The day Tiger Woods ditched Jack Nicklaus for a high school golf match
The day before Tiger Woods lost the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge to Zach Johnson in a playoff, the world No. 1 sat down with the boys in the NBC booth for a wide-ranging interview that played out like ‘This is Your Life.’
When Tiger Woods, fresh from an even-par 72 on Saturday at his Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, put on the headset for a post-round chat with NBC broadcasters Roger Maltbie and Terry Gannon, he may not have expected a rewind of This is Your Life.
Woods seemed surprised when Maltbie, in the interview that aired during Sunday’s finale and recalling for viewers of a certain vintage the old NBC documentary show, asked the world No. 1 if he remembered "this day."
"Yeah, you love that ‘fro?" today’s follically challenged Woods said with a laugh as he watched his younger self take a healthy cut at a golf ball with a rather familiar swing.
Maltbie hoped to entice Woods into talking about the "fundamentally" similar motion he used back in the day, but Tiger was focused on the mop atop his 15-year-old head.
"The ‘fro and the part," he said about the hairdo that was in vogue a couple decades ago. "That was good."
‘I’m really not that famous yet,’ a 15-year-old Tiger Woods, with a golf cap jammed atop a full head of hair, tells a local newscaster in 1991 (Video: YouTube)
Woods then revealed that, even as a young teen, his schedule was such a bear he had to step away from the Golden Bear and the charity tourney Nicklaus was attending to jet to his next gig.
"I had to actually leave early. They wanted me to play in the 'Friends of Golf' event ... but I had to get back to school because we had a high school match that afternoon," Woods said. "So I booked it back down and made it for my high school match."
Woods, who’s learning the ins and outs of social media from girlfriend Lindsey Vonn, also suggested he may be getting the hang of the whole tweeting thing. Reiterating that he looked forward to next year’s majors on tracks where he’s had past success, he said the outlook was positive for him at Pinehurst No. 2, site of the 2014 U.S. Open, where he finished T3 in the 1999 national championship and second in 2005.
"I’m excited about how my game has progressed," said Woods, who won five PGA Tour contests in 2013 but went major-less for the fifth straight season.
"Obviously the venues really suit me, winning [on] three of the four [Augusta, Valhalla, Royal Liverpool] and I’m ‘trending’ at Pinehurst," he added, employing a Twitter buzz word, much to the great delight of his hosts in the booth, who shared guffaws with their guest.
Speaking of Vonn, Woods refused to let Maltbie bait him into reviewing the skiing technique of his 2010 Olympic downhill gold-medalist girlfriend the way pundits continually analyze his golf swing.
"Oh, hell no," Woods said as NBC aired video of Vonn racing in Canada after coming back from last month's injury to her reconstructed right knee. "I’m not going there."
Woods was pleased to see Vonn back in racing form after she ripped ligaments and broke a bone in her knee last February and is on the mend from her recent setback. The Southern California native, who lost last week’s contest to Zach Johnson in unseasonably nippy conditions at Sherwood Country Club on home turf in Thousand Oaks, may have offered a hint about whether he'll watch Vonn compete live in the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi.
"It was below minus 40 [at the World Cup race in Lake Louise, Alberta] and it’s supposed to be a high of minus 30 up there so, um, no thanks," said Woods, who was bundled up in a mock turtleneck and sweater and gulped coffee during his on-air stint. "We thought it was cold here."
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