Like anyone else who follows sports these days, North Carolina coach Roy Williams is getting distracted from his day job thanks to the Tiger Woods comeback tour.
“My opening statement is that Tiger Woods just birdied a hole,” Williams said Thursday when he took the podium here before North Carolina’s NCAA tournament opener against Lipscomb. “He’s the sole leader now at 4-under par through 16 holes. That’s all I got. He double-bogeyed a hole, too. He’s 4-under with a double bogey.”
Woods actually didn’t finish with the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, sitting a stroke behind Jimmy Walker after shooting 68.
But Williams is such a big fan of Woods, he was getting updates on the round sent to his phone and stopped his news conference halfway through to see if he had made another birdie. Instead, Williams joked, it was a former player asking for tickets.
“I’m a huge fan,” Williams said. “Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, to me, are the guys that I really have a great deal of respect for because they were the best and nobody had better focus, nobody had better work habits and all that. I’m amazed by those kind of guys.”
Williams, an avid golfer and fan of the sport, said he has met Woods once before and spoken with him on the phone but was beginning to lose hope that he’d be able to come back and compete at a high level on the PGA Tour.
“He’s surprised me,” Williams said. “I never thought he would get back here. I really didn’t. I did not have the faith.”