Thursday, June 19, 2008

Two days after chasing Tiger Woods around for the last time this year, Roger Maltbie called from the Bay Area. After serving as an on-course reporter at Torrey Pines, he was back home resting his own weary legs.

“It was one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen,” said Maltbie, a five-time PGA Tour winner whose playing career spanned the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Johnny Miller. “You know the saying, ‘I can beat you with one arm tied behind my back?’ Well, this guy beat you with one leg. I mean, come on! We’re all in awe of this.”

Maltbie then added: “The message here is that we all knew he was the mentally toughest guy out there. That wasn’t a secret. We just didn’t know the depth of that toughness. That was all will. With doctors telling him not to do it, with him knowing there was more damage than suspected, he was just looking for a way to get down the road, to get through Torrey Pines. He knew he could potentially do more damage and, yet, he played.”

Asked about Woods missing the rest of the season, including one of the biggest events in NBC Sports’ lineup, the Ryder Cup, Maltbie said: “It’s a big loss in general for golf fans, but the Ryder Cup is a strong enough event on its own. It’s a great event even without Tiger. Same thing is true with the FedEx Cup. Thankfully, it’s only a one-year thing and he’ll be back. You know he’s going to do everything he can to get himself ready and be better than he was before. That’s a given.”

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