Originally created 03/05/02

Tiger loses again, this time in video golf



NEW YORK -- Surrounded by a towering Ferris wheel and a roaring life-sized dinosaur instead of bunkers and water hazards, Tiger Woods came up short again.

The world's No. 1 golfer didn't seem to mind his latest defeats Monday, at the hands of two children who beat him on a video screen inside a giant toy store in Times Square.

Woods made the trek from Florida to New York late Sunday night after his final-day charge in the Genuity Championship wasn't enough to overtake Ernie Els.

That run nearly became the biggest final-round comeback in PGA Tour history. Woods turned an eight-stroke deficit into a close match against Els on the Blue Monster at Doral before losing by two strokes.

"He played great coming in, and I was just not able to put enough pressure on him," Woods said.

Although Woods said the rally was exciting, it's not the way he prefers to play.

"Give me the big lead anytime," Woods said to a different kind of gallery, filled with fans and shoppers spanning three floors at Toys 'R' Us. "I'd much rather have the lead than have to charge on Sunday. I had the chance to put a little heat on Ernie yesterday.

"Coming from behind gets the adrenaline going, but it's awfully tough to do."

Woods was promoting the release of a video game that bears his name and likeness. He played against 7-year-old Donnie Jerina, from Greensburg, Pa., and 10-year-old Scottie Marsh, from Alcoa, Tenn., who both suffer from life-threatening illnesses.

The children, both avid golfers and video-game players, made their requests to meet Woods through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Donnie has been waiting two years for the chance to meet his hero, and got the news two weeks ago that he was on his way. Once he got there, choosing a trip to New York over one to Orlando, Fla., he clearly made the most of it.

While Woods was being introduced to the crowd, he stood behind the boys - his hands resting on their shoulders.

As his numerous golf accomplishments were being read, Donnie - barely standing tall enough to reach the bottom edge of Woods' black leather jacket - turned his head back to look up at Tiger and said "Wow!"

Once it came time to play, however, Donnie and Scottie were all business.

Using the video courses of the TPC at Sawgrass and Pebble Beach, the kids - playing as Tiger - beat the real guy at his own game. Woods lost playing as Mark O'Meara.

"I don't play me because it's too weird," Woods said. "I get too weirded out. I usually like playing (Mark) O'Meara or someone like that, so I can be old and gray."

It was all in fun Monday. This time, it was Scottie who unleashed a Tiger-like fist pump when he won.

Woods didn't seem to carry any lingering disappointment from his second-place finish on Sunday that brought him $507,600 in winnings. It was Els' first victory on the PGA Tour in 18 months.

"Ernie and I are great friends," Woods said. "I've known Ernie since I was 17 and he's always been a great friend of mine. We have dinner all the time together. He just wasn't going to be denied this time."

Just like Donnie and Scottie.