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Hot-dog tosser adds more absurdity to Woods odyssey

by | CBSSports.com Senior Golf Columnist
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A fairly sizable security contingent keeps an eye on Tiger Woods at the Frys.com Open. (US Presswire)  
A fairly sizable security contingent keeps an eye on Tiger Woods at the Frys.com Open. (US Presswire)  

SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- At the time, body parts of a few thousand fans and security guards puckered in the predictable places, but a few moments after the Case of the Flying Casing had been solved, the jokes began to fly.

And with far greater effectiveness than the airborne tube steak that precipitated the anxiousness to begin with.

In what appears to be the first case of Tiger Woods being accosted on the golf course, an unidentified man ran onto the seventh green on Sunday at the Frys.com Open, shouted Woods' name and heaved a foreign object in the general direction of the former world No. 1, causing a few anxious moments.

Until everybody realized his aerial weapon of choice was a hot dog purchased at the concession stand.

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"It wasn't a chili dog," Frys security director Dan Diggins said. "So it could have been worse."

Never mind if the condiments had included sauerkraut or onions, too. If the man had a sense of humor, he could have yelled, "Want a hot dog with your Frys?"

With the incident adding another layer of absurdity to his two-year comeback attempt, Woods shot his third straight 3-under 68 at CordeValle Golf Club, where he was the major draw and the biggest storyline all week, given the fact that he had completed six rounds in the previous six months entering the week.

Then they started heaving around mustard gas, minus the gas. Minding his own business, Woods heard a man yell his name, and all of a sudden, frankfurters were flying around like it was the Sausage Race in the seventh inning at a Milwaukee Brewers game.

"I turned around and the hot dog was in the air," Woods said. "He wanted to be in the news, and I am sure he will be."

Yes and no. The guy got a nice side salad of poa annua grass for his trouble. After he ran onto the green, the large security contingent assigned to Woods -- a mix of PGA Tour personnel, sheriff's deputies and Frys employees -- ordered him to stop.

The man immediately put his hands over his head and lay down with his face planted on the putting green. He was cuffed and hauled off.

Sgt. Jose Cardoza of the Santa Clara Sheriff's Department said the man, 31, admitted he'd had a drink earlier in the day, but wasn't drunk or on drugs. He was taken off the course, cited with a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace, and released, Cardoza said.

Because he wasn't formally arrested, his name was not released -- which means the whole apparent publicity stunt backfired. Cardoza said the man was repeatedly asked why he did it, and mostly just shook his head.

"He didn’t kind of elaborate or tell us why," Cardoza said.

It's somewhat in doubt whether the man was actually heaving the tube steak at Woods. He told authorities that it flew out of his hand while he was running onto the green. The man was from Santa Rosa, located about two hours north of San Jose, which is a long drive for the purposes of flinging tube steak at the most heavily guarded athlete in the Bay Area.

Especially one that cost a stiff $5 at the concession stand.

The man never actually got within range of Woods, who was perhaps 40 feet away.

"The hot dog flew across Tiger's line and into my line," playing partner Arjun Atwal cracked.

Atwal, one of Woods' best friends, was bewildered that the guy was dumb enough to try to stunt in the first place. Nobody was certain of his intentions or what he had in his hands. He underscored the brief tension in fairly dramatic fashion.

"That guy could have gotten shot," Atwal said.

To their credit, security reacted very quickly, especially given the throng of fans following Woods. Fred Albers of XM Radio said he heard someone in the security crew yell, "Go, go, go," as soon as the man appeared, and he was immediately corralled.

"Next thing I know, he laid on the ground, and looked like he wanted to be arrested, really, because he laid on the ground, put his hands behind his back and turned his head," Woods said.

"When he started making the commotion and the gallery started to kind of get into it, I could hear the security behind me, I was still bent over my putt. When I looked up [it] was already in the air. The bun was kind of disintegrating there."

So did the hot dog. Bun and weiner went their separate different ways.

Cardoza said the guy seemed to realize what a boneheaded stunt he had pulled.

"He just kind of shook his head, in guilt, or remorse," Cardoza said.

The weiner toss took much of the attention away from Woods' play, which for the first two hours was as good as it's been in months. He had five birdies on the front nine and was on the cusp of cracking the top 10 before picking up as couple of bogeys on the back nine.

"How good was that?" Atwal said. "He's close, I think. He looked so good the first seven holes. Awesome. He just needs to keep playing and everything will get sorted out."

Rod Pampling, the third member of the group, said he got the sense that Woods has sorted through some of the cobwebs in his noggin, too.

"Mentally, he looked like he was really in the game," the Australian veteran said. "He used to beat you with his head. He was definitely on it early on. It was all the golf shots."

Woods, 35, is still performing well below the levels of his formidable past, but believes that the week was a step forward, not backward, like his three most recent starts. After the dust and dogs settled, Woods finished a mediocre T30 in a watered-down field.

"It's getting there," he said. "It's a process. I don't know what the end is. You know, that's one of those things when the career is all said and done, then you know.

"But I'm in the midst of it and I know I'm getting better and that's the tough part."

This one might miss by a wider margin than the original hot dog heave itself, but if he keeps progressing at this clip, Woods might actually accomplish his primary objective since his game and life spiraled out of control and he slipped to No. 51 in the world ranking.

You know.

To ketchup to the other guys.

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