Originally created 02/11/00

Change is Woods' lucky charm



SAN DIEGO -- Most guys on a hot streak won't change their underwear.

Tiger Woods is not most guys. When he hit town trying to defend a title and keep alive the greatest run golf has witnessed in a half-century, he'd changed more than his outfit.

He had a new caddie, too. His name is Bryon Bell, and behind the change is one of those feel-good stories you have to hope doesn't end badly.

Bell wound up on the bag at last year's Buick Invitational after Woods fell out with his regular caddie at the time, Fluff Cowan. Bell and Woods had been pals since junior high, just up the road in Anaheim. Woods saw it as opportunity to put a few dollars in the pocket of a buddy who was then trying to get into medical school.

Against the odds, they won. Perhaps even more amazing, Woods felt good enough about the victory to let his regular caddie, Steve Williams, take the week off to go race cars in New Zealand.

"I'd feel uncomfortable with anyone else on the bag," Woods said a day earlier, after he and Bell staked out Torrey Pines by playing the pro-am event. "He has the right to defend his title, too."

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