With the match all square on the final tee, Woods's drive faded right, while James's blazed down the center of the fairway. Tiger attempted not to scowl. Too late. Fun time was clearly over. Using his driver, Tiger then missed a match-winning putt. Another scowl. The match went to a closest-to-the-pin chip-off, and Tiger lost to James. A final scowl.
Tiger was corralled for a quick photo op with the children before bolting to the clubhouse, leaving his conquerors to face the media. Refusing to gloat, they instead were in agreement as to the day's real winners. "When it comes to helping kids," said Reece, "how can you not?" Agreed James, "It's all for the kids."
Reece was later asked about Tiger's laser-sharp focus during the match. "Well, I came out at 7 a.m. to hit balls, and there was only one person already here," she said. "It's impossible for him to shift down a gear. For him, it wasn't a ha-ha thing out there at all."
BACK AT the hotel 90 minutes later it was time for the Jam's outreach portion: Start Something Kids' Day, during which the children divided into groups and moved among five Dream Booths, where wisdom was offered by inspirational role models: a chef, a Las Vegas SWAT team member, Miss Teen USA, some Cirque du Soleil performers and Earl Woods.
Daly introduced Tiger, whose five-minute talk touched on needing to love yourself before you can love others, and how much fun it is to walk off the course having won a tournament "because that's what competition is all about-beating your opponents," he said. "There's only one winner." Asked how long he has played golf, Tiger replied, "Since I came out of my mom." He then spoke of the wonderful support system he enjoyed as a child, having role models such as his mother, Kultida, and Earl. Sitting behind the children, Earl took a final, fitful drag on his cigarette and doused it in his coffee cup. Tiger left soon afterward.
No matter, for it was booth-visit time. One Cirque du Soleil performer wielded his outsized codpiece like an �p�e, while SWAT team member Mark Fowler opened with tales of the gunshot wound that claimed his left femur (it's been replaced by a titanium rod) before moving on to the intricacies of body armor and high-powered weaponry. Then there was celebrity chef Ming Tsai. When 15-year-old Mickey Phillips returned to Tsai's Asian burrito stand (where three other young Start Somedring girls stood cutting vegetables) in search of her misplaced camera, she found a similar one and hoped aloud it was hers. "If there are naked pictures of Tiger's father on the roll," Tsai said, "it's not yours." Chirping crickets could be heard over the sound of wok-frying chicken.
At his mini-golf booth Earl Woods, leaning heavily on a putter, proved the most sincere of the bunch. With gravity he spoke about self-discipline (as when a teenage Tiger cut his own curfew by an hour) and self-reflection because "that's the way the universe operates," he said, "from truth."
Near the session's end he was interrupted by an aggressive p.r. rep for Target, one of the event's sponsors, who asked that Earl give the kids some putting tips, to be filmed by her camera crew. "But this ain't about golf," Earl replied.
"Oh, come on, it's all set up," she demanded through a tight smile. "Right, kids? Now who wants to putt? Come on! Who wants to?"
The klieg light glared. With a sigh Earl turned and drained a six-footer. Everyone clapped.