Scott Verplank sat down beside Woody Austin, gave him a sniff and made a sour face before beaming a grin. If there is ever a highlight reel made of Austins career, there will be a few that are suitable for Americas Funniest Home Videos.
The No. 1 humorous choice will be his suddenly infamous dive into the water on the 14th fairway during Presidents Cup four-ball play on Friday.
I dont think I look any worse than I always do. Scotty says I smell different, but I think I look just as ugly as I always do, said Austin, who played with David Toms to halve their match against Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini.
The whole idea of the shot was just to try and get it to the bank because I felt like, from the bank, I could make three. I knew, deep down, I probably couldnt pull the shot off. I was doing okay until I stepped on the rock. I lost my balance and your lakes arent very clean.
Long after the smell washes off, the memory of his impromptu dive will linger, according to those who witnessed it. I have the feeling that he will be hearing about that for the rest of his life, said his team captain Jack Nicklaus.
Hell be kidded about it, have fun with it and hell laugh about it for the rest of his life. They showed Jim Furyk right after that and he couldnt contain himself, added Nicklaus. He says, I was 30 yards away. I didnt know what to do. I was trying not to laugh, but I couldnt help it.
That was a common reaction around the golf course, according to International captain Gary Player. Obviously, Im on the opposing side. Im dying to laugh, but Im scared the cameras will be on me, so I didnt know what to do. I sort of turned my back, but I was really laughing because Woody is such a great sport.
I thought, damn it, that water must be cold, but I was pleased to see his head come up, added Player, who couldnt resist an old golf joke that suited the occasion.
Its like the guy who said to his caddie, If I dont play well today, Ill drown myself. He says, I dont know if you can keep your head down that long.
Austin has said all along that he wants to make an impact in his first Presidents Cup and he certainly did that on Friday, but Nicklaus says its for more than his slimy dip in the lake.
Hes actually been terrific in both matches. Woody is a character, as you know, but hes just a great competitor. It just kills him to not play well, or not hit the right shot, or not do the right thing. He is pure grit coming down the stretch. Hes been great.
Here is a guy thats 43 years old, first time hes ever made an international team. This is the first time and he just says he wants to make the most of it. I give him a lot of credit.
That character that Nicklaus speaks of wont change with the infamous swim. I can only tell you how much the competitive fire burns in me. It didnt douse it. I was still fired up and ready to go, said Austin.
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Editor's Note: Ian Hutchinson is golf columnist for the Toronto Sun and senior writer for Pro Shop Magazine, a Canadian golf trade publication, and Canadian Golfer Magazine. He is also a frequent contributor to Golf Scene and Golf Canada Magazine, the official magazine of the Royal Canadian Golf Association.