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Bear of a Course Requires Tiger's Touch --Cagle

December 2008

Bits and Pieces

IT STARTED out pretty innocently for John Abel, a press operator from West Berlin, NJ. He entered a Buick contest last March in the unrealistic hope that he would win one of the top prizes, a new Buick automobile. He would give the car to his wife of 32 years, Roe.

Quite naturally, Abel didn’t win the shiny new wheels. He won one of the other prizes—nine caddied holes at a golf course in San Diego. At face value, half a round of golf and full caddy services doesn’t seem all that thrilling, and certainly doesn’t carry the punch of a new ride.

Unless, of course, that course is Torrey Pines South. And, the caddy is Tiger Woods.

Abel captured the top prize in Buick’s “Tee Off with Tiger” contest, which granted him a tour of the back nine at Torrey Pines South—scene of last year’s dramatic U.S. Open playoff—with the major’s defending champion himself driving the golf cart and playing the role of caddy. Woods has dominated Torrey, winning six Buick Invitational championships there.

In late October, Abel—a 59-year-old who reportedly only picked up the game in the last 10 years—got to live out the dream of any golf enthusiast by having Woods shepherd him around Torrey Pines. It was a bittersweet encounter for Abel.

Earlier this year, his mother, a huge fan of Tiger, died of kidney failure. The pressman also learned that the Deluxe Corp. facility where he works will be closed in February, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune—the second time Abel has been shut out of his printing livelihood by a closure.

So, in some respects, the new auto might have come in more handy. But Abel was more than pleased with his “consolation” prize.

“There’s no way you can compare this,” he told the Union-Tribune. “Thinking about it, you get to play a round with the No. 1 golfer in the world. You can always buy a car.”

One thing’s certain. Abel will get plenty of mileage out of his Tiger Woods stories.

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