OBVIOUSLY, NO ONE CAN COMPETE WITH TIGER

“GOOD MORNING, America, and welcome to our coverage of the British Open from St. Andrews. Let’s get right to the important stuff, shall we? Jim, what did Tiger Woods have for breakfast?”

“Frank, I’m outside Ye Old Scottish Pancake House, where I’m told that Tiger ate six pancakes with — and I’m getting a rough estimate here — four ounces of maple syrup. He also had some coffee.”

“Coffee? Wow! That shows you what kind of competitor he is! Let’s get a status report on Tiger’s arrival. Sam, whatdya got?’

“Well, Frank, Tiger Woods’ car has entered the St. Andrews grounds, and I’m told that he’s …on time!”

“On time? Wow! That shows you what kind of competitor he is! Before we go to our up-close-and-personal-interview with Tiger’s massage therapist, let’s go to Suzy, our fashion correspondent. Suzy?”

“Frank, sources tell me that Tiger Woods will be going with a blue ensemble today, somewhere between navy and teal.”

“Navy and teal? Very bold. That shows you what kind of competitor he is! As you know, folks, ESPN will bring you every hole and every shot of Tiger Woods’ historic attempt to capture his first British Open. We’ll also go to our
‘Nose-cam’ for any special facial moves Tiger may make. And our ‘Shoe-cam’ will capture every step of Tiger’s walk.

“In the meantime, I suppose we should show you some of the other golfers. Greg, you’re out there on the course. How is the rest of the field doing?”

“Uh …Jim?”

“Yes, Greg?”

“No one else has shown up.”

One shoe at a time

“Heh-heh. That’s a good one, Greg.”

“No, I’m serious, Jim. None of the other golfers came. Just Tiger Woods.”

“Well, now, how extraordinary. I guess we should get to the bottom of this. Let’s go to Ben, who is just outside the locker room. Ben, how’s Tiger’s shoelace-tying going?”

“Right on schedule, Jim. Did the right foot, now he’s on the left foot. And I believe …yes, he’s using double knots!”

“Double knots? Wow! That shows you what kind of competitor he is! Now, back to this issue of the other golfers…. Just a moment …I’m told …yes, we have a phone connection to golfer Ernie Els, reached moments ago in his hotel room.”

“…mphhzzty …ello?”

“Arnie, this is Jim at ESPN.”

“It’s Ernie …(yawn).”

“Right. So, Bernie, why aren’t you here at the British Open?”

“It’s …(yawn) …Ernie. And what’s the point?”

“Don’t you want to compete?”

“Nah …just give it to Tiger …that’s what you guys want, isn’t it?
…(yawn) …I’ll see y’all at the Weed Eater/Nabisco/Prudential/Frito-Lay Open. I think Tiger’s skipping that one.”

“Well, this is unexpected news. We’re so sorry you won’t be competing in the British Open.”

“Uh-huh.”

“One last thing, Hermie.”

“Ernie.”

“Right. How do you like Tiger’s chances?”

(Click.)

One shot at a time

“Hmm. An unusual development. Meanwhile, let’s go to Tiger’s first hole. His historic quest is about to begin. Trevor?”

“Jim, Tiger Woods is about to tee off…. Yes, I believe he has teed off! A marvelous tee-off! Smashing!”

“It sure was. Let’s watch the replay. Oooh …ahhhh…. Let’s watch it again…. By the way, Trevor, have you seen any other golfers out there?”

“No, Jim. Am I supposed to?”

“Er …never mind. Now let’s follow Tiger’s progress on the Shoe-cam. There
…you see him walking …one foot in front of the other …calm as can be
…amazing …

“Wait a moment. I’m told we have the legendary Jack Nicklaus, here to play his final British Open. Bonnie is at the clubhouse now. Bonnie?”

“Thanks, Jim. Actually, Jack isn’t here. But we did receive this note from him. It reads. ‘To all my fans. It’s become apparent that the interest in my story just isn’t there. I realized this when I showed up an hour ago and everyone was at the Pancake House. Thanks for the memories. (Signed) Jack.’

“Wow. That’s so sad, Jim.”

“I know. Not a word about Tiger’s putting.”

“Exactly.”

“Well. Let’s check on Tiger’s progress. Luke, how’s he doing?”

“Walking to his second shot, Jim.”

“Say, Luke, are you seeing any other golfers out there?”

“No, Jim. The word is the other golfers feel we’ve all but handed this tournament to Tiger before it started, so why bother playing? Most of them took the week off.”

“Hmm. No David Duval? No Colin Montgomerie? No Sergio Garcia?”

“Afraid not.”

“Seems a shame, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah.”

“Yeah.”

“Oh, well. Have you heard Tiger say anything interesting to his caddie?”

“Actually, I heard him say, ‘Where is everybody?’ “

“WOW! That’s an EXCLUSIVE, folks! And it goes to show you what kind of competitor Tiger Woods really is! . . .”

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com. Catch “Albom in the Afternoon” 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760).

OPEN SEASON

British Open: Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland; 8 a.m.-2 p.m., highlights 7-10 p.m. today on ESPN; Tiger Woods tees off at 4:30 a.m.

U.S. Women’s Open: Merit Club, Libertyville, Ill.; 2-6 p.m. today on ESPN.

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