I shared an apartment for one year during my UCSB days with Buick Invitational qualifier Justin Hicks and can attest that he is one of the nicest, most genuine people you'd ever want to meet. So naturally I found this great note from Ed Zieralski in today's San Diego Union Tribune a bit surprising.
For the past eight years, Justin Hicks has arrived at Torrey Pines at daybreak on Tuesday of the Buick Invitational to videotape Tiger Woods playing a practice round. Yesterday, in a dream-becomes-reality moment, Hicks stepped inside the ropes and played a practice round with Woods and his practice partner, Bubba Watson.
“You know how Andy Warhol talked about that 15 minutes of fame? Well this is my four days of fame here,” said Hicks, who could add two more by making the cut on Friday.
Hicks, 37, qualified for a sponsor's exemption at this year's Buick Invitational by being named Player of the Year for the San Diego Chapter of the Southern California PGA. A teaching pro at Stadium Golf, Hicks has missed qualifying for the Buick Invitational by one stroke three times.
Hicks teed off alone just after 6:30 a.m., but was joined by Woods and Watson on the fairway after Watson boomed a drive 80 yards over Hicks' head. Hicks said Watson hit driver, 7-iron to the 520-yard, par-5 hole.
Hicks said it was “nerve-wracking” playing a practice round with Woods. “I felt like the ugly girlfriend with the hot girls next to her,” Hicks said.
The three only played 14 holes, skipping five, six, seven and eight and jumping over to No. 9. It was there that Woods and Watson hit their tee shots simultaneously.
Hicks said he felt like a “third wheel” and tried to keep out of the two friends' fun. He didn't say a word to Woods or Watson. They never said a word to him until the end, when both wished him and his caddie, Todd Howerton, well this week.
“It was still fun,” Hicks said.
How do you hit into (over?) someone and not spend the rest of the round down on your hands and knees kissing their rear end?