Yeah, Tiger Woods can drill a golf ball. But can he climb a tree like Ken Betzler of Seattle?
Betzler, 31, stole some of Woods' thunder in the opening round of the PGA Championship on Thursday when he went high into a towering Douglas fir to fetch an errant shot by Olin Browne.It was amazing sight captured by the TV cameras.
"You'd better hang out with me the rest of the day," Browne told Betzler. "I might need you."
Betzler, who works for a pharmaceutical company, earned his day of golf fame on the Sahalee Country Club's 444-yard, par-4 eighth hole when Browne's tee shot stuck in a Douglas fir about 25 feet off the ground.
He got on the shoulders of another fan, John Marnin of Portland, Ore., and climbed the tree, fetching Browne's Titleist 8 and dropping it on the ground.
Why did he do it? He didn't even know Browne, who happened to be in the same threesome with Bill Andrade, whom he was following around the course.
"It's what I did as a kid," Betzler said. "Isn't that what all kids do? I thought it was a great opportunity to make a friend of a golfer."
Since it was an unplayable lie, Browne got a drop and a one-shot penalty. If the ball would have been lost, Browne would have lost a stroke and had to hit another tee shot.
Browne, winner of the Canon Greater Hartford Open this year, finished with a 72.
DALY DEJECTED: John Daly challenged Sahalee with his big driver. Predictably, he lost.
Pro golf's version of Mark McGwire shot a 10-over-par 80 in the first round of the PGA Championship. Then Daly walked into the clubhouse and declined to talk to reporters.
Al Geiberger, the 1966 PGA champion, shot an 81 in Daly's threesome. Geiberger, 60, didn't offer the PGA Tour's longest hitter any advice. But if Geiberger would have been asked by Daly for some, it would have been to play more conservatively on the tight Sahalee layout.
"But that's John's game," Geiberger said. "His long game is what gets the fans excited. Of course, they have no clue what he's shooting.
"Today, I think he got disgusted. Then his concentration went. Our group wasn't too good."
On a couple of holes, Daly outdrove Geiberger by more than 100 yards. And there were a lot of fans watching because they wanted to see Daly.
"It was a little embarrassing," Geiberger said. "I'd rather have embarrassed myself in private."
DISGUSTED JANZEN: Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen knew how John Daly felt. He walked off the Sahalee course in disgust, too.
And well he should have - after a 6-over-par 76 that left him 10 shots behind Tiger Woods and reaching for the phone to make an airline reservation.
"If I don't shoot under par tomorrow, I'll have to check on the overnight flights home," he said with a frown.
Except for the Open at San Francisco's Olympic Club in June, it's been a disgusting year for Janzen, 33, also winner of the 1993 U.S. Open.
Thursday's 76 came in a threesome with defending PGA champion Davis Love III and Mark O'Meara, winner of the Masters and British Open this year. O'Meara and Love didn't make Janzen feel any better about himself, shooting 69 and 70, respectively.
That was enough to put Janzen in a bad mood.
"It was just a matter that I couldn't hit a putt," he said. "But except for one tournament all year, I've struggled with my putting. Today, I missed most of the short ones, the 3-footers.
"I felt like I hit the ball pretty well. But I let it get to me."
LORD BYRON: The living legend sat in a folding chair with his wife, greeting the players as they got up on the first tee. The players responded warmly and with affection and respect for the man who won 11 consecutive tournaments in 1945.
"I love it," said Byron Nelson, 85. "I love getting out here with the fellas. It's great to see them.
"I would have loved to have played here."
In 1944, Nelson was in Spokane for the PGA Championship. It was match play then, and Nelson didn't win. But he came close, losing in the final to Bob Hamilton 1-up.
Nelson walks with the help of a cane now, but he still plays golf using a cart. He leaves Texas and goes to the majors as kind of a goodwill ambassador for the players of the past.
"It makes me feel good," he said.
Nelson refused to predict a winner for the PGA Championship over the tight, tree-lined Sahalee course.
"You're going to have to hit the ball straight and you must have patience," he said. "You have to adjust your thinking on this course."
LEHMAN'S SHOULDER: Tom Lehman's playing in pain in the PGA Championship, his first tournament since missing the cut in the British Open in July.
Before the British Open, he separated his right shoulder while doing a handstand while showing off for his children at an amusement park.
How much pain?
Lehman wouldn't say after his 1-over-par 71 in the opening round.
"It's not so bad right now," he replied when asked how much he was hurting. "Every day it feels a little bit better.
"It was a little tight this morning, but it felt pretty good during the round."
Lehman had an MRI test on his ailing shoulder after returning home to Scottsdale, Ariz., from the British Open. It showed the separation, but it also showed he won't need surgery.
"I hit some good shots today and a 71 wasn't too bad considering the circumstances," he said. "I haven't touched a club until this week."
COUPLES' RETURN: Fred Couples, a native of Seattle, got a rousing ovation all the way around the Sahalee course. He shot a not-so-rousing 74, eight shots behind leader Tiger Woods.
Not a great homecoming for the 1992 Masters champion, but Couples said he'll take it considering the way he played in the U.S. Open (a tie for 53rd) and the British Open (a tie for 66th).
"I was just trying to make pars," he said. "Tomorrow's another day, but I don't expect to shoot a 66 the way I've been playing."