September 6, 2009

Dan Shauighnessy said that, “Tiger is just like you and me. He occasionally throws a club when he hits a bad shot and he uses a port-o-potty when there is no other option.
That’s right, ladies and gents, Eldrick T. Woods is one of us. If not for the 14 victories in majors, the hundreds of millions of dollars in winnings and
endorsements, and his standing as the most famous athlete on the planet, Tiger would be just another guy hacking his way around TPC Boston in this weekend’s Deutsche Bank Championship. He shot a 1-under 70 yesterday and is seven strokes off the lead.
But you’re still wondering about the trip to the port-o-potty, right?
It’s true.
I saw it with my own eyes.
Tiger had just hit his tee shot on the par-4 ninth, his final hole. While Steve Stricker and Heath Slocum prepared to hit their drives, Tiger walked to his left toward one of those smelly-but-necessary units that are part of outdoor events around the world. A police officer stood guard while Tiger opened the plastic door, went inside, closed the door, and did his business.
This is standard stuff, of course. The pros are out there for five hours, hydrating along the way, and they’re not always handy to the clubhouse or a private hospitality tent.
Still, it’s different when it’s Tiger.
“Sometimes people applaud him when he comes out,’’ said the Globe’s crack golf scribe, Michael Whitmer.
Hmmm. That’s a little weird. Sort of like the way you treat a 3-year-old in training.
Way to use the potty, like a big boy!
Thank goodness the Tour provides players with units inside the ropes. Better chance for privacy. Less chance of overflow.
Call me naive, but I just figured Prince Tiger Woods would have beautiful girls throwing rose petals in his path, and a private bathroom with gold fixtures near his person at all times. I don’t think any Pope John ever used a portable john. Why Tiger?
He is, after all, the richest and most decorated athlete in the world. His presence is what brings casual sports fans to golf. It is Tiger who produces the television ratings and the big purses. Every golfer on Tour should send Tiger a royalty check at the end of the season – fund a private bathroom-on-wheels.
Happily for golf fans of New England, this is Tiger’s tourney. He won it in 2006 and tied for second in 2004 and 2007. Last year he was on the shelf after knee surgery, but he has had a partnership with the Deutsche Bank Championship since the tourney’s inception, with event funds directed to the Tiger Woods Foundation.
“I’ve always liked this area,’’ Tiger said Thursday. “I’ve played well here, and the people are thoroughly enthusiastic about the sport.’’
There was plenty of enthusiasm everywhere he went yesterday, but his shot-making was not up to Tiger standards.
“I really didn’t do much of anything positively today,’’ he said. “I didn’t feel good over any shot today and didn’t drive it very good, hit my irons worse, and didn’t make any putts. Other than that it was a good day.
“Most of the putts I hit today, if anything they were lacking pace. They were kind of rolling by about 6 inches past the hole, maybe a foot. I just wasn’t carrying enough pace to the hole.’’
It wasn’t the greens. Woods played alongside first-day leader Stricker, who shot an 8-under 63 and looked like he was putting into an oil drum.
It was poor putting that cost Tiger the PGA a couple of weeks ago, and a blown 6-footer on 18 last Sunday cost him a playoff with Slocum at The Barclays.
But it wasn’t just the short game that bothered Woods at TPC Boston.
“I felt terrible over any tee shot,’’ he said. “Didn’t matter what club it was, whether it was an iron on a par 3 or a drive or any hole. I didn’t feel great over any shot. It was one of those days.’’
Tiger’s frustration boiled over after an errant drive on the fifth hole, his 14th hole of the day. He chucked his driver into the tall grass and it took awhile to find the club. Something your boss or brother-in-law would do. These kind of demonstrations have marked Tiger’s major-less season.
What about it, Eldrick? Was that frustration we saw after the drive on 5?
“How about every hole?’’ he answered.
“It’s a four-day tournament,’’ he said. “If you have a bad day, the whole idea is just to mitigate the mistakes and keep yourself in the ballgame. Today is a day I certainly could have shot over par, but I kept it under par, so that’s a good sign.’’
Fair warning. You know he’s got something red in his closet, ready for Monday.




“Ernie Grunfeld and the Wizards would come to rue the day they sent the No. 5 pick to the Timberwolves and received Randy Foye and Mike Miller in
exchange,” said Dick Heller of the DC Post.
“That was one of the initial spins of the post-draft analysis after Ricky Rubio slid to the fifth spot in the draft and David Kahn snatched him up as if he were the second coming of Pete Maravich.
That quickie judgment looks so naive now, so off base, after Rubio jolted Kahn and the Timberwolves this week by electing to stay with FC Barcelona the next two seasons.
This was after Kahn did everything he could to become Rubio’s new best friend and appeared to have a deal in place last weekend.
Now Kahn has been put on hold the next two seasons, if not longer, because it will behoove Rubio to extend his stay to three seasons and no longer be bound by the NBA’s rookie salary scale.
Kahn, of course, is maintaining a brave front, saying he expects the point guard to keep his word and join the Timberwolves in two seasons. But Kahn had Rubio’s word last weekend, and that did not turn out so well.
Not that the time frame necessarily matters in Kahn’s case.
It is deals like this one that often lead to the abrupt departure of personnel gurus.
Kahn surrendered two solid players to the Wizards and ended up with nothing other than a see-you-in-two-years promise.
All kinds of things can happen in two years in the NBA, most of it not good if you are Kahn and looking to lead a franchise out of the nether reaches of the
Western Conference.
Rubio was just the tonic to keep hope alive while the losses accumulate during the bitterly cold winter months in Minnesota. That hope is now a distant one.
Grunfeld has no regrets on this deal. Nor did he have any the day after the draft. He knew Rubio was a problematic pick because of the buyout clause in his contract. And he knew the Wizards – built to win now – had no use for a player who will need three or four seasons to develop into whatever he will be.
And let’s be clear: Rubio is not necessarily destined to be an All-Star, notwithstanding the hype. He likes to make the pretty pass. He sees the floor well. But his perimeter shooting touch and defensive ability are lacking.
What he does have is a certain flair about him, a certain joy. Yet the same could have been said of Jason Williams, the erstwhile White Chocolate who drove coaches into fits of consternation with his cutesy passes that ended up as turnovers.
Even if Rubio eventually becomes a franchise player, the move to snag Foye and Miller was the right one given where the Wizards are.
Either they rebound in a compelling way this season or change could come to their core of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison and Brendan
Rubio was not about to facilitate the emergence of the Wizards this season.
And the Wizards already are playing the waiting game with Andray Blatche and Nick Young, who have a way of teasing the fan base but have yet to produce in a substantive way.
Is Blatche going to figure out how to be a professional under Flip Saunders? Is easing the cerebral challenges on Young and having him run off screens in the manner of Richard Hamilton going to produce consistent results?
Rubio undoubtedly will provoke a series of questions once he undergoes his get-acquainted session in the NBA.
The Wizards did not need another set of questions enveloping a young player with potential after being stuck in an injury-induced purgatory the last two-plus seasons.
And they certainly did not need to be feeling what the Timberwolves are feeling now.
Given Rubio’s brush-off, Grunfeld’s deal looks even better than the day it was made.


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