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Tiger has PGA Championship abuzz

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. -- When Tiger Woods walked onto the practice range at 2:50 p.m. Tuesday -- about nine hours later than usual -- fans instantly chanted his first name and club pros in the field at the PGA Championship took photos of him with their iPhones.

When he and Arjun Atwal were done with their nine holes at 5:35, he walked across the practice green and all the pros, caddies and coaches stopped what they were doing to watch him go past.

The point is, the Steve Williams Episode at the Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday only sparked the interest in the golfer who never stopped being compelling after he stopped being dominant on the course. In fact, Atlanta Athletic Club had been buzzing about him well before he arrived.

Woods still can dominate a news conference -- even someone else's news conference. From the very first question, Adam Scott was asked repeatedly about being upstaged by comments from Williams, his caddie and Woods' former caddie, after Scott won the Bridgestone.

"Well, I certainly don't think that was his intention, to steal my moment, at all. He was asked these questions and he gave his honest answer," Scott said. "Hopefully, we'll just go out and let our clubs do the talking for the rest of the week now."

Scott was asked about the harsh nature of Williams' comments about Woods just after the pair came off the 18th green.

"I think it's been blown out of proportion," Scott said. "Steve was obviously delighted to win, as was I."

Williams' comments Sunday about having been sacked by Woods and carrying Scott's winning bag in Woods' return from injuries kept resounding. Lee Westwood, in his news conference, said: "I thought there was no relevance to the interview other than to have a good dig at Tiger Woods, in the ribs . . . It's blatantly obvious that he's a fantastic caddie because he has won with all different kinds of players. I just didn't see the point of putting him on TV."

The caddie did appear to have second thoughts. Reached on his cell phone, Williams told The Associated Press he was caught off guard when the media came up to interview him after Scott's win.

"It's very unusual for TV to put a microphone in front of a caddie's face," he said. "There was a lot of emotion and anger that came out. It wasn't meant to offend anyone."

Woods will have his chance for a rebuttal in his news conference Wednesday. Given his track record of steering clear of controversies, he likely will not fire back at Williams.

Fans seemed happy just to see Woods. After he had left, a spectator shouted to Atwal, "So where is Tiger having dinner tonight?" And Atwal, Woods' friend and usual practice partner, said, "Yeah, I'd tell you."

New York Sports