Tiger comes out of the woods again


Monday, June 16th 2008, 1:05 am
By: News 9


Contrary to NBC, ESPN and the Golf Channel, this is not the Tiger Woods Open.

It just sounds that way. With the networks hoping for a Tiger Woods in-the-hunt US Open in this first ever prime time TV event, you gotta admit it's impossible to not talk Tiger 24/7.

I mean who else can one-up firing a 30 on his final 9 Friday? Who can one-up finishing a birdie-eagle finish on Saturday to take the lead into Sunday? I guess the guy who makes birdie on 18 to take it to a Monday finish.

If Bob Tway had known Rocco would be in a playoff, he'd have played and not caddied for his 19-year old son Kevin.

Talk about a mismatch. Physically, Tiger looks like Michael Jordan or Adrian Peterson  - GQ in his Nike Duds. The cat can bench press John Daly after a night of chicken wings at Hooters. He intimidates these other guys when he steps on the putting clock.

Then there's Rocco. My 89-year-old dad looks more athletic than Rocco. He hikes up his britches a lot higher than dad. Rocco's got the build of a bowler. That peace sign on his belt buckle today is the best thing Rocks got going for him.

The putt to send Our Open to a playoff was a thing of beauty. Talk about rough greens. They had more pock marks than Larry Bird's face the day after a chocolate festival.

Tiger gets an asterisk by his name in the record books even if he loses, a worse hitch in his giddy-up than Hopalong Casady or Walter Brennan.

What an era! Tiger Woods in Prime Time, but I couldn't care less who wins tomorrow. Either way we all come out winners. What a deal.

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Etcetera:

Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate will play an 18-hole playoff Monday to decide the title. Each fellow finished at 1-under 283, the first under-par score in the Open in four years. Mediate shot a final round 71 to a 73 for Woods-Eldrick needing the most dramatic twelve footer in eons to send her to Monday.

Tiger Woods has won 13 major championships and is 14-1 in playoffs as a pro. Mediate has never won a major title and is 2-0 in playoffs, his last coming 15 years ago. The last playoff in an Open was in 2001 when Retief Goosen beat Mark Brooks at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla.

Etcetera etcetera:

Phil Mickelson is in the wrong era. He may have not beaten Jack Nicklaus or Ben Hogan or Walter Hagan or Bobby Jones very often. But one thing is sure. Tiger Woods intimidates the immensely gifted lefty in two key areas: Physically. And mentally.

I'll go to my grave believing Mickelson is a heck of a lot closer to Tiger in sheer golf game skills than he is in the other two categories. The guy can play. Just not when Tiger's within a country mile and the stakes are high.

I say Tiger should play nine more rounds this season. Beat Rocky for major No. 14 tomorrow at Tiger Pines. Then four rounds at the British and four more rounds at the PGA. That's it. It's not like he needs the money. Win tomorrow and one of the other two and Tiger's Player of the Year again.

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera:

Finally, most of us golf purists, give us a three or four or five hole playoff today. Don't bring back a whittled down on-site crowd and mid-day TV audience for an 18-hole Monday playoff.

But Tiger doesn't care if I think he should shoot up his knee to numb the sucker before he plays in a tournament of this much import. And the USGA doesn't give a darn that you and I think the Monday 18-holers are as anti-climactic as say Tiger Woods mano y mano against 45-year old Rocco Mediate for the National Championship.