There is One Tiger Woods, and Dozens of Hopefuls

I Am Not Tiger Woods.

This has been apparent to golfers since the world's No. 1 player cut his famous Nike commercial 12 years ago. Although the ad played to his connection to galleries diverse in age, ethnicity and social and economic backgrounds, golfers of all stripes quickly discovered they can hardly associate their games with his.

"If you ever get half as good as Tiger, you'd be a pretty good golfer," PGA Tour pro Geoff Ogilvy said last year when Woods won seven times, captured his 13th major, at the PGA Championship, and won the inaugural FedExCup playoffs.

"We almost expect him to win all the tournaments that he's playing," frequent practice round partner, good friend and colleague Charles Howell III said last week.

As Woods tees off at 2:02 p.m. ET Wednesday (2-6 p.m., Golf Channel) in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz., near Tucson, he's firing on all cylinders again. He has won five of his last six Tour events and seven of his last eight tournaments worldwide. Dating to the 2006 British Open, he has won 17 of 27 events.

He's playing so well that when he blitzed the field by eight shots at the Buick Invitational in San Diego in his 2008 debut, talk of an undefeated season started percolating. Woods, who will play 16-18 Tour events this year, even has declared the Grand Slam to be "easily within reach."

"Besides a 155-foot yacht, homes all over the place and a great quality of life, I'd like to have his determination, focus, work ethic, will to win and will not to lose," close friend and Champions Tour player John Cook says.

Here's what others desire:

His long game

"I want his driving distance," LPGA star Natalie Gulbis says. "I would probably drive half of the greens, reach all the par-5s in two. I'd putt for a lot of eagles."

Actor and comedian Mark Curry, formerly of the 1990s sitcom Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, would like to hang with Woods off the tee.

"If you're golfing, and you're in front of a crowd, you want that first drive from the first tee to be awe-inspiring," Curry says. "Four hundred yards! Who cares about the rest of the game? Wind it up and whack that baby!"

Daniel "Kid Poker" Negreanu, who has won three bracelets in the World Series of Poker, agrees.

"I hit the ball like the vegetarian that I am, so I would love to have his 3-wood and his long irons," he says. "It would make the game so much easier. I wouldn't have to play from the forward tees anymore."

His work ethic

No one outworked Hall of Famer Lee Trevino. Same goes for Woods.

"He gets his confidence from hard work, and that is how I got mine," says Trevino, who won six majors. "The harder Tiger works, the more he expects to win. With his talent, he's unstoppable."

Nearly unstoppable. Mike Weir, who won the 2003 Masters, beat Woods in singles at last year's Presidents Cup.

"He's always working to get better, and I would love to have the strength of his mind and determination," Weir says. "I have it somewhat, I think, which is part of the reason I've been successful. But Tiger has taken it to a different level."

His mind

"I love Tiger's competitiveness, dedication and determination," says basketball Hall of Famer Rick Barry, who has won long-driving contests. "How many athletes who have been recognized as the best in the world have changed their games not once but twice" to improve?

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