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Q+A Jim Arnold This retired teacher got the thrill of a lifetime when Tiger Woods visited Hazeltine for a sneak peek

Aug. 19, 2002
Aug. 19, 2002

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Aug. 19, 2002

Q+A Jim Arnold This retired teacher got the thrill of a lifetime when Tiger Woods visited Hazeltine for a sneak peek

By Jim Arnold Edited by Alan Shipnuck

SI: Was Aug. 6 the greatest day of your life?

This is an article from the Aug. 19, 2002 issue

JA: It didn't start off that great. Early in the morning, at
home, I was trying to call to get a haircut and accidentally
dialed 911. The police showed up, and I had to convince them
that I didn't beat my wife or whatever. Later, it got pretty
unbelievable.

SI: What was your first impression on meeting Tiger?

JA: I caddied for David Toms at the defending champ's media day
a few months ago, but that doesn't compare with Tiger. [Note:
Arnold works in the Hazeltine pro shop and is called on to
caddie under unusual circumstances.] Don't get me wrong, David
is a great player, but when I was standing next to Tiger, there
was this aura about him. You could sense you were in the
presence of someone special. It was like the time I met Fran
Tarkenton--you knew this was a legend.

SI: How much advice did you give Tiger?

JA: I had an old yardage book from the [1991] U.S. Open, so I
offered to give him yardages, and he said that would be fine. I
had just watched a video of the Open, so I was telling him some
of the Sunday pin placements. There was no way I was going to
pull clubs for him.

SI: How did Tiger attack the course?

JA: Hazeltine is a big course, so he can pretty much hit driver
on every tee if he wants to. He hit nine or 10 drivers, a couple
of two-irons and maybe one three-wood. He knew what he was doing
out there.

SI: Any shots impress you?

JA: Every shot was impressive.

SI: Were Woods and Mark O'Meara playing for money?

JA: I don't think so, because many times their putts were
rolling at the same time. That O'Meara can really roll his rock.

SI: So what did Tiger pay you?

JA: I would rather not say, but he was more than generous.
Shoot, I would have done it for free.

SI: Did you nab any keepsakes?

JA: Yeah, I kept one of his balls--a Nike Tour Accuracy with tiger
stamped on it. I'm actually fondling it right now. The little kid
in me is alive and well.

COLOR PHOTO: JIM MICKESH