Tiger From Another Perspective

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If somebody said, You can step into the shoes of a PGA Tour player. So who do you want to be, Tiger Woods or John Rollins?
 
What would your answer be?
 
Mine is a no-brainer. Id rather be John Rollins.
 
I use Rollins in this example because hes fresh in our minds given the first round match we all saw at La Costa Resort and Spa. Rollins not only is a member of the worlds best tour, but as a Tour winner hes among the best players out there. And he does it all in relative peace.
 
Rollins isnt being bombarded each and every day by requests. He isnt under pressure to deliver a spectacular round, with cameras watching his every move. Last I knew Rollins is still striving toward the same goal as Woods. And last I checked Rollins has earned more than $3.5-million in the last two years. Not bad.
 
Dont get me wrong, everybody dreams of living with the view from the top for perhaps a day or two and I wouldnt mind having that chance. I have a whole lot of respect for Tiger and what he does, and how he handles most things.
 
That said, if you dont follow my line of thinking, this story Im about to tell just might give you some new perspective.
 
Jay Williamson is a 37 year-old PGA Tour professional who calls St. Louis, Missouri home. He had his best tour season last year by earning $627,132 and finishing 101st on the money list. He finished in the top 125 for the fourth consecutive year.
 
Williamson, JayYou want a telling stat about Jay? He finished fourth on Tour in 2003 in sand saves. Point being: Jay is good at dealing with the ups and the downs. And his career has mirrored that as well. Williamsons navigated three successful trips through the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, and spent 11 years on a pogo-stick between the Nationwide Tour and the PGA Tour striving to make both a living for his young family and a name for himself.
 
Before I continue, you need to know that Jay Williamson is a very good friend of mine.
 
Last weekend, Williamson spent Rd. 3 of the Nissan Open playing right along side Tiger Woods. And for good measure, he played Rd. 4 with Woods as well.
 
The thrill of a lifetime! said Williamson who had not yet had the honor of playing with Woods.
 
Williamson candidly admitted that when Friday night rolled around at Riviera and he found that his Saturday included a date with the most sought-after athlete on the planet, he was nervous. Both began the weekend at 4-under par.
 
Saturday, Woods shot 72. Saturday, Williamson shot 72. And thus another round was assured for Sunday. Woods did what was expected, shooting up the leaderboard with a 7-under par round of 64. Williamson shot 64 as well.
 
Perhaps the best round of my life, for a lot of reasons, Jay said. And let me tell you something, he treated me with the utmost respect from the moment we shook hands Saturday morning on the tee.
 
While some might think Woods is in his own world, with not a care about anything but the road to the next victory, Williamson tells a far different story.
 
He could have big-timed me if hed wanted to, but he made me feel important, Williamson said. And as my round of 64 was progressing on Sunday, Tiger was right there supporting meHe said things like great shot, great putt, and you ought to just carry a sign that says great shot and hold it up as you play!
 
Williamson is a realist. He takes none of his perks for granted. He is truly proud to play the Tour that Woods has made more popular than ever.
 
Obviously hes the number one player in the world, Jay said. But hes a class act, hes a great guy, and you know what, he does so many little things to respect the game and those who play it. People need to know that. Hes as good as advertised and then some.
 
Jay Williamson is a working mans professional. Hes never finished inside the Top 100 on the money list. And hell play 32 events each year if necessary to keep his place among the Tours fully exempt. He appreciates his challenge, grinds just as hard as any of the Tours elite, and has never once told me he deserves better than what hes achieved.
 
I looked at the PGA Tour media guide today. It says Williamsons career best round prior to this year was 64. Three times hed done it. Someday hell go lower, but something tells me itll never match the 64 he shot playing at the highest level with the Tours highest profile player.
 
And to hear Williamson tell it, the Tours greatest player is just that, for more reasons than just the number that precedes his name in the World Golf Ranking. Dont take it from me ' take it from Jay - Tiger critics should make a mental note of that one.
 
And keep an eye on Williamson. Because of a weekend with Woods, his career may be headed to heights he never dreamed hed reach.
 
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann