First he cards his first tournament over par in 11 years and now he’s making friends and winning people over in Ireland.
At least that’s what the reports about Tiger Woods’ play in a one-day exhibition in Ireland suggest:
While more than 40,000 Irish golf fans offered him a friendly and forgiving welcome, Woods’ opening round at the 7,453-yard, par-72 Adare Manor Golf Resort was often dreadful. He bogeyed six holes, double-bogeyed the seventh and managed a lone birdie on the 17th.
He followed that up by gamely trying to reach the green on the 18th — a five-par 548-yard hole on the far side of the River Maigue — in two. His risky second shot fell short into the riverside reeds for a final bogey, the third time he had found water in his round.
Woods seemed to take his lacklustre play in his stride, showing only mild frustration at off-target shots.
At the sixth tee, he stopped at a concession stand and munched on two bunless burgers. “Don’t you want any ketchup?” asked a fan nearby in a plastic lawn chair. “I’m good,” Woods replied, before asking his Irish caddie if he wanted a burger too. Fans then urged him to tee off with a sand wedge, an idea Woods declined with a laugh.
He ignored incessant pleas from fans to stop and sign their hats and programs, but was unable to avoid six-year-old Ava Mulhall.
The County Cork girl with a pink windbreaker and red ribbon in her hair darted under the security rope and onto the fairway, past a grasping steward, and stopped right in front of Woods. He signed her program — on which she’d already collected the signatures of nearly 20 other pros — but Ava said he didn’t say anything to her. His security detail was beefed up afterward.
At the final hole, a car parked beside the green whisked Woods away to a helicopter for his overnight stay at the Limerick mansion of the billionaire McManus, an Irish horse breeder, gambler and speculator extraordinaire.
Okay — his golf game is in disarray, so we didn’t expect him to be nice. But isn’t that what he said he was going to try to do when he gave that lousy speech earlier this year? Or maybe the Buddhist but was just for show:
Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don’t realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught.