And when Tiger Woods walked by, they never took their eyes off him.
Such moments still happen on the PGA TOUR, but not as frequently. Woods has been on tour for 10 years now, and his schedule rarely takes him to new markets except for the U.S. Open or PGA Championship.
And that's why it's a shame the World Golf Championships don't move around the world as they once did.
The American Express Championship used to alternate between the United States (San Francisco, Atlanta, St. Louis) and Europe (Spain, Ireland and England). The Accenture Match Play Championship tried Australia once, but it was too close to the holidays and all the stars stayed home. The Bridgestone Invitational has left Firestone only once, and that was in 2002 for the Seattle area.
For the next four years, all the 'World' Golf Championships will be held in America.
And it really gets strange next year when CA replaces American Express as a title sponsor and the WGC folds into an existing PGA Tour event at Doral. That means Woods essentially will be defending champion at two tournaments in one. This guy really is good.
The PGA TOUR cannot be faulted entirely. There is a business side to running these tournaments, and the tour largely foots the bill. Corporate sponsors who pony up some $12 million a year for a WGC event want the biggest effect, which means TV ratings, and those suffer when the broadcast is not in a prime window for sports.
'We're not entirely happy that all the events are being played in America,' European Tour chief George O'Grady said last week. 'But they are being played.'
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem relies on television when saying the WGC still has a global impact on growing the game. But it's a shame there can't be at least one played overseas every year, or every other year.
And it's not just Woods.
Stewart Cink made new fans the way he chatted away while signing autographs for the British youth. They called out to Vijay Singh as he walked across the practice green, although not enough to get him to stop.
Television has a broad reach, no doubt. But there is no substitution for the chance to see players in person.
K.J. Choi defends his title at Greensboro this week, and he wasn't the only winner last year.
Choi, who converted to Christianity while dating his wife, tries to go to church on Wednesday night while on the PGA TOUR, and he found a home in Greensboro at the Korean Presbyterian Church.
He also believes in giving back.
So imagine the surprise when the Rev. Jae H. Chung, the senior pastor at the church, got a letter in the mail two months after the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro and found a $90,000 check from Choi.
Choi earned $900,000 from his victory. The note on the check said 'Tithe for CCG.'
'Maybe God will see the blessing K.J. has given us and be with him again on Sunday,' Chung told the Greensboro News & Record. 'Wouldn't that be wonderful.'
NOT SO EASY
Ernie Els showed up at the American Express Championship with a new caddie, hoping to end a slump that has kept him winless on the PGA TOUR for two years. He wound up fifth, only his fifth top 10 of the season.
Els split from longtime caddie and friend, Ricci Roberts, and replaced him Malcolm Mason. The Big Easy described the split as he and Roberts taking a break. It was not clear how long he would use Mason, who used to caddie for Sam Torrance, although Els planned to use him again this week at the Dunhill Championship.
Els' next start on the PGA Tour is the Chrysler Championship in Tampa. He earned enough money at Amex to move up to 28th on the money list, meaning he most likely will have to play well in Tampa to get into the Tour Championship.
BACK TO SCHOOL
Anthony Kim dropped out of Oklahoma to turn pro, saying he never really liked college. Now, he has no choice but to go back to the worst kind of school.
Even though he has earned nearly $340,000 in his first two PGA TOUR events, Kim did not receive sponsor's exemptions to either Greensboro or Las Vegas, and Disney is looking doubtful. The last chance would be Tampa, but that's the first stage of Q-school.
Kim tied for second in the Texas Open to earn a spot in the field last week at the Southern Farm Bureau Classic, and he was one shot out of the lead early in the final round until finishing in a tie for 16th.
Louise Suggs has been selected for the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor by the U.S. Golf Association that recognizes distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
'It's an incredible honor to win this award named for Bob Jones,' said Suggs, 83, who played with Jones on several occasions. 'Being a native Atlantan I admired and respected him immensely, and I even patterned my own game after him. To be honored with this award is the ultimate accolade I could possibly receive.'
She will receive the award Feb. 3 in San Francisco at the USGA's annual meeting.
Tiger Woods twice has made three straight eagles on the same hole -- the first three rounds of the American Express Championship last week (No. 18), and the NEC Invitational in 2000 (No. 2). ... Freddie Burns was back at work last week in England. The longtime caddie and sidekick of Hal Sutton is working for Tom Pernice Jr. the last month of the year, while Pernice's caddie is on the bag of Vijay Singh. ... Professional golf will return to En-Joie Golf Course next year as the Champions Tour. The B.C. Open had been played at course in Endicott, N.Y., until it was bumped off the PGA Tour schedule. The Champions Tour event purse will be $1.6 million. ... Jay Haas, Tom Kite and Craig Stadler will represent the Champions Tour team in the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge.
STAT OF THE WEEK
For those who think the Europeans only make putts during the Ryder Cup, consider the following week at the American Express Championship. The 11 players from Europe's team accounted for 176 birdies and eagles, while the 10 U.S. Ryder Cup players had 150 subpar holes.
'I don't know if I was named captain tomorrow what I would differently.' -- David Toms, on the Americans getting blown out in the Ryder Cup for the second straight time.