Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Where Dreams Take Flight

The enduring memory of the 1999 PGA Championship played at Medinah may not be Tiger Woods' second career major championship victory but Sergio Garcia's spectacular eyes-closed shot from against a red oak tree to the right of the 16th fairway.
That was the one where Sergio took off like Edwin Moses, leaping into the air to see where his shot landed and, in the process, became a star.
So did the tree.
Since then, it's become a tourist attraction at Medinah, which is home to three courses and covers approximately as much acreage as Rhode Island.
Visitors playing Course No. 3 routinely go by the tree and at least take a practice swing from where Garcia stood. It gets so much action, the maintenance crew has to put down fresh sod a couple times a year.
The big tree, one of literally hundreds of gorgeous hardwoods on the property, is showing its age but has a few more years left, according to various reports.
Garcia stopped by there during his practice round this week, reacquainting himself with the tree.
Phil Mickelson, known to take a few chances in his time, said he never would have tried the shot Garcia hit.
"The shot he hit was just crazy," Mickelson said. "I would never try that. I think you should always pitch out to the middle of the fairway and hit an 8-iron on.
"What are these guys thinking nowadays?"