What I'll Remember About 2013: My day with the legends of golf

November 25, 2013
By D.J. Piehowski, PGATOUR.COM

PGATOUR.COM asked its staffers and writers what they will remember about the 2013 season. For the archived list of essays and a complete review of the season, click here.

Take a minute and think back to this spring, which in Internet time, admittedly feels like 1981.

Remember that EA SPORTS video of Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer that was circulating? The two legends are outnumbered by gang members, a fist-fight breaks out and Lee Trevino ziplines in at the end to save the day (and the Wanamaker Trophy).

Nearly 5 million people have watched that video on YouTube, but I’d put my viewing experience up against any of theirs. For an afternoon in February, I was on-site at the South Florida airplane hangar in which they filmed the commercial, watching Tiger, Arnie and Trevino doing take after take, rehearsing punches, kicks, bodyslams and one-liners -- the acting equivalent of hitting 3 hours worth of 2-irons.

I’d never met Mr. Palmer before and I’d only seen him in person the last few years at Bay Hill. He’s shorter than the man in all those highlight videos, but that seems to be the only place where the legend strays from reality. Throughout the day, Palmer, who had flown down for the day with his personal pilot, made everyone involved in the project thankful to be there. He was telling jokes, making small talk and even apologizing at one point and asking a stunt man if he’d gotten a little too aggressive with one of his punches. Believe it or not, the young man was fine.

The whole commercial shoot was organized to celebrate the new Legends Mode of EA SPORTS Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 -- so the trip wouldn’t have been complete without talking to the guy whose name was on the game for the past 16 years. This was the third time Tiger and I had sat down for a one-on-one interview and, I don’t mean to brag, but the shaking in my hands was down to what I’d categorize as ‘Barely Noticeable.’

Whenever he’s talking about the video game, Tiger, a gamer himself, seems to light up. During our talk, he told me his plans for when the new Legends Mode was released: “I’m playing against Hogan or Jack and we’re either playing St. Andrews or Augusta.” He also filled me in on one of his more interesting game-play habits.

“I never play as myself. It’s too weird.”

Woods and EA SPORTS announced earlier this year that they were ending their partnership, which dates back to 1999. About the final release, which allows gamers to play Augusta National as it looked in 1934 for the first Masters, Trevino said, “It’s like bringing back a ‘55 Chevy. Most people will never ever have the opportunity to see one the way it looked back then.”

Next time I’m recalling my day with these three legends of golf, I might have to borrow that line.