Tiger and MJ Thrill Fans Needle Each Other

By Associated PressMay 2, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Wachovia ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The gallery stood a dozen rows deep and spilled down both sides of the fairway, the kind of scene Tiger Woods is used to seeing on the weekend at a major championship. This was only a pro-am round Wednesday at the Wachovia Championship.
 
And for once, Woods felt part of the crowd.
 
Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods
Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods during their pro-am. (WireImage)
This is what happens when two of the most celebrated icons in sports are together on the golf course in a public event for the first time. Woods, owner of 12 majors, gladly shared the stage at Quail Hollow with Michael Jordan, owner of six NBA titles and five MVPs.
 
'This is great,' Woods said as he waited on the 10th tee. 'No one knows I'm here.'
 
That much was clear when he walked out of the clubhouse toward the practice range and some three dozen people didn't even realize he was there because their eyes trained on Jordan pulling his car up to the valet.
 
Jordan is part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, and although he doesn't spend much time in town, he wanted to play in the pro-am. Woods first played golf with Jordan in 1997 in Chicago. While they often get together on the golf course, his camp asked tournament officials if they could be paired on Wednesday.
 
'We know a few people,' Woods said with a laugh. 'No, the tournament was nice enough to put us together. He's been like my big brother, so it's been great to have him be part of my life. We had a great time today. We always have a great time.'
 
For a pro-am round, it did not lack for entertainment.
 
Woods and Jordan needle each other endlessly during their private rounds, and they brought the banter to Quail Hollow.
 
With a cigar in his mouth, Jordan made an 8-foot par putt on the seventh hole, then mimicked Woods as he walked off the green, delivering a fist-pump in slow motion and holding his pose until he was sure Woods was looking.
 
The showmanship picked up on the back nine.
 
Woods was waiting for the 11th fairway to clear when Jordan walked by and kicked his ball off the tee toward a young boy in the gallery. 'You can have it,' Jordan told the boy.
 
Woods re-teed, and at the top of his back swing, Jordan cleared his throat loud enough to make Woods stop. The world's No. 1 player set up over the ball again and hit a hard draw down the middle of the fairway, locking eyes with Jordan in a mock staredown. Jordan then ripped his driver down the fairway, and as he stooped to pick up his tee, looked back at Woods and returned the stare.
 
The chatter was endless, and as always, Jordan was doing most of the talking. He was asked after the round how many majors Woods might have won if he had to be paired with Jordan during the final round.
 
'Not as many,' Jordan said. 'I can get in his head.'
 
Woods doesn't argue.
 
'He wins all the time,' Woods said of the trash-talking battle. 'I'll just throw out a jab every now and then, but basically this is my home court, so it's a little easier for me. On his court, it would be a little different deal.'
 
Woods can pick his moments, though.
 
Jordan almost chipped into the water from right of the 17th green, but the ball stopped on the last patch of land. Woods scooped his ball up with the putter to flip it to Jordan. And, with Jordan holding out his hand, Woods flipped the ball backward and into the lake.
 
Filling out their threesome was Skipper Beck, who owns an import car dealership (he supplies the courtesy cars at the tournament) and is a minority investor of the Bobcats.
 
'I'm comfortable being around Michael,' he said. 'Throw Tiger in the mix, and I tightened up a little bit.'
 
What added the sizzle to the Tiger & Mike show was the amount of people watching, which was extraordinary for a pro-am round.
 
Every seat in the grandstand behind the practice range was taken at 7 a.m., and fans stood four-deep behind the ropes for a 75-yard stretch down the range, all of them straining to see Woods and Jordan hitting balls. Almost everyone had a camera, and an opinion.
 
'No cigar until you make par,' one man yelled out to Jordan, who lit up his first cigar on the second tee.
 
Even with so many people, it wasn't hard to distinguish between golf fans and sports fans. Jordan hit from the forward tees, and drew the largest bunch of people. The golf fans went all the way back at every tee to take pictures of Woods.
 
The two have made millions pitching Nike products (although Jordan had Ping clubs in his bag). They often talk about the similarities in their lives, whether it's coping with celebrity or how to gain a competitive edge.
 
'We talk about our respective sports -- which is harder, to win six championships or four Masters?' Jordan said. 'I think it's tougher for him. As an individual, you're playing against so many different opponents. In my game, if I have a bad day, I've got someone to cover for me. For the most part, he does it by himself.'
 
Woods has leaned on Jordan for advice since winning his first Masters at age 21 in 1997 and says he can 'cherry pick the knowledge he's accumulated over the years.'
 
'We're not the only ones,' he said. 'But because we're such great friends, I've been able to have a person I can talk to on all these subjects because he basically went through it before me. Next to Muhammad Ali, he's probably the most iconic figure athleticwise that America has ever had.'
 
And where does Woods fit in?
 
'I'm somewhere down the list,' he said.
 
Those conversations are for the grill room at private clubs, when they don't have an audience. This was mostly about golf, and the fans did not go home disappointed. It might be the biggest buzz all week at the Wachovia Championship.
 
So big, in fact, that also playing the pro-am Wednesday was Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning. Hardly anyone noticed.
 
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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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    After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

    With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

    While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

    Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

    Zach Johnson: 13/2

    Rory McIlroy: 7/1

    Jordan Spieth: 8/1

    Rickie Fowler: 9/1

    Kevin Kisner: 12/1

    Xander Schauffele: 16/1

    Tony Finau: 16/1

    Matt Kuchar: 18/1

    Pat Perez: 25/1

    Brooks Koepka: 25/1

    Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

    Alex Noren: 50/1

    Tiger Woods: 50/1

    Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

    Danny Willett: 60/1

    Francesco Molinari: 60/1