Yo, Ty-guh! 7 takeaways from Tiger Woods’ roller-coaster first round at Bethpage Black
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Ty-guh! Our take on your day, in seven easy (and not-so-easy) steps, LIE-style! We’re out of the traffic and coming straight at ya — and these exclamation marks are gonna be fast and furious here because YOU ARE DA MAN!
1. Are you trying to make us feel better?
Dude — you did the very thing you said you would not do! You said, and we semi-quoth from Book of Tiger I: If you drive it in the rough here [BPB], you gotta take your medicine, pitch it out, pitch it on, try to make par and bogey at the worst. We can semi-relate! As the saying goes, Ixnay on the ouble-day. (#nodubs4tdubs, etc.) So you started on 10, drove it in the rough, pitched out, pitched over and made…double. Shock city! We appreciate that you’re trying to be more relatable, but that was too much.
2. Speaking of relatable…
Believe us when we say, we know what it’s like, to try to get some sleep the night before an early round on a hard course, when you’ll be playing with your friends and trying to impress them. (Mr. Brooks Koepka and Inspector F. Molinari, in this example.) You showed Thursday morning what you have shown us before — at various opening tee shots at the Masters, at that British Open (2003, Sandwich) — first shots are not easy. The early-morning schlep in the truck (what Davis Love calls any SUV) to the distant 10th tee was only the part of it. Did you get any sleep at all, sir? You must have been up before 4 a.m., to get “the body” (one of your new pet phrases!) ready for play. Oh, man. That weird blend of 1st-tee excitement and exhaustion, we know it too well.
And there you were, just a little leaky when right was bad but left was worse. Double.
3. Plus, we know you’re a creature of habit
How weird was it for you to play the Masters, win it, go home, go to the White House, go home and then, for your very next outing, have to gear-up for the PGA Championship? Not something you have done before, needless to say. And, pretty much, your career is about doing again what you have done before. (Masters 1 followed by 2, 3, 4 and 5. Also, The First National Bank of Bay Hill and your eight large deposits there.) Yes, coming here, it wasn’t hard to imagine you winning, as you play hard courses well and you won the 2002 U.S. Open here. But you do dig the hot weather. And it’s not like they consulted with you before making this May-for-August swap. The nerve!
4. But the day warmed up and so did you!
You said that the part of the course — the only part, really — that was gettable was the first four holes. Numbers 10, 11, 12 and 13 for you on Thursday. Hat trick gone crazy: 3, 3, 3, 3. Ernie’s got a coffee deal, and Bubba’s got a gum deal, but if there’s anybody on Tour who deserves a first-ever coffee AND gum deal, it’s gotta be you.
Oddest thing of the day, seeing you getting into the second row of that big Cadillac SUV after closing out your two-over 72 on the way-out-there 9th green. Long ride to the house and you had to be thinking, what with BK and the Sunshine Band going crazy low, that it was a lost chance, that today was the day that the course was gettable. Brooks can actually go into Tiger mode, after that 63. He has cush! If he can play the next three days in three under par, he wins, no playoff. (#dothemath) Well, you can feel good about the fact that you created this phenomenal young talent in your own image. For those who weren’t around in the Early Aughts, this is how it went: Play seldom but for keeps; own the gym first and your playing “partners” second; smash driver in play; hit it hole high. If you make everything, you win by 15, but if you don’t, you win by two. Oh, and it’s over on Saturday night.
6. Take a load off, T.!
We know, we know — not your thing. But at least your workday was over by 2 p.m. The best pizza in Oyster Bay is Nino’s, on Main Street. Nino does deliver. Whether he delivers to a boat in the harbor is another question.
7. And about Brooksie’s 63…
“He played well.” Love it! You still got it. The only thing that would have been better is, “He played good.”
Michael Bamberger may be reached at [email protected]