Wednesday, May 02, 2007

He ain't heavy, he's my brother

Mac Weller, Connell Maloney and Joe McLean, all ages 11, work to get a better view of Michael Jordan. They were really hoping to get autographs from Jordan, Tiger, Peyton Manning, um well, John Fox too.

Talking to Jordan

Tiger and Jordan doubled up with two other golfers on the 10th hole, and they had to wait their turn. Jordan stood near the rope talking with fans and putting. Cameras shot into the air as fans snapped pictures.

He talked about the game, and the Bobcats. He made funny quips, and fans responded with ones of their own. If you were one of the lucky fans who caught Jordan’s eye or ear, he responded to you personally.

In that moment, you were actually talking to Michael Jordan.


Jordan has the coolest golf bag

Talk about self-promotion, Jordan's golf bag is the bizomb.

Finally, found Tiger and Jordan

“Here comes Jordan,” said the man standing near me.

Applause rippled through the gallery at the ninth hole. Jordan ambled up wearing fresh pants and a white hat, while chomping on a cigar. Tiger walked up a few minutes later.

As Jordan worked on getting his ball in the ninth hole, Tiger walked around dropping golf balls onto the green and putting. Then he’d drop another ball on the green and putt some more. I was confused.

Later, Observer sportswriter David Scott explained that during the Pro-Am, the professionals take the first few strokes seriously, but after that, they practice for the big tourney. Tiger was practicing.

As Tiger and Jordan walked through the tunnel to the tenth hole, a fan yelled, “How much money are you going to take off Michael today?”

Jordan smiled.

Sign here baby!

It's gotta be the shoes. Zack Beck's brother wears a pair of Air Jordans.

Zack Beck stood in front of his chair at the ninth hole. Beside his foot were two footballs, and a plastic bag with baseballs and PGA flags.

He’s an avid autograph collector, and he was hoping to score Peyton Manning’s autographs on the footballs and Michael Jordan’s on the baseballs.

“He probably won’t sign,” the 18-year-old said, referring to Jordan.

He wasn’t worried though -- he already has Jordan’s autograph, a game-worn jersey signed by Vince Carter and other game-worn gear signed by Yao Ming and Baron Davis.

Tiger-Jordan hunt

I had big visions of arriving at the Wachovia Championship at 6 a.m., so I could be lined up at the first tee when Tiger and Jordan started at 7:30 a.m.

But yesterday was the start of May Madness, my monthlong celebration of my birthday on May 26. After four hours of kicking off my month at George Herman’s bar in Latta Arcade, I got a late start this morning.

When I arrived at Wachovia about 7:45 a.m., I had no clue where to find Tiger and Jordan. They were 15 minutes into their round. In my three years of covering the tournament, I never actually paid attention to the golfers and the schedule. Now, I didn’t know where to begin.

Luckily, I ran into freelance photographer Renaul Hill. Together, we set off on a Tiger hunt. At the fifth hole, we saw Peyton Manning working his way out of some sand, and Sergio Garcia rocking this funky Adidas outfit.

Renaul and I stopped an oh-so-helpful volunteer driving a golf cart. We asked him if he knew what hole Tiger and Jordan were on.
“He’s somewhere around here,” the guy said.

Like I said, he was oh-so-helpful.

Finally, a couple told us that they had just seen Tiger at the seventh hole. Renaul and I headed to the ninth to get a good spot.