When he flung the blade under the ball, and it popped into the air, and rolled gently down the green and into the cup on the llth hole Sunday afternoon, you knew the 2009 Jack Nicklaus Memorial was over. Tiger Woods had found the way again. Look out, world! Here he comes!
How is it that the cup always seems to get in front of the ball that Tiger strikes? That was an impossible shot, just to get close was impossible, much less in the cup. The ball was imbedded in gnarly grass, the route was downhill, and with a mis-hit, it might have landed in the lake below. Just to add mustard to the end of his feast, there was the second shot to the green on the 18th hole. The look on his face said he was worried. Then the ball came to rest about a foot before the cup, and the knuckleheads around the green at Memorial flew into a delirium. If I ever had any question about the quality of Tiger Woods’ golf game, it came to a stunned conclusion at Nicklaus’ Muirfield.
Woods had won Arnold Palmer’s tournament. Now he’d won Nicklaus’. That’s two down payments on Bethpage Black, where the U.S. Open comes up next week. Is there nobody out there who can throw down a worthy gauntlet?
You wouldn’t have known it, but he was playing with an assigned partner. Michael Letzig, and you had to feel sorry for him. He was never shown on TV until he had to hole out on the 18th green, while Tiger stood by. Michael couldn’t have made that putt if the hole had been big as a washtub. They were paired because they made matching scores after the third round. Michael Letzig, off a farm in western Kansas. You had to feel sorry for him. But at least he got to shake Tiger’s very own hand at the end. And Jack’s.
Should they even bother to play the Open now? Wrap the trophy and Fed-Ex it—(oooh, how’s about that?) to Tiger at his estate in Florida. He won it on one leg at Torrey Pines. Make him do it on one leg at Bethpage, an outdoor Shawshank for every body else.