UCLA freshman Chris Heintz begins play this week in the Buick Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Chris qualified in October by shooting a one-under par 71 and earning one of two spots available for amateur competitors.
Tuesday, Feb. 10th
I went to bed last night thinking about getting there early and that's exactly what I did. I got to the course about 6:15 and made it to the first tee about 6:30.
Tiger wasn't on the first tee yet, but he was on the premises. I knew he was at the course because it's like having the president around. People were hanging around waiting for him. There were Nike reps on the first tee ready to hand him clubs. You could hear the whispers from the marshalls and the security people. "Tiger's leaving the lockerroom," I overheard one of them say on a walkie-talkie.
I was getting very nervous waiting around. He could always say, "No thanks."
So I waited about 20 mintes for him to show up, and when he did, I just went up and asked him: Do you mind if I join you? "Sure," he said, "no problem."
There was a small entourage with him. I'm not sure who all the people were, but we had a gallery of about 30 people there. With me was just [caddie and assistant coach] Tony and my dad.
Right after I asked him, I knew I had the honors on the first tee and I had to hit quickly. On that first shot, I was so nervous, my legs were shaking so much I thought I would fall over. I pushed my first tee shot a little and it landed just off the fairway into the first cut of rough. I was so happy I hit a decent shot.
Tiger hit his tee shot - without warming up, not even a practice swing - 310 yards down the middle. I was in awe.
It was really cool playing in front of a lot of people. One guy in Tiger's group was his rep from Upper Deck. There was a photographer following us who got a lot of pictures.
Through the first six holes we were playing at a quick pace. Tiger definitely dictated the pace. After that we slowed down a bit and we talked a little.
Tiger definitely likes to talk college basketball. He talked about how well his team is doing and I talked about how our team is not doing so well. He was a little shocked that UCLA wasn't doing so well. We talked about some of the tournaments he's played and he told a couple of stories, too.
On the ninth tee a few years ago, Tiger said he was playing with Chip Beck. There was a hospitality tent about 50 yards to the right of the tee. When Beck hit his tee shot, Tiger said the shot went even farther to the right of the tent - at about a 70 degree angle from the tee box!
Tiger was really helpful on the greens. He gave me tips on where to hit the ball and where not to hit it.
The thing that really amazed me was how well he hit it. It's not just the distance he gets. Every shot had the same trajectory and every shot was perfectly struck. I watched him practice some chips and he can do some amazing things. He hit one chip from off the green that came out low and hot - it looked like it would run well past the hole - but the ball took one bounce and stopped dead. I was going to ask him how he hit that shot, but I then decided not to. All day long he was driving it past me about 30 yards. On the 18th hole I came within 10 yards of him.
At the end of the round, there were about 100 people following us. When we finished, I got bombrded by the local media. There was a CBS affiliate from San Diego and a couple of newspapers. They all wanted to know how I got to play with Tiger Woods. I told them all that I just asked him. They wanted to know what it was like playing with him and I told them he was very accommodating and curteous. After that, people were asking me for my autograph.
After my media session I went to the lockerrom to get some food, and then went out to the range. I did some more interviews, signed some more autographs and hit balls for about two hours.
After the range I went to the putting green and a few more people asked me for autographs there, too. Yesterday, K.J. Choi had asked Tony to work with him on the putting green. So today they met on the green. Tony was a little nervous about it, but he said later that everything went ok.
After putting for awhile, I worked on my chipping and then called it a day.
Tomorrow morning I have to write a mid-term paper. I cannot play in the pro-am, so I'll probably go there for awhile in the afternoon and practice.
Thursday I tee off at 10:18 a.m. on the North Course with Boyd Summerhays and Brian Bateman.
There will be no internet diary entry from Chris on Wednesday. The diary will resume on Thursday after his first round.
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