was only good enough for 3rd place in the tournament.

I learned how hard it is to keep up with any golfer when you're part of a huge gallery--you have to be in good shape, and it'd help a great deal to know the course so you can anticipate where to go. But this was my first effort, and I got to see Tiger Woods do his thing. I even got a good spot near the green to see him make his birdie on hole #11. Not sure I'll try this again since I can now cross attending a PGA event off my Life list.

It was just another routine day in Tiger's life, but I'll remember this...probably forever.

© copyright, 1999, John Nesbit
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