SAN FRANCISCO – The American caddies endeared themselves to the gallery at Harding Park on the final day of practice by wearing San Francisco Giants jerseys with their players’ name stitched on the back.
Fittingly, the caddie for Tiger Woods wore No. 24.
Not surprisingly, Steve Williams had never even heard of a guy named Willie Mays.
“I told you I don’t know him,” Williams said. “Your job is to tell me who he is.”
Williams made no apologies for not being aware of one of baseball’s greatest players.
“That’s probably the one sport I have never followed,” he said. “I don’t watch ESPN, and I don’t know anything about baseball.”
The idea came from John Wood, the caddie for Hunter Mahan who grew up in Sacramento and is a huge Giants fan. Since he couldn’t get them playoff tickets this week, he arranged for the jerseys.
The jerseys will be auctioned off for charity.
Steve Stricker’s caddie wore No. 25 – Barry Bonds – which was a peculiar choice since most didn’t see any similarities between baseball’s all-time home run leader and Stricker, whose game is built around the shortest club in the bag. And it most likely had nothing to do with their personalities.
Even more peculiar was Justin Leonard’s caddie wearing No. 44 – slugger Willie McCovey.
Phil Mickelson’s man went with No. 51 – Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. Lest anyone forget, Mickelson tried out for a Triple A baseball team as a pitcher in 2003.
“Mickelson thinks he can pitch, but that’s not the case,” Mahan said with a laugh. “They’re both lefties (Mickelson actually throws right), but Phil thinks he can do everything. He can’t pitch for nothing.”
Wood, meanwhile, took No. 22. The caddie has always been a Will Clark fan, and one of the highlights as a caddie came in 2006, when Clark played in the pro-am at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans and Wood caddied for him.
Well, he was supposed to caddie for him. Just his luck, the pro-am was rained out.
O’HAIR’S SHRINKING WALLET: Sean O’Hair apparently didn’t learn his lesson.
He warmed up for the Tour Championship by playing six days with his buddies in Philadelphia, conceding that he lost a lot of money by giving too many strokes to one of the better players.
O’Hair played against Michael Jordan on Monday with a similar result.
“I’ve lost a lot of money to him,” O’Hair said. “I’m probably the only player in the history of golf that it has actually cost money to play in this event.”
O’Hair gave him 12 shots because Jordan claims an 8 handicap, “which was the biggest crock I’ve ever heard in my entire life.”
“He won the bets on the first hole, let’s just put it that way,” O’Hair said. “He’s a good player, though.”
O’Hair considers it money well-spent, considering it meant time spending time with Jordan. The basketball great talked to O’Hair about believing in himself, and carried that into Tuesday’s formal practice round when they bet on various putts O’Hair had to make.
He lost most of those bets, too.
“I would take him over any psychologist,” O’Hair said. “It’s been a lot of fun. To me, it’s worth the money. It’s a memory that I’ll have for the rest of my life, and I’ll be telling my grandkids about it. It’s been a lot of fun the last couple of days.”
BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY: Adam Scott might have been the biggest surprise among captain’s pick as the Australian endures the worst slump of his career, so bad that he didn’t make past the first round of the PGA Tour Playoffs.
If nothing else, he comes to the Presidents Cup prepared.
“I’ve been working my (tail) off for three weeks trying to get my game as good as I possibly can,” Scott said. “And it was solid last week. I wish it was 100 percent this week, but it was really something good to come into here with some solid stuff and not erratic golf like I have been playing.”
Scott played at Turning Stone last week and tied for 35th at 8-under 280. It was his best result on the PGA Tour since a tie for 33rd in the Accenture Match Play Championship – that’s a first-round exit – and the best in stroke play since he was a runner-up at the Sony Open in January. Scott also tied for fourth in the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond this summer.
There was some thinking that Scott being picked would motivate him. He dismissed that quickly.
“I didn’t need a kick in the pants to work hard,” he said. “I’ve never worked harder in my life than this year. But certainly, it gave me a big confidence boost just to get on the team.”
NO AMY: The American wives sat together during the opening ceremony, minus a familiar face.
Amy Mickelson was not at Harding Park as she recovers from breast cancer. It will be the first Presidents Cup she has missed.
Asked if he would appear this week, Mickelson said, “It’s possible, but unlikely.”
LONG TRIP: Ernie Els wins the award for longest trip to Harding Park.
True, Ryo Ishikawa came over from Japan. Els took an even longer route by going from Atlanta (Tour Championship) to Scotland for the Dunhill Championship last week, a tournament that ended on Monday because it was delayed by high wind. Els left Scotland on Monday for Florida to pick up his wife, Liezl, and made it to San Francisco in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.
Els abandoned his foursomes practice round with Adam Scott on the 14th hole.
“Yesterday I was fine,” he said. “Today … we played alternate shot, so it wasn’t too much work for me. I feel a bit down today, a little tired. But I slept a lot. I mean, it was about a 12 1/2 -hour flight. Slept most of the way.”
DIVOTS: Robert Allenby and Vijay Singh have combined to play in 43 team matches at the Presidents Cup. This will be the first time they have played together. … Among those following Tiger Woods’ group during the practice round were the parents of Michelle Wie, who now live in Los Altos as their daughter goes to Stanford. Wie is in Copenhagen until Saturday helping with golf’s bid to get in the Olympics. … Steve Stricker will be Woods’ eighth partner in the Presidents Cup. That list includes John Huston.