Saturday, January 20, 2007

Lately I've been hearing some criticism that we (CBS) are showing too much of Tiger Woods, even when he is not in contention. Here's my view on this subject -- balderdash. He is still the most interesting player in the field, and even if he's six shots back, he's still part of the story. He is also an announcer's nightmare. Last week was a classic example.

You see it's my job to tell you, the viewer, what he is liable to do next. Sometimes I feel like I'm watching an entirely new species or perhaps a visitor from another planet, because almost every time I think he has no shot, he proves me wrong. Personally, I think he is allergic to chipping out sideways.

In the second round of the Sprint International, on the 12th hole, his tee shot, a flaming whizzer to the right, found a ghastly spot, just over the cart path, buried in deep rough and blocked out by pine trees. In order to get it on the green, he had to start it 20 yards over the water on the left and carve it back. While I knew he had the strength to hit it far enough, I could not imagine he could cut it enough from such a bad lie. The key word here is "imagine." He has a combination of strength, imagination and reckless abandon that makes compulsive viewing. Like Palmer and Ballesteros, and Captain James T. Kirk, he seeks out a brave new world, a place where the hand of man has never set foot, so to speak.

Standing with his left foot on the cart path, he took an almighty swipe with an 8-iron and the ball shot out over the hazard and sliced violently, landing smack bang in the middle of the green. McCord almost fell out of his tower, and I walked over to bang my forehead on the nearest tree. Then I went to look at his divot hole, which was still smoldering. He also has a nasty habit, after one of these miracles, of wandering over to me, grinning like a basket of french fries, and saying "Did you call that one?"

"Not exactly."

The point is, if we don't cover his every move, you know you're going to miss something special. Ahem, like his ace at No. 7 on Saturday. But hey, it was lunchtime, and that's the union for you

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