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Everythings Bigger When Tigers in Texas

Tiger Woods is back and he brought the media circus with him.
Woods is making his first start since capturing his second Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament. It was his fourth consecutive major championship victory and his third straight overall win.
Add that to the fact that Tiger addicts havent had a fix in five weeks and you get Wednesdays scene in Irving, TX., site of the Verizon Byron Nelson Classic.
In a makeshift media center, which is an indoor tennis court at the Four Seasons Resort 51 weeks of the year, Tiger addressed a throng of scribes, talking heads and lensmen.
Under normal circumstances the interview room is adjacent to the media center, itself. Such is the case this week; however, with a standing room only audience, more grandiose accommodations were needed.
Over 600 credentials were handed out this week, which according to PGA Tour officials is three times the amount given out at most tour stops.
The scene was similar to that in 1997. The masses monitoring a microphone - and the man behind it. At that time, Woods was the hottest thing in golf, fresh off his victory at Augusta.
Four years later, little ' yet so very much ' has changed.
Woods is still the hottest thing in golf, but more so, hes scorching the world of sports and entertainment. Its something the 25-year-old has problems digesting.
Im too close to the situation, said Woods on the impact of winning four straight majors. Its hard to get a clear perspective on what actually happened.
But to get a complete understanding of it, I dont think it will happen for a while. I understand from a historical point of view from within our sport, but I wasnt around for a lot of those things that happened in other sports. Ive only been alive for 25 years.
In his four weeks away from the game, Tiger said he practiced little. While Jose Coceres, Hal Sutton, Scott Hoch and David Toms were winning events, Woods was recovering from the flu, teaching clinics, hosting his benefit concert in Las Vegas and modeling for a video game.
Tiger didnt arrive into the Dallas-Ft. Worth area until Tuesday. He played his first practice round on Wednesday, having attended the funeral of Mark OMearas mom, Nelda, the day before.
This is Tigers sixth Nelson start. He first played in 1993, when he shot 77-72 to miss the cut as an amateur. Woods next played in '97, which he won. Coincidentally, the victory came in his first start after winning the Masters for the first time.
The bond between Woods and Lord Byron dates back to 1990. Woods was a freshman in high school, performing a clinic at the Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles with Jack Nicklaus.
Nelson knew it as soon as he saw it. It was Tiger Woods. And It was going to change the sport.
I thought, This is a new game were about to see. Nelson said.
Nelson approached the 14-year-old prodigy, offered his praise and a bit of advice; something that Tiger has never forgotten.
He didnt have to do that, but he took the time out to do that, that was very special. That meant a lot to me, said Woods.
Eleven years later, Woods is well on his way to becoming the greatest the game - and perhaps all of sport - has ever known.
Coming off his Grand Slam, Tiger is ready to write a new chapter in his professional life - a new chapter, or perhaps just a continuation of another, in a boundless novel.
Im just five years into my career, noted Woods. In golfing terms, Im just getting started. Im still in my infancy stages.
I really dont look at it the fact that its an end, just because of the fact that I have so many years or possible years that I can play at a high level. When Im older and look back in hindsight, that may be the end or that may be the beginning.
But when Im right here in it right now, I just like where Im at right now.
Full field and tee times for the 2001 Verizon Byron Nelson Classic