Add Grant Boone to the list of those not quite grasping Woody Austin's various rants from last week's PGA press center:
And Austin is accurate when he suggests that he and lots of his peers have a similar desire to succeed, even if they can't back it up on the course as often as Woods.
Austin backed it up all week. He was the only player to shoot par or better each day. And despite beginning the final round four back of Woods, he actually had a birdie putt at 15 that would've pulled him even. It was only after a hard-fought 67 left him two shots short that Austin finally began to crack. First, he interrupted a reporter's observation that he'd been hard on himself earlier in the week because of missed opportunities:
"I was right, wasn't I?"
Whoa, big fella. After the reporter finished his question, Austin responded specifically to shooting a 70 in the second round to Woods' 63:
"Well, like I said on Friday, you cannot give somebody seven shots, especially someone who happens to be the best player in the world. And I, like I said, I went over his round and over my round, and I outplayed him from tee-to-green."
It was right here that you were telepathically giving Austin the same advice Brian Fantana gave Champ. "Why don't you stop talking for awhile? Maybe sit the next couple of plays out." But Austin kept going:
"I don't think anybody plays any better than I do when I'm on; I know that's crazy, but I think I can hit any shot anybody in the world can hit."
I was with him right up to the point that he talked about being crazy. Woody wasn't done:
"You give anybody who is really good a four-shot lead over you -- I beat him today, but it doesn't matter because he had four shots on me. So, you know, I don't care -- he happens to be the best player in the world, but if you put any great player, any good player with a four-shot cushion, their odds are going to be pretty good. Especially when they happen to be the best."
Suddenly, he was Steve Martin giving a call to arms in "Three Amigos:" "The people of Santo Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be the actual El Guapo." And then came a little Yogi Berra from the AFLAC commercial:
"He always says -- what does he always say? He always says, 'I want to be in the last group on Sunday.' If he wants to be there, and I want to be, why do I not want to be there? Why would I want to be somewhere else?"
Beats me. And finally, like a punch-drunk fighter swinging wildly before the inevitable face plant into the canvas, Austin offered this:
"Well, you said in the media, especially on Friday, that he played just an unbelievable round of golf and that he was in total control and that he was just toying with the field. We can go through our rounds. I outplayed him on Friday, but he beat me by seven shots. So, does that mean he's that much better? I don't get it. It just happens that he scored better, and like I said on Friday, can you not throw away that many opportunities when you are trying to win a big golf tournament. He took advantage; I didn't. Does that mean he played better than me or he's better than me? I don't agree with that."