ORLANDO, Fla. -- As nearly ever fan already knows, not to mention every law enforcement official in Central Florida, Tiger Woods didn't end up playing at Bay Hill this year after all.
That didn't mean the loudmouths stayed home or that the security contingent could relax.
On the final hole of his Saturday round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Phil Mickelson was heckled repeatedly and mercilessly by a beer-toting fan along the gallery ropes near the tee, to the point where caddie Jim Mackay had to personally appeal to the guy to show some class.
The fan repeatedly yelled an unflattering term at Mickelson, prompting Mackay to walk about 20 yards over to the ropes, where the man stood alongside several other fans. When the man made a similarly rude remark to Mackay, the longtime caddie -- who has frequently interceded on behalf of Lefty's playing partners when fans have hecked them over the years -- asked PGA Tour security to intercede.
Tour security official Bill Tucker and a uniformed Orange County Sheriffs deputy gave the fan an earful after Mickelson teed off. Mickelson, to his credit, smiled throughout the incident and never remotely gave the guy the satisfaction of getting under his skin.
Though it was over in a matter of two or three minutes, the incident made witnesses and the security assigned to Mickelson's wonder aloud what sort of verbal assault Woods could face when he returns, given the scandal that has dogged him and alienated fans for the past four months.