2008 NEWS

2008 News > 3/4/08

BRAVES BRAVE LINKS AGAINST TIGER

By Tom Singer, MLB.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Tiger Woods is off to a great -- even for him -- start on the links in 2008, three-for-three in tournaments after that blowout win at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Phoenix.

Needless to say, the Atlanta Braves in Woods' Monday foursome did not snap his winning streak.

"We got him maybe on a couple of holes. The other 16, he was pretty good," deadpanned Tom Glavine, relishing the leading springtime perk of his return to the Braves after five camps with the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Old Woods pal John Smoltz, still-wide-eyed youngster Jeff Francoeur and Glavine teed it up with Woods on Monday afternoon, playing the gentlemen's game at Isleworth while the Braves were playing America's game in Port St. Lucie.

The three were not in the traveling party for the Grapefruit League game against the Mets. Instead, following a morning workout at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, they switched to irons and smaller balls.

"We went hole-to-hole match play, Glavine said. "Didn't really keep score."

Then Francoeur let the big striped cat out of the bag.

"Tiger shot a 66," Francoeur said. "Me? We won't go there."

Smoltz's rounds with Woods at Isleworth, the course on which Woods makes his home along with other tour pros, have been a regular Spring Training feature for many years.

Francoeur experienced the thrill for the first time last spring.

With fond memories of golf outings with Smoltz and Woods prior to his 2003 detour to New York, the chance to revive this tradition was special for Glavine.

"It's the kind of stuff you don't really worry about when you're considering what might happen [concerning shopping for a team] but, certainly, once you're here and get to do it, it's special," said Glavine.

"It's one of the nicest perks. I've had a chance to play with [Woods] a couple of times. He's OK. He'll get by."

Any sports fan would love to be a bug in the grass as these four world-class athletes stroll the greens -- Smoltz, Glavine and Francoeur visiting Woods' world.

"Yeah, there's quite a bit of ragging going on," Francoeur beamed. "Tiger ... he knows how good he is. And he doesn't mind occasionally reminding us."

The baseball players, Francoeur in particular, could have one good comeback against Woods: They swing better in his game than he does in theirs.

A perfectionist who has devoted his lifetime to mastering golf, Woods is considered challenged when it comes to other sports. That might be the reason the Braves ballplayers have never reciprocated his invitations to hit the course.

Woods isn't likely to pop up in camp, taking batting practice. Can't (batting) cage this Tiger.