Tiger Woods’ acting advice for Bryson DeChambeau—and golf’s six other best things this week
Every week (pretty much) GOLF senior writer Michael Bamberger identifies — and ranks — the absolute, undeniably, very best* things in golf right now. This week, he’s filing from the warm center of the universe, Dublin, Ohio, home of Jack Nicklaus’s Memorial tournament.
(*or at least mildly interesting)
7A. Men at Work
Tiger played in the Wednesday pro-am with Peyton Manning. They both have green coats, as Peyton is an Augusta National member, and Tiger won his fifth Masters in April. Peyton had himself a big day on Wednesday. He drove it in play on one. He got a read from Woods on 18 and then holed his birdie putt. “I don’t know if you saw it,” Manning said several times, post-round. Yes, Peyton—everybody saw it.
But Manning’s highlight was not the birdie but a moment at the turn, when he and Woods and Big Jack had a little visit. Manning has played with these two golfing icons, who have won 38 majors between them, professional and amateur. (That tally, folks, is 20-18, Nicklaus leading but out of outs.) Manning, like Nicklaus and Woods, has an interlocking grip. He has a patient backswing, he’s shut at the top and he’s nothing but oomph at impact.
Asked about their similarities, Manning said of Woods and Nicklaus, “They both have great memories. Tiger can tell you shots that I hit in the pro-am in 2005 at Bay Hill. Jack can tell you about the 7-iron he hit in the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills. Tiger will probably have the same memory as Jack when he’s .
“I probably have a similar recall for football. I try to forget my bad golf shots.” Then, like a comedian doubling-down on a good bit, he said: “I made a birdie on 18. I don’t know if you saw it.” We saw it. Looked like a 10-footer. Tiger read it, Peyton stroked it. Teamwork.
7B. Boys at play
Manning, famously, returned to his sport (the football!) after surgery, and Woods has done (and is doing) the same. After the pro-am, Woods was asked, “Did Peyton say anything inspiring to you?” “No,” Woods said. “He just gave me crap the entire time.”
6. Mad men
A year or so before Jack Nicklaus won his 18th major, the 1986 Masters, he did a “do-you-know-me?” TV spot for American Express where he offered some biographical clues about himself but not his name, which was revealed in the ad’s final seconds. That’s what a niche sport golf was then. Today, Tiger Woods is one of the most famous people in the world and his presence as an advertising pitch man has a lot to do with it. Maybe his finest acting moment is his look of utter boredom in a current Bridgestone spot in which Bryson DeChambeau prattles on and on about the science behind the Bridgestone ball.
They’re playing together on Thursday and Friday, with Justin Rose. “He taught me a few things, from an acting perspective,” DeChambeau said. “Personally, I thought I did a better job. But he didn’t think so. He was like, ‘It’s easy. It’s not hard. Just do it.'” Just do it indeed.
Ever since the last playing of The International, a PGA Tour event at Castle Pines last played in 2006, the Memorial has emerged as the best spot on Tour for milkshakes. DeChambeau was enjoying an Oreo-and-M&Ms shake Wednesday afternoon. You may know that Nicklaus created the course here, and the tournament, in his own image, and that he is an authority on ice cream, with a sub-specialty on milkshakes.
4. Dame Judy
Judy Rankin is the Memorial honoree this year. As a player, a broadcaster and a team captain, she has been first-rate in everything she has done in the game. The only surprising thing is that it didn’t happen earlier. She was a spokesperson for a club I invented some years ago, and she was great. In her own way, she’s just like Arnold. All she ever had to do was be herself. Her late husband was a true gent, too. Yippy. Even with that nickname, guys lined up to play with him, just as the women golfers lined up to play for Judy, as Solheim captain. Judy Rankin. If you know anything about her, just seeing the name makes you smile.
3. Speaking of great names
Something I have always meant to do is get a copy of my U.S. patent for the aforementioned club. In the gents in a Dublin (Ohio) restaurant this week, I saw on the wall a framed copy of the U.S. patent for a “metallic golf club head,” designed by a man named A.C. Link in 1925. (!)
Now Link is a great golf name, first or last, do as you like with the spelling. I had a French teacher in high school named Linc Ogilvie. He modeled his swing on Gene Sarazen’s.
2. Best example of Midwestern Understatement
Jack Nicklaus, on the Muirfield Village Golf Club course: “The golf course is good.” You could also say, “The golf course looks like it could host a U.S. Open next week.” But that would not be Jack’s style. “The golf course is good,” that is.
1. Tiger people
It’s been fascinating, to see how fans have responded to Tiger since the Tampa event last March. Then there was absolute frenzy just at the idea that he was contending again. When he won at East Lake in September, it was like the pressure valve went off. There was a mad intensity to the fan response to the win. When Woods won at Augusta in April, he was embraced with a warmth that (you could say) he had never experienced before.
In the Wednesday pro-am here, there was nothing frenzied or mad going on. We’re in Columbus. It was a pro-am. Still, what was palpable was the sense of gratitude going around, the fans appreciating the golfer, and the golfer appreciating the fans.
Michael Bamberger may be reached at [email protected]