So what was it like to see Tiger lose for the first time since the Masters? Beats me. When Tiger conceded defeat to Tim Clark in his 2nd round match yesterday, I was 450 miles from Tucson, almost back to L.A.
I started the week with the full intention of picking up where I left off and following Tiger throughout the week. What could be more fun, right? But a few things happened late in the day on Wednesday that told me my time was done.
First, on the 16th hole, just as Tiger was looking over his par putt to beat Brendan Jones, I walked into a cactus. I never would have done that last year.
Second, driving back to the place I was staying, I reached for the Dr. Pepper I had just bought from Sonic and lifted the straw to my mouth. As the liquid traveled up the straw, I knew something was wrong. When it hit my lips, I realized I had unknowingly grabbed my soda from the day before, now warm and slimy after 24 hours in the hot Tucson sun. I reflexively spit it out, spreading soda all over my white shirt, my khaki pants and the interior of my car. Something was definitely off.
And third was this quote from Tiger after his first round match that I couldn't get out of my head:
Reporter: Did you learn anything new about yourself today? Anything different that surprised you?
Tiger Woods: No.
When I read that, things came into focus. I didn't need to keep going. Sure, it was incredible to see Tiger play again. But 620 holes was enough. Like Tiger, I'd learned what there was to learn.
So I left early Thursday and drove home. And at 3:30 my time, I heard the news -- Tiger lost. Which means that by listening to that subconscious voice and leaving early, I avoided the pain of witnessing Tiger go home without a trophy for the first time in almost a year.
Or I'm his good luck charm and I let millions of Tiger fans down. Alright, MAYBE I'll go to Doral in 2 weeks...