Lots of Blazers are getting jolly excited at Hazeltine with the announcement that golf has been recommended to rejoin the Olympics in 2016, after a break of 112 years since its last appearance in Paris in 1904. The Games will have to change their slogan: Faster, higher, further – slower.
But will Tiger Woods play? “If I’m not retired by then, yeah,” he said smiling. His playing partner today, Padraig Harrington, was also keen to get his hands on an Olympic gold medal. “It would be right up there with the majors,” Harrington said. “I would love to be an Olympian. Doesn’t that sound good?
Out on the course, the pairing of Harrington and Woods (oh, and Rich Beem) was the Gold Medal Stellar Show for Day 1. It was already 70F at 8am as fans were crammed five-deep outside the ropes all along the first fairway waiting for them to tee off at 8.35. Doesn’t anybody work in Chaska, Minnesota?
I’m beginning to see Olympic themes at every corner today. It’s Five Rings Fever, apparently. On the 11th hole, there was very nearly a bout of Greco-Romano wrestling on the green. Alvaro Quiros’ second shot to the par 5 came plopping onto the green just as Padraig, Tiger and, oh yeah, Beem, were putting.
Padraig sent Quiros a Death Stare back down the fairway. Luckily for Quiros, Tiger and, oh yeah, Beem, just laughed. Quiros is a tall athletic lad, but he would have been no match for Tiger’s biceps in a grapple. The Spaniard ran over to apologise. Phew, fisticuffs averted.
If juggling gets into the Olympics, that would be another gold medal event for Tiger and the USA. Waiting to tee off at the par three 13th, he was tossing his ball into the air, bouncing it off the biceps of his right arm and catching the ball again. Just the sort of thing we all do – without the biceps, obviously. And we’d drop the ball and have to retrieve it from down the side of the tee.
Special policemen are following the group. They have the letters ATF on their caps. What does it stand for? Aggressive, Tough, Fighters? Annihilate The Foreigners? Nope. “We’re the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms,” growled one. Their Christmas parties must be legendary.