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Victory over Woods was exaggerated




The loud noise and rumbling you might have heard and felt Sunday, which probably sent everybody scrambling at the Caltech Seismological Laboratory, came all the way from Montreal.

When Canadian Mike Weir birdied the final two holes at Royal Montreal to defeat Tiger Woods, 1-up, in the featured Presidents Cup singles match, an entire nation erupted in celebration.

"A huge day for Mike Weir and Canada!" NBC's Dan Hicks shouted into his microphone.

Eh?

And here I thought it was a huge day for the U.S., which won the Cup in a runaway over the Internationals, 19 1/2 points to 14 1/2.

Weir's victory might have been a crowd-pleasing consolation prize, and it made for riveting TV as he overcame a patented back-nine charge by Tiger Woods, but NBC brazenly exaggerated the importance of the marquee match.

Except for NBC analyst Johnny Miller, that is. After Weir's victory, he wryly noted it would still take a miracle for the Internationals to complete the comeback.

"The only chance now is if Moses takes over," Miller quipped.

Bad call:I've always admired Miller's refreshing and sometimes brutal honesty, but sometimes he needs to think before he speaks.

For example, he actually suggested Tiger Woods might not compete as hard against Weir because the U.S. was on its way to victory and Weir is revered in Canada.

"Part of him," Miller said, "a little tiny part of him, will probably say, 'Hey, who's it going to help here? Throw Mike Weir a bone. I'll just play nice and, you know, maybe let him ...' "

"I don't know if I agree with that," Hicks said, interrupting Miller.

Miller immediately backtracked, saying he hadn't finished his thought and dismissed his previous thought as a "1 out of 100" possibility.

"He (Tiger Woods) is probably wanting to go and do his 'Terminator' routine," Miller said.

In other words, never mind.

Good call:Miller made up for that ridiculous suggestion when Weir and Tiger Woods arrived at the 18th hole, a treacherous 466-yard par-4, with the match all square.

After Weir's tee shot hit dangerously close to the hazard and kicked into the middle of the fairway, Miller wondered whether Tiger Woods also could find the short grass.

"This is the tightest hole on the back nine, I think," Miller said. "Tiger's got to hit a good one. This is the first time Tiger has played this hole all week, guys. Bottom line is, I don't know if he can hit this fairway. I'm not sure about this.

"Obviously, he can, but it's a 50-50 proposition."

As if on cue, Tiger Woods pulled his tee shot into the water hazard and went on to make bogey, ultimately conceding Weir's birdie putt to close out the match.

Tap-ins:Woody "Aqua Man" Austin, a rookie in international team competition at age 43, kept his U.S. teammates loose and laughing, and his steely determination on the course likely did not go unnoticed by 2008 Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger.

Is there another player who could have bounced back from his embarrassing water-hazard mishap by making birdies on the final three holes to help the U.S. secure a half-point in Friday afternoon's four-ball matches?

• The four 40-something players on Jack Nicklaus' team — Austin, Scott Verplank, David Toms and Steve Stricker — combined for an impressive 12-3-4 record in Montreal.

•Verplank (4-0-0) and Toms (4-0-1) were the only players who didn't lose a match, and South Africans Rory Sabbatini (0-3-1) and Trevor Immelman (0-3-1) of the International team were the only players who went winless.

•Phil Mickelson, whose Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup struggles had been well-documented, played well all weekend, and his 2-1-2 record was highlighted by whipping Vijay Singh, 5-and-4, in Sunday's singles match.

It was Singh, you'll recall, who complained about Mickelson's spike marks in the 2005 Masters, resulting in a post-match argument in the locker room. So Mickelson wore soft spikes Sunday and danced to victory.

• •Absolutely brilliant headline in the Winnipeg Free Press on the day after the Presidents Cup: "Weir No. 1 ... we're No. 2."

Top this!The odds against two golfers in a foursome making a hole-in-one on the same hole are 17 million to 1, according to Sports Illustrated, which reported this week that Thomas Brady and Dennis Gerhart had consecutive aces on the 179-yard, par-3 seventh hole at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, N.J. on Sept. 19.

What are the odds of three consecutive aces on the same hole? A billion to one?

That almost happened in 1984 on the 175-yard, par-3 eighth hole at El Niguel Country Club in Laguna Niguel.

Pete Genovese, hitting first, found the cup with a 6-iron. When the celebration on the teebox ended, John Beetham stepped up and also knocked in a 6-iron, triggering another celebration.

Next up was major-league pitcher Don Sutton.

"He hit it right at the hole," Genovese recalled this week, "but it came up about 8 to 10 feet short. Of course, through the years, the story keeps changing. Last time I heard, Sutton's ball lipped out."

That was the first of three career aces for Genovese, all on the same hole.

"My first hole in one — and I got topped!" Genovese said, laughing. "Didn't even win the hole. It was like being in the 'Twilight Zone.' Two balls in the cup."

Pelican re-opens:The renovated Ocean South and Ocean North courses at Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Coast are scheduled to reopen for public play Friday, Nov. 2.

For tee times, call 877-735-4226. To reserve a time more than 14 days in advance, the greens fee is $255. Inside 14 days, it is $235.

Parting shot:From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, on "three tell-tale signs 'Caddyshack' star Bill Murray might have been a bit tipsy" when he recently was arrested for erratic driving of a golf cart through downtown Stockholm, Sweden:

"1. He said he was swerving to avoid all those gopher holes the blacktop; 2. He kept demanding to appear before Judge Smails; and 3. He wouldn't stop insisting his name was Carl Spackler."

 

Read more at www.ocregister.com

 

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