Oh, what a difference eight or nine days make! — on Monday and Tuesday morning Tiger Woods arrived at Lake Nona (via car, not helicopter a la Isleworth and Queenswood) for the lavish exhibition matches, and walked the golf course without a hint of a limp or incident. Phew. Tiger, who represented Albany, had one of those nothing-to-call-home-over days and shot even-par in Day 2 of the Tavistock Cup. Ho-hum.
Monday morning was a little more exciting, according to GolfChannel.com’s Jason Sobel:
Serving as first tee announcer at the Tavistock Cup on Monday, Feherty introduced Woods by applying this needle: “Many of us arrived here in a helicopter. He came in an ambulance.” After Woods drilled his opening tee shot down the fairway, Feherty quipped: “Well, nothing fell off him.”
On Tuesday Tiger posted two birdies on the front nine and two bogeys on the back in his first stroke-play round since the drama that went down at Doral.
Two Sundays ago, Woods withdrew from the WGC-Cadillac Championship due to a strained left Achilles tendon that he re-injured while warming up for the final round at Doral. After piping his tee shot on the 12th hole, he was in too much pain and forced to stop playing. He was carted off the golf course to the players parking lot, where he got into his black Mercedes, and told PGA Tour officials, “Tell them left leg injury,” before speeding away (where he was tracked O.J. Simpson-style by the MetLife blimp).
A little over an hour later, Tiger’s people issued a statement that said the 14-time major champ had a strained Achilles and didn’t want to risk hurting himself further as he’d done in the past.
Despite his ho-hum play, Tiger was in good spirits. Intern Kevin was on the scene at Lake Nona and overheard an interesting conversation between Sean O’Hair and Tiger on the ninth hole, where O’Hair blew his drive 30 yards past Tiger’s.
Tiger complimented O’Hair on how well he was swinging and talking about how much room he was giving himself. O’Hair agreed. Then Tiger said, “It’s so much nicer than being jammed up, isn’t it?” O’Hair agreed again. With a huge (and genuine) grin, Tiger said, “It feels good” — as in he could relate.
Well, that’s good news. Who won the silly Tavistock Cup and the ridiculous amount of money, anyway? Who cares! Okay, fine. It’s worth the mention — Lake Nona’s team — which boasted Ben Curtis, Ross Fisher, Retief Goosen, Peter Hanson, Graeme McDowell and Gary Woodland — won the exhibition that boasts a $2.15 million purse, with a 41-under par total score, two strokes ahead of Isleworth at 39-under. Queenwood took third on 31-under and 2011 champion Albany finished last on 26-under.
The winning team collected $800,000, with each player taking home roughly $133,000. Not too shabby.
Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Robert Allenby, Ross Fisher and Thomas Bjorn all shot five-under 67 for a share of medalist honors.
Tiger is scheduled to play at 7:30am in the pro-am for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill on Wednesday. If he makes the cut, he’ll have played seven straight days of golf in his final start before the Masters.
(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)