|Tiger Woods, R.N.|
|Tiger Woods, F.U.|
Hey, Did I Mention "The Bear Trap"?
Shortly after Tiger eagled 18 to move into second place at 10 under, Jack Nicklaus graced the announcing booth to regale us with his rapier wit and sunny disposition. (For the record, the FGR admired Nicklaus the golfer and, out of respect, we'll leave it at that). At the time, McIlroy had a two shot lead on Tiger and was standing on the tee of the par 3 15th hole which is the first of a difficult three hole stretch known as "The Bear Trap."* It's named after Nicklaus (a/k/a "The Golden Bear") who designed the holes and then apparently had the following conversation with the owners of the course:
|Let me guess. The|
bear's name is "Jack."
Nicklaus: "Hey fellas, wouldn't it be clever to call these three holes 'The Bear Trap'?"
Owner 1: "Well Jack we hadn't really planned on naming the holes . . ."
Nicklaus: "Look, I went ahead and had this really neat sign made."
Owner 1: "OK Jack I guess we could have a small sign over . . ."
Nicklaus: "And if you think that's great, check-out this giant statue of a bear standing on its hind legs that we could put next to it."
Owner 1: "You've got to be kidd . . ."
Owner 2: "Jack, what my partner wants to say is that you've got to be kidding me that we didn't come up with that great idea first. And here we thought naming every item on the menu after one of your 18 majors was brilliant. What will you think of next?"
What Nicklaus was implying was that he had designed three holes that are so hard that even he, the best player of all-time, wouldn't be able to hold a two shot lead while playing them. You have to admire the relentlessness of the man's arrogance. At 72, he can't beat the best players in the world with his game so now he has to rely on his golf courses to do it and damn if he was going to concede that some punk Irish kid with one measly major under his belt was going to weather "The Bear Trap" and bring home the prestigious Honda Classic trophy. (I bet that is one reliable and affordably built trophy. Unfortunately, no one made an ace on the 15th hole to win the minivan. I think Rickie Fowler and Kyle Stanley intentionally hit it into the water just to make sure they didn't have to be photographed while sitting in it).
Oh Danny Boy
The start of the Florida swing on tour also means the return of Dan "The Man" Hicks (there is no way people don't call him "Dan the Man" or at least "Action Dan"). I'm pretty sure Hicks was hired straight out of game show host school to counter-balance the caustic Johnny Miller and their relationship actually works because Hicks is always upbeat and enthusiastic so the audience never gets too beaten down by the fact that, even when Miller is being complimentary, he's negative. (Their relationship would be exactly like my marriage to the FGW if Hicks periodically leaned over and told Miller, "ok, now you're just being an asshole and you need to stop talking").
|"Johnny, I'm starting to feel like I|
did when we used to climb the
rope in gym class. You?"
|We're already fans|
of the McIlroy era.
* To hear the announcers describe it, you would have thought that there were literally hundreds of bear traps hidden all over the 15th, 16th and 17th holes. Fortunately, no one was maimed . . . this year.
** Roger Maltbie is a former player who made no bones about how he liked to spend his time away from the course as evidenced by his staff bag with "Michelob" written in giant letters down both sides. He infamously once said that he divided his drinking into "Michelob when the sun is up and Scotch when the sun goes down" and when asked his favorite hole he responded, "the one in the top of the can." He now works as an announcer for NBC, usually walking with one of the lead groups and providing some of the best commentary in the game while crushing more cigarettes than the sonar operator on a Russian submarine.