Tiger Woods is cool as a cucumber

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Tiger Woods is some kind of great professional golfer, you know it?! He may be just 25, but the young fella’s cool as a cucumber. And Tiger coolly made his way to his fourth golf major in a row despite three of the game’s top players nipping at his heels. That would be David Duval, Phil Mickelson and Mark Calcavecchia. You gotta admit that the company Tiger kept last Sunday at The Masters in Augusta was august – imposing.

Yep, The Masters is perhaps the gem of them all; even as respected as the U. S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship are. You just gotta have it to mow down great golfers like Duval, Mickelson and Calcavecchia under the gun.

Tiger I’m sure felt the heat, but the young fella never let on, on I didn’t notice if he did. His putting was especially imposing in the clutch.

After notching his first Masters victory in 1997, Woods continued his winning ways alright enough, but it wasn’t until the last few months of 2000 and this April that he completely rewrote the record book. He won the U. S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship (his second) all in 200, then started this year with his imposing Masters run.

Even Tiger’s idol Jack Nicklaus wasn’t able to take all four majors in a row.

He came close in 1972, I believe it was, but fell short one. And the ever-popular Arnold Palmer could only get two of the four in 1960.

So Tiger Woods stands alone at the top of men’s professional golf, a steady hand on the links nearly all the time. Last week the &uot;Tiger&uot; hit ’em, bumped-and-ran ’em and putted ’em in for a truly imposing Masters triumph.

HURRIED HASH: Ole Miss seems well satisfied with its men’s basketball coach Rod Barnes, and considering that he has carried Rebel teams to heights never attained before in the school’s history, it’s no wonder. The fact they’re going to pay him nearly a half-million dollars a year says tons.

Never before this year has an Ole Miss men’s basketball team been ranked as high as 9th in the nation. But Barnes’ boys capped 2001 with a No. 9 finish in the USA/ESPN coaches poll, and Barnes showed his appreciation by signing to continue coaching them four more years. Ole Miss liked the fact that he was named USA Today/ESPN Coach of The Year nationally, of course.

And making it to the NCAA’s Sweet 16 didn’t hurt any. The big salary increase came, then confirmation that he was not interested in a job at South Carolina. Barnes’ ability to coach his charges to tournament buoyancy helped him in the estimation of his fellow coaches. And contract time at &uot;home.&uot; Actually, four of the last five years coach Barnes’ cagers have won SEC Western Division titles and played in the NCAA Tournament each season. This year, Iona and Notre Dame were defeated to reach the Sweet 16 after bumping off Tennessee and Florida to make the SEC finals.

Another consideration in handing out plaudits to the Rebel coach at this football school was his team’s ability to crowd NCAA championship game participant Arizona before losing 66-56. Duke tamed Arizona for the NCAA championship. So, Arizona was just No. 2 at the NCAA!

Glenvall Estes is a longtime columnist for The Democrat.