Woods makes waves in Michigan

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The Independent Online
"I now know who the fifth Beatle was," a veteran reporter said after a tightly controlled news conference with Tiger Woods on the eve of the Buick Open at Warwick Hills, Michigan.

Such is the fevered anticipation surrounding the young golfer's appearance that security has been almost doubled from past years. More than 100,000 spectators will make their way around the course between now and Sunday, the lure of Tigermania drawing them to the event that has perhaps the strongest field in its history.

Mark Brooks, who will defend his PGA Championship next week at Winged Foot, is here. So is Ernie Els, the US Open champion. And Justin Leonard, who won the Open three weeks ago, happens to be the defending Buick Open champion, too.

Yet the man monopolising the pre-tournament hype is, typically, the 21- year-old Woods.

Understandably, he is, a little fazed by the fuss. "Nothing prepared me for this," Woods said, "and I've been in the media since I was three- years-old."

Even his early practice round did not pass quietly. "It's weird when you get 1,000 people following you when it's 7.30 in the morning," Woods said. "Because, I'll guarantee you, I'd be in bed asleep at that hour if I didn't have to play."