SAN DIEGO — Did you really think the putt wouldn’t fall, that the ball wouldn’t grab the side of the cup and slip in by some collective force of vacuum, nature, Father’s Day and Tiger Woods’ sheer enormity? Much as a 45-year-old journeyman had endeared America with his living-the-dream attitude and cool peace sign on his belt buckle, Rocco Mediate was simply a supporting actor in this playhouse.
And, in all likelihood, the imminent victim sometime this afternoon.
In the latest and perhaps most electric chapter yet of Tiger Theater, our gimpy-kneed hero crouched over 12 feet of sod on the 18th green Sunday, the late-day sun shining upon him on the seaside course where he learned to play. Minutes earlier, the recorded voice of his late father had spoken to Woods on a new Nike TV commercial made specially for the occasion. “Tiger, I promise you,” Earl said, “that you’ll never meet another person as mentally tough as you in your entire life.’ ” Then, in another tense, he said of his son,“And he hasn’t. And he never will.” A cynic might call that a bit overwrought.