Well, it’s not like me to be even vaguely topical, but after a week like that, even I feel compelled to write something about the PGA Championship. I started the week off stamping out Monty fires, and at one stage early on, I thought I was going to have to reach for my asbestos shorts, but thankfully, the big guy was in good form all week. Also, he’s now slimmer than I am, which is hard for me to deal with. After the first day, which lasted about six weeks in dog years, I knew we were about to witness something unusual. At this rate, I thought, we’ll be lucky to get done before The Masters starts in April. Tiger could win two majors in one week …. that’d be cool.
I got to work with Verne “Cannonball” Lundquist in the 18th tower on Thursday and Friday, which was a huge thrill for me, even though the evil little Scandinavian ratbag stole my rental car, and refused to give the keys back. On Thursday, upon entering the tower, he tripped, and fell arse over tit, a move that I named after his knowledge of figure skating, “the triple Lundquist.” Look for it at the next Winter Olympics. We decided, that if he had fallen completely out of the tower, it would have been called “a double Clampett.”
Jack was beyond amazing. I don’t know how else to put it. After his second round, he sat down with me for the late night highlights show. Even though he didn’t want to be there, and obviously ached to be with Barbara and the kids, for two days, he had been unable to suppress the supernatural forces that have driven him for the last 40 years. Courage, pride, determination, skill, loyalty, and devotion almost got the better of fatigue and sadness, and after he was done, only honesty remained. “I knew he was good,” he said to me with a penetrating blue stare. He looked like he had suddenly realized something. “But I had no idea he was this good.”
Of course, neither had we. If Tiger needed a confidence boost, or an opinion he might value, this would probably do it, I thought.
Then there was Saturday, and I was working the early show for TNT, down on the range, asking people with no chance to win questions that didn’t matter. I am the Tiger Woods of stupid questions. If they held stupid question tournaments, I would win all of them in a row. Later that day, Scott Dunlap is brilliant, Tiger is not. I stride the links manfully with them, sweating like the fat Irish kid with the coke-bottle glasses, at the spelling bee. Every hole is uphill.
Sunday. Bob May has no chance, because Tiger has had his bad day. Later that day, I am reminded of Alonzo Mourning, trying to shake Jeff Van Gundy off his leg. Like a horny Jack Russell, Bob has no intention of letting go before he’s finished. For about the last three and a half hours of the show, I completely forgot I was at work. This was a drama so compelling, that the roars of the crowd, and the silence that followed, were equally deafening. It was a telecast that even McCord and I couldn’t you-know-what up. There was no possible unhappy ending. And we were wondering if Valhalla was a good enough venue. Bring on the Ryder Cup.