WINDERMERE, Fla. -- This doesn't happen every day, trust me.
When I came home from work on Tuesday night, the little woman asked how my day went.
"Well, I shook hands and spoke with a billionaire today," I said.
And no, it wasn't Tiger Woods. Even Tee-Dub doesn't have that much cash -- yet.
The rich man in question was Joe Lewis, the host and creator of the Tavistock Cup matches between his two private Orlando clubs, Isleworth and Lake Nona. For those who thought Lewis might stage this Tavistock on the cheap given his recent financial setback, well, you were dead wrong.
For those who don't read the business section, Lewis lost a staggering $1 billion this month in the Bear Stearns fiasco, which had some wondering if they would be serving cold cuts for lunch at the invitation-only Tavistock soiree on Monday and Tuesday at Isleworth. Not exactly.
Try lobster claws the size of Chris Di'Marco's grip.
"I guess he's not out of money," DiMarco mused.
That was doubly evident Monday, when Lewis dispatched a deputy to Doral, where most of the his Tavistock Cup roster was completing play in the rain-delayed CA Championship in Miami. Lewis had three separate jets standing by to fly the players to Orlando -- a 3 1/2-hour drive by car for us civilians -- in order to make their Tavistock tee times in the afternoon. The Tavistock aide was directing the caddies, wives and players like a traffic cop.
Then there was the T-Cup tea party on Monday night. Woods, who had his five-event PGA Tour winning streak snapped earlier in the day, turned out in decidedly casual attire to attend a Roman-themed party that might have set a new standard for excess. Caligula himself would have been proud, attendees reported.
The party featured scantily clad dancing girls and females giving sensual massages to other females. The attire for the women on stage ranged from not much to hardly any, some in attendance reported.
"It was better than a night at Rachel's," said one male who attended the private bash, a reference to a high-end Orlando strip joint. "It was way more exotic."
Along with a slew of big-name golfers and athletes who live at the club, former Florida governor Jeb Bush was in attendance.
Lewis, who habitually eschews the media limelight, was seated in the private grandstand situated behind the 18th green as play wound down on Tuesday night, watching his star-filled roster of players like Woods, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Justin Rose play Orlando's toughest track. Some media pundits have characterized the event as a monument to conspicuous consumption, and there's no question there are lots of rich graybeards and their trophy wives wandering around, but the tournament has also directed $4 million to charity in its five years, too.
As the players rolled in, then the sun began dropping below the trees.
"It was getting cold over there in the shade, so I thought I might come over here in the sun where it's nice and warm," Lewis said with a smile, after shaking my extended hand.
He was still standing there a few moments later, watching proudly as players like Ian Poulter and Rose hosed each other down with bottles of champagne. Even though he hit a cold spell financially, Lewis is still bringing the heat in the boutique event he formulated.