February 2, 2009

Antoine Dumas

This former Tiger Woods stand-in dreams of playing tour golf—and reuniting with you-know-who

Antoine Dumas teaches golf at the Adobe Dam Family Golf Center near Phoenix, where he often is mistaken for Tiger Woods. Then again, there is a reason. During Dumas' interesting career, he has been Tiger Woods, sort of.

Grillroom: So, how was it that you became Tiger's double?

Dumas: First of all, it takes about two weeks to shoot a commercial. Stars like Tiger can't be there all the time. Maybe a day. One thing led to another, and for a period of about five years, I was him when he couldn't be.

__ What did you do?__

A Japanese company signed Tiger to promote a coffee drink, Wonderful Wonda. I auditioned and got the job. When he couldn't be there, I subbed for him. "This is Wonderful Wonda!"

Obviously, you look like him.

My wife, Angie, says I'm even better looking. I'm 6-1, 175 pounds, same smile. He's gotten a lot stronger since we first started in 1997, shortly after he won the Masters. But people still do a double take on occasion when they see me.

That obviously means perks.

I never carry it too far. I don't try to pretend. But I have walked into restaurants and gotten a table right away. Phone numbers from women, but I'm married. Once, I went to the top of a building in L.A., taping me hitting to another building. People crowded around windows in the other buildings with signs, "Tiger, Hit It Here!" He wasn't there.

You want to play golf now, right?

I'm 42. A young 42. I'm going to try to qualify for some Nationwide Tour events this year, and you never know. I think I've got the game. Doesn't hurt to dream.

Was meeting Tiger your top thrill?

A great guy, fun. But, no. As the son of a U.S. diplomat, I speak French. When Pope John Paul II was in Denver for World Youth Day in '93, I was on stage with him, translating English to French. I have a picture of Pope John Paul II hugging me.

How do you beat that?

Someday, I would like to play in the last Sunday twosome with Tiger in a PGA Tour event. That would be something. Better even than Wonderful Wonda.

How would we know who's who?

Oh, I think you would be able to tell the difference between Tiger and me. I really do.