Jim Mackay did a good job, but my head wasn't really in it that week. I shot 73--74 and missed the cut. First day I shot 30 on the front nine with a lost ball, then 43 on the back. Second day I shot 31--43. I got on a plane that Friday night and flew to Molokai in Hawaii for a one-week vacation with Ken Green and his sister, Shelley. Back then we were like the three amigos. Later Shelley married Slugger White, a rules official. Now they're grandparents. Time flies.
Look where those 25 years have taken Bones. Kenny, too, for that matter. One thing for sure is that life will throw you surprises. I'm hopeful that Kenny, on his prosthetic leg, and I will play in the Legends of Golf event in Savannah in April.
The Tour caddie has become a way bigger deal over the course of my career, way more involved with the player. Brenda caddies for me most weeks. It's great to have her out there even if she's still learning the whole through-line thing.
I was paired with Tiger the first week Steve Williams was on his bag, at Bay Hill in 1999. Stevie was way overcaddying. Every shot it was, "Good swing, mate!" Or, "Right club, that, mate!" You know the accent. I thought it wouldn't last a week, but it's turned out to be a great thing for both of them. Of course Tiger could have won with the transportation lady carrying his bag. But he won more because he had Steve Williams.
I've played a lot with Tiger, in tournaments, in practice rounds, in the Ryder Cup. We go to these dinners for British Open winners when the Open is at St. Andrews. We're friendly. He'll talk about sports, tell you a dirty joke, but he's careful about what he says, even with guys he has known for years.
At those Open dinners, it looks as if he always has one eye on his watch. Maybe I was the same way. If I have one regret from my playing career, it is that I really didn't stop to smell the roses. I'd grumble about U.S. Open rough or the pin placements at Augusta instead of being grateful that I was even in a U.S. Open or a Masters. Tiger doesn't have the luxury of stopping to smell anything because people will just bombard him.
In 2000, when the Open was at St. Andrews, he and I stayed at the Old Course Hotel, by the 17th tee. We played two practice rounds together, starting at 6 a.m. in the middle of the second fairway, 200 yards from the hotel's back door. Giving him pars on 1, he played those two rounds in 17 under. I never saw better golf or a better swing. Not too many people saw that golf, but I'm glad I did. The tournament was over before it started.
I still don't know why I didn't go to the local bookmaker and put down a few quid.
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