HONOLULU -- It's been more than two years and another Presidents Cup has been played since he earned the moniker, but Woody Austin just can't separate himself from his hard-earned nickname, "Aquaman."
So, U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus was right when he said at Royal Montreal GC in the fall of 2007, "I have a feeling that he (Austin) will be hearing about that for the rest of his life."
"When I'm on the golf course, I hear it all the time. I hear it everyday," Austin, who turns 46 later this month, said at Waialae CC, where he is competing in the Sony Open in Hawaii. "You'd think after this much time people might start to forget, but they don't. They're always asking, 'Where are the goggles?' Or it's, 'Hey, stay away from the water.' I'm OK with it. People still find a lot of humor in it. But it's funny to them because it didn't happen to them."
In the 2007 Presidents Cup, won handily by the U.S., Austin fell in a pond adjacent to the 14th green at Royal Montreal during Friday's four-ball match. He was paired with David Toms against International Team members Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini. During his Sunday singles match against Angel Cabrera, he donned a pair of scuba goggles as he walked off the 14th tee, drawing laughs and applause. He lost that match, 2 and 1, but won over the crowd as well as his teammates.
Austin didn't qualify for the 2009 U.S. Presidents Cup team that triumphed at Harding Park in San Francisco; he had slipped to 82nd on the PGA Tour money list with just three top-10 finishes in 24 starts. He cheered on his fellow Americans from home in Derby, Kan.
Winner of three tour titles, Austin said that he thinks most fans who bring up the incident or call him Aquaman aren't being mean-spirited.
"I know it's an acknowledgment of what happened, and it's really meant in a positive way," he said. "I just wish they remembered that I birdied the last three holes and we halved our match after I fell in the water. They never seem to remember that."
-- Dave Shedloskii