Tiger's tackling dummy speaks
By now everyone has seen the outtakes of Tiger Woods unexpectedly decking his costar in a Buick commercial, but no one has heard from the deckee, Al Nowicki. "It was a lot of fun," says the actor, who has appeared in about 50 commercials. "It was Tiger's idea, and I was fine with it. I haven't played football since high school, but it was a good hit." This was not, however, Nowicki's only experience with a sports legend: "A few years ago I appeared in an AFLAC commercial with Yogi Berra. Nice man. He didn't hit me; he just sat there." ... While Nowicki was upgraded to stunt pay (he also received a bruise on the forehead), Tiger made some extra cash that day too. At one point director Steve Chase spotted a vertically mounted light, a four-foot-by-eight-inch unit known as a Kino Flo, about 80 yards away. He bet Woods $10 that Tiger couldn't hit it. Woods dropped a ball, pulled a three-iron and busted the light on the first try. (A clip of the shot and other outtakes are scheduled to appear on buick.com.) Chase paid up but got revenge later when he beat Woods in a game of closest to the pin. Still, Chase never saw the money again. "Nah, Tiger just went double or nothing," Chase says. "I said, 'That's what you do; you just keep betting double or nothing until you win.' Tiger said, 'That's right, I'm not giving you any of my money.'"
• WORLD GOLF Hall of Famer Seve Ballesteros is coming to America, and it looks as if the Spaniard intends to stay. The two-time Masters champ, who turns 50 on April 9, plans to tee it up as many as 14 times this year, including the Masters, the British and Senior British Opens, and up to 11 Champions tour events, beginning with the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf on April 21-23. Ballesteros is also considering buying a house in Florida, from which he would continue to play a full senior schedule starting in '08 while, in theory, his sons, Baldomero, 16, and Miguel, 14, play college golf in the U.S. Last year Ballesteros set a 2011 retirement date -- but his younger son wouldn't graduate until '14.
• THE NATIONWIDE TOUR kicked off at last week's Movistar Panama Championship in Panama City, where two notable cut streaks came to an end. The first was 2003 Masters sensation Ricky Barnes's run of 23 straight cuts made, the second longest of its kind in Nationwide history, which fizzled out when Barnes shot 73-75. The other belonged to Ted Potter, who played the Nationwide in 2004 and went 0 for 24 in cuts. After resurfacing in '06, as the leading money winner on the Hooters tour, he returned to the Nationwide this year and not only made the cut but also went on to shoot 279, finishing 12th.
Sergio Garcia is realizing the professional fruits of dating Greg Norman's daughter, Morgan Leigh. Garcia, who's never designed anything, will work with Norman and Pete Dye on a new course in Dubai.
• SUGGESTED WOODS BABY NAME OF THE WEEK: Earldrick.
• TUNNEL VISION: Fred Funk never took his eyes off the prize as he shot a 23-under 193 to win the Turtle Bay Championship in Kahuku, Hawaii, by 11 strokes, the largest winning margin ever in a 54-hole Champions tour event.