- The Washington Times - Monday, September 26, 2005

LAKE MANASSAS, Va. — Tiger Woods was cruising in his Presidents Cup singles match against Retief Goosen yesterday when he hit a beautiful tee shot about 10 feet from the pin on Robert Trent Jones Golf Club’s par-3, 190-yard ninth hole.

As Woods stepped onto the peninsula green, which juts about 30 feet into Lake Manassas, a heckler yelled from the Virginia Oaks Golf Club community across the lake, “Hey, Tiger, your fly is open.”

The comments drew a gasp from the large gallery at No.9 — arguably RTJ’s signature hole.

And when Woods was about to mark his ball, the heckler yelled “thanks for the autograph, you [expletive].”

Woods immediately glared across the water — a good 400 yards away somewhere between Nos.12 and 14 on Virginia Oaks’ back nine.

“I didn’t hear him. I swear to God I didn’t hear him,” Woods said.

Nevertheless, while Goosen made a 40-foot birdie, Woods pushed a makable putt for birdie just right of the hole as Goosen squared the match. Before he picked up his ball, Woods directed another steely glare across the lake to see if the heckler would reveal himself.

From that point on, Woods played 1over on the back nine before conceding the match to Goosen 2and 1 on No.17.

While the western shore of Lake Manassas was heavily secured all week with Prince William County police and Virginia state police in force everywhere around RTJ, the eastern shore of Lake Manassas was not secured, even on the most important day of the tournament.

Police boats patrolled Lake Manassas earlier in the week but not yesterday.

Playing with Woods, who is one of the most popular athletes in the world, always brings excess baggage.

“It’s behind the ropes as you walk around, there’s so much noise and stuff getting thrown on you that you really need to work hard on blocking it out,” Goosen said.

The loss to Goosen was just the 13th in 97 career singles matches for Woods and his first in Presidents Cup play. He was doing fine in his head-to-head battle with Goosen before arriving on No.9.

Woods birdied three of his first four holes on the front nine. On No.3, Woods birdied the hole with a remarkable up-and-down chip from the fringe.

Goosen unleashed a birdie barrage of his own on four of the final nine holes. The South African started rolling on No.9 when Woods and his game wavered after the heckler’s attack. Goosen birdied Nos.9, 10 and 12.

Woods played par golf on those same holes, failing to birdie a hole on the back nine.


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