Tiger Woods, Rocco Mediate together again at Torrey Pines
Even some hardened and cynical sports fans got emotional at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines when Tiger Woods, limping badly and grimacing after many shots, battled through 72 holes of regulation, then an entire extra round of 18 holes on Monday plus another sudden-death hole against Rocco Mediate, who is 48 now and who was golf-old then, at the U.S.Open.
Woods won, finally, and broke down. He spoke of missing his father Earl and of his physical pain and it made the then world's best golfer likable. Since then almost everyone is aware of what's happened. Woods has had knee surgeries and physical problems and a very public scandal involving marital infidelity and divorce that has cost him almost two lost seasons of golf.
So here Woods comes again, to Torrey Pines, where he will open his 2011 season at the place where he last starred as a golfer and has won seven times. And with whom is he paired? Mediate. And Anthony Kim. The trio will play together Thursday and Friday. It is a grouping Commissioner Tim Finchem said Tuesday made with television in mind. It made Mediate smile too.
While many others in the field were playing practice rounds Tuesday, Woods wasn't expected to arrive until Tuesday evening. On Wednesday he will play the Zurich Pro-Am, teeing off at 11 a.m. on the South Course with Robert Allenby.
Woods, Mediate and Kim will tee off at 9 a.m. on the 10th tee of the North Course at 9 a.m. Thursday and from the No. 1 tee of the South Course at 10 a.m. on Friday.
Other notable pairings include John Daly, who briefly announced his retirement on his television show on the Golf Channel here last year, Boo Weekley and Jesper Parnevik, who was critical of Woods' behavior last fall; new Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, Stewart Cink and Bubba Watson; Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose; and Bob Hope Classic winner Jhonattan Vegas, Charley Hoffman and Nick Watney.
-- Diane Pucin reporting from La Jolla