PGA GRAND SLAM OF GOLF
Phil Mickelson said yesterday it wouldn't bother him if the Grand Slam moved from Kauai, because "it's not like I need a tournament to get out here and enjoy the islands."
Woods gets a workout
POIPU, Kauai » There was a surreal feel about yesterday's PGA Grand Slam of Golf first round.
After jogging to some bushes and up-chucking after the first hole, Tiger Woods went and hit his second tee shot. But when Vijay Singh, Michael Campbell and Phil Mickelson walked down the fairway, Woods wasn't with them.
The immediate buzz was that he was probably going to retire because of the stomach flu that kept him out of Monday's pro-am.
But a golf cart with Woods in it motored up the fairway just in time for him to hit his second shot.
"By the time I hit my second shot, I was a little bit lighter and a little more streamlined and lost weight. My abs got a good workout there in the bushes."
Another strange moment came at the 16th, when both Mickelson and Campbell hit the ball out of bounds over a heiau.
A dozen or so people -- TNT TV crew and PGA of America officials -- leaned over to see if they could see the balls. Two people, presumably spectators, were on the other side of the heiau looking for the balls.
"Do you see a Callaway over there?" Mickelson asked.
They found Campbell's ball, a Callaway No. 4, but not Mickelson's.
"I was in-between clubs and I chose probably the wrong (club) at the wrong time," said Campbell, a native of New Zealand, about his adventure. "I tried to hit a low, hooky 3-wood. I overcooked it and put it in the goomby. But that's golf, you know."
A talker: Kauai junior golfer Darren Valencia, who was toting a scoreboard yesterday, was able to have a short, but fulfilling conversation with Woods.
"Good birdie, Tiger," the 11-year-old Valencia said with conviction as Woods approached the 11th tee after his 20-footer on No. 10.
Woods almost didn't look at Valencia, who was 10 feet away, but after a few seconds, he glanced to his left and said, "Thank you."
Valencia said he wasn't nervous about initiating the communication.
"It felt good, cuz he's, like, one of my heroes," Valencia said.
Big drives: Woods crushed many of his drives, including his 348-yard blast to the green on the par-4 eighth. After resting -- by sitting on a cooler in the shade at the ninth tee -- Woods hit a 330-yarder and said to a friend, "Just a little one."
He also had drives of 362 (on the second hole after puking), 358, 350, 347, 301 and 327 yards.
Fading happiness: The happiest Mickelson looked all day was after he dropped an 18-footer for birdie on the par-3 seventh. He followed that with a 10-footer for birdie on the eighth. But his only birdie after that came on the 14th, a hole all four golfers birdied.
No bother: Mickelson said that it wouldn't affect him too much if the Grand Slam moves from Kauai to another location, such as Las Vegas or the Caribbean, as has been talked about by the PGA of America.
"I know that a lot of guys really enjoy coming here," he said. "But, living in San Diego, it's a pretty easy flight for me and I end up coming to Hawaii probably three to four times a year with my family. So it's not like I need a tournament to get out here and enjoy the islands.
"There's two high-quality golf tournaments in Hawaii already, the Mercedes, with all of the winners, and the Sony Open."
Mickelson said he doesn't know if he'll start the year at the Mercedes on Maui or at the Bob Hope Classic in California.
"I haven't ruled out coming (to Hawaii)," he said. "I'm just not sure yet."
Connecting the dots: Campbell, who is of Maori descent, feels a bond with Hawaii.
"It's the Polynesian connection. Four hundred years ago, my ancestors came down in a little canoe from around these areas and landed in New Zealand in the 12th or 13th century. So there is a connection. When I see the Hawaiians, I can see there's a very similar look in the way we look and that sort of stuff. It's like home away from home."