Fairway iron chef
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist

Demonstrating once again just how much better he is than every other golfer, Tiger Woods won the Bay Hill Invitational last weekend despite a nasty case of food poisoning. And not only did he win the tournament, he actually extended his lead by six strokes in between trips to the Port-a-john.

Elin Nordegren
If this was your girlfriend, she could feed you broken glass and you'd be happy.
Having raised golf's limbo bar still higher, here are the handicaps Tiger will play under the rest of the season:

  • The Players Championship: Will expose himself to measles after the first round. Then win by eight strokes.
  • The Masters: Will play the first two rounds in high heels and the final two rounds in a Hooters' costume. Then win by 11 strokes.
  • The U.S. Open: Will contract mononucleosis "just for the heck of it,'' then play the final two rounds using a shovel, a rake and a weed-whacker. Then beat Phil Mickelson in a playoff.
  • The British Open: Will expose himself to weapons of mass destruction, then play the entire tournament in a HazMat uniform. And win by three strokes.
  • The Greater Hartford Open: Will play with Mickelson's irons. Then lose by one stroke.
  • The Buick Open: Will play a specially "Tiger-proofed'' course, then win by a stroke when he sinks a 45-putt between the twirling windmill blades, under the barn door, through the Great Emancipator's legs and into the clown's mouth.
  • The PGA Championship: During the first round, will allow one photographer to snap one photo during his backswing. Then fail to make the cut.
  • Elin Nordegren
    Tiger may be the ultimate competitor, but he's no match for Elin.
    Tiger received the case of food poisoning, of course, after eating a bad plate of pasta cooked by his girlfriend, Elin Nordegren. The previous day, Nordegren came down with food poisoning so severe Tiger had to take her to the hospital for dehydration. Food poisoning on back-to-back days? And this woman once was someone's nanny? Boy, she must have been some treat for the kids.

    PARENT: How were the children tonight, Elin? Give you any trouble?

    ELIN: Ya sure, you betcha. The children make vomit all night.

    PARENT: What, again?

    ELIN: Maybe you think Elin should cook the meat from now on?

    The past weekend is just the sort of incident that could break up a lot of relationships but I suspect Tiger and Elin will survive. Sure, Tiger was violently ill for awhile. Sure, he spent the night tossing up his fettuccini. Sure, he had to duckwalk around the course the next day. But the thing to remember is that after his stomach settled and he finally stopped vomiting, you know Elin was going to do whatever it took to make it up to him (I'm thinking something heavy on massage and aromatherapy).

    After all, when Tiger first spotted Elin, I doubt if his first question to Jesper Parnevik was whether she could cook a mean Swedish Kottbullar.

    ELIN: Hello, Tiger! How vas your day?

    TIGER: Oh, the same as usual. Stayed on the fairway, hit all my greens, sank all my putts, won by 12. What did you do today?

    ELIN: Elin spent the day in the kitchen cooking a special surprise dinner for just the two of us.

    Tiger Woods
    This is an obligatory photo of Tiger, we had to show this ...
    TIGER: [WINCING] Oh, gee, Elin. That's ... terrific. I just ... love your cooking. But remember what we discussed after last time?

    ELIN: That is why Elin wait until after the final round, just like Tiger said. Now taste this pickled herring with gravlax sauce that Elin found in Grammy Nordegren's recipe book.

    TIGER: [GAGGING] Gosh baby, that is ... delicious. But you know something, Phil and I stopped for a bite to eat on the way home and I'm stuffed.

    ELIN: Uh, that vhat Tiger alvays say. But you don't fool Elin. Elin know you can't resist her Zwedish Meat Cabbage Rolls and her Zwedish Prune Whip Dessert.

    Face it. When your girlfriend looks like Elin, you're willing to overlook a few cases of botulism.

    And in the bracket of dangerous girlfriends/stalkers/significant others, Elin doesn't even make it to the Sweet 16. Elin beats Mariah Carey in the first round, but she gets smoked by Robin Givens, who loses at the buzzer to Harriet Bird (the chick who shoots Roy Hobbs in "The Natural''), who falls to Tawny Kitaen, who loses in double-overtime to Left-Eye.

    In fact, the Food Network could parlay this incident into a popular new show. Replace Jamie Oliver with Elin Nordegren as the Naked Chef, and it won't matter what recipe she prepares, it will be the highest rated show on television.

    ELIN: Today, Elin show you how to make Tiger most favorite dish -- "Eat This Lefty, Seafood Fettuccine.'' Elin alvays cooks this before a tournament. Easy very cheap. You just need pasta, créme and day-old seafood."

    Elin Nordegren
    ... This is more like it, we apologize for the interruption.
    All of which brings up the crucial question. What would you be willing to eat knowing that Elin would make it up to you after you finally stopped vomiting?

    a) Salmon fettuccini that has been left on the counter for four days in the middle of summer;

    b) A Big Gulp-sized shake made from milk that went bad last August;

    c) Improperly prepared fugo puffer fish;

    d) Three-day old liver from a cow that died from Mad Cow's Disease;

    e) A Filet o' Fish sandwich just off the grill.

    The answer, I'm afraid, is all of the above. Frankly, given the chance to meet Elin, most guys not only would risk food poisoning, they wouldn't even pause at cannibalism.

    Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.





    IRON CHEF

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