Round with Tiger is a hole lotta fun

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

It may not be the toughest hole at Magna Golf Club, but at 523 yards the par-5 was long enough yesterday to tee up a Canadian club pro with a moment he won't soon forget.

The dogleg and the rest of the back nine of the Aurora course gave Kevin Thistle a thrill that will be tough for his members at Angus Glen Golf Club -- and anyone else he golfs with for that matter -- to match.

Thistle was one of eight golfers who got the chance to play nine holes with Tiger Woods at an exclusive charity event.

Both Woods and Thistle hit the 14th green in two to set up a shot at eagle. But just 20 feet from the flag, Thistle found his ball inside the world's No. 1-ranked golfer.

"That's the only time I'll be able to say that in my life," Thistle, a longtime CPGA professional and the general manager at Angus Glen, said last night. "But I didn't make the putt."

As much of a treat as it will be to tell that story through the years, Thistle said he was struck more with the personality of one of the world's most famous athletes than his ability.

"He's a great guy, very personable and fun to play with," Thistle said. "He'd yell at you if you hit a good shot and yell at you if you hit a bad shot. He was out there enjoying himself, just like playing with your regular foursome."

Hardly. To get the chance to play with Woods, the two fortunate foursomes reportedly shelled out $150,000 per group.

A total of 72 invited guests, most from Woods' sponsors such as Nike, American Express and General Motors, raised $350,000 for the Tiger Woods Foundation and Canadian junior golf.

Thistle said that Woods was two-under par on Magna's back nine "and hardly even looked it."

Dressed in shorts and sporting a goatee, a relaxed Woods told jokes and asked about the families of his partners, which in Thistle's group included Angus Glen founder, Gordon Stollery.

"(Tiger) loves joking around and was in a great frame of mind," Thistle said. "He just seemed like a genuine sort of guy. The best way I could describe it is he was a great human being.

"He asked about my kids and life in general. No one was uptight. Tiger didn't care how we hit it or how he hit it. He wasn't just out there going through the motions."

Woods arrived at the the swank playpen created by Magna International boss Frank Stronach for an early breakfast. He then entertained guests with a clinic in which he poked fun at fellow players Mike Weir and Vijay Singh, before teeing off.

He also regaled the crowd of his memorable, 218-yard 6-iron from a bunker on Glen Abbey's 18th hole to seal a victory in the 2000 Bell Canadian Open.

By mid-afternoon Woods was whisked away with an OPP escort to a local airport and headed to Chicago where he will play in the Western Open beginning on Thursday.

"I saw some unique golf shots and some really good ones," Woods told CTV. "I was just out there telling jokes and having a good time. Out there rapping."

And making a few memories while he was at it.


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