Sixteen years ago, Tiger Woods pulled off one of the most incredible wins in golf history at Pebble Beach. No, not that 15-shot romp at the 2000 U.S. Open, but the come-from-behind job at the 2000 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
That performance (seven shots down with seven to play!), which gave Woods a sixth consecutive PGA Tour win, didn't have the same margin of victory, but it included a more pesky foe than any tour pro: Ray Romano. At least, according to one golf writer.
In his story for Sports Illustrated, Alan Shipnuck wasn't kind to the comedian, who took Bill Murray's spot in the pro-am field. Shipnuck describes Romano as "a man whose next funny joke will be his first," and then writes this about his pace of play.
Romano would've been simply an irritating footnote were he not playing in the group in front of Woods throughout the first three rounds. The soul-sucking effects of Romano's glacial pace were especially evident at Spyglass, where an exhausted and irritated Woods came apart over the final holes.
Asked about all the shenanigans in front of him, Woods bowed his head, fell silent for a long while, then said, with utmost diplomacy, "Well, it's been interesting." What was left unsaid was, I'm chasing the ghost of Byron Nelson, and Ray freakin' Romano is holding me up on every shot!
Romano eventually wrote a rebuttal that appeared in the magazine, and he talks about the whole experience on a new "In Depth with Graham Bensinger."
"One of the things I said was, ‘Listen, I know there was six-and-a-half-hour rounds on Spyglass [Hill]. There was six-and-a-half-hour rounds on Poppy Hills. I know I’m bad, but I’m not bad enough to cause a delay on . . . two other courses . . . I have it hanging up," Romano said. "It’s great. I have that article hanging up."
"So you like it?" Bensinger asks.
"Well, at the time I was devastated, but now. . . It’s funny now."
But could Romano's pace of play have bothered Woods that much if this happened just three years later?
That's Romano, Kevin James and Chris Tucker appearing at Woods' annual Tiger Jam in 2003. Either Woods and Romano were cool by then or Tiger is just a huge "Everybody Loves Raymond" fan.