Tiger Woods spent Tuesday at Colonial Country Club, marking the first visit to the venue by the world’s top-ranked golfer since he competed in 1997 at Fort Worth’s annual PGA Tour stop.
Woods joined fellow tour players who use Nike Golf equipment in shooting commercials for the manufacturer at Colonial. During his brief but overnight stay in Fort Worth, Woods toured the revamped course layout with Kel Devlin, a Colonial member who is Nike Golf’s global sports marketing director. He also visited with Peter Ripa, tournament director for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
“He said Fort Worth has changed a lot and he liked what he saw,” Ripa said today. “We loved having him here and we were excited he was on the property.”
Ripa said Woods’ visit, a well-guarded secret known only to a handful of club members, included a Monday night stay at The Ashton Hotel, a Monday jog downtown and a Monday dinner at Del Frisco’s Steakhouse before an all-day commercial shoot Tuesday at Colonial. Woods departed Tuesday night.
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Ripa said he did not specifically ask Woods about the possibility of playing in the 2009 Colonial, scheduled May 25-31. Because Woods is still rehabilitating from knee surgery in June and is unclear when he will rejoin the tour, Ripa said: “I don’t see him adding events in 2009. But this is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Ripa said having Woods on site, where he saw off-season course tweaks that stretched the layout to 7,204 yards, “can only help” in efforts to get Woods back in a future Colonial field. Another potential asset, said Ripa, is Woods’ relationship with Nike Golf, which has its primary research-and-development center in Fort Worth.
“We made him know he was welcomed at Colonial, and in Fort Worth as well,” Ripa said. “We’re tickled he had the opportunity to be here.”