The news hit like a bolt over Thanksgiving weekend: Tiger Woods ... engaged to marry the lovely and delicate Swedish flower, Elin Nordegren.
The romantics among us swooned: Ah, young love. There is no power on Earth to deny it.
The realists among us sighed: Marriage? What is he, nuts? Guy's richer than God, has nobody nagging him to take out the garbage and can play video games as long as he wants? Yo, T.W., did Earl forget to teach you the key-to-survival drinking toast? You know, "Here's to seeing double, sleeping triple and ALWAYS staying single."
|Talk about a slump: Tiger will wake up to Elin's same face every morning.|
Whatever your take, the details of matrimony now take center stage: Renting the local Elks Lodge for the reception; hiring a D.J. who has the eternal wedding favorite "Electric Slide" in his repertoire; deciding on buffet vs. individual servings; and, of course, whether the bar will be hosted or not.
The last decision, no doubt, hinges on whether Fuzzy Zoeller gets an invite.
We here at Page 2 thought we'd save the Double E's -- Eldrick and Elin -- a little trouble and plan some of the Wedding Details for them.
Page 2 as Wedding Planner ... and you thought we didn't care about anything not named Anna or Britney.
Shame on you.
We can tear up at a wedding just as fast as the next guy.
In John Daly's case, we tear up at four weddings just as fast as the next guy.
Forthwith, then, some Officially Unsolicited Advice and Predictions for the Golf Wedding of the 21st Century -- or until the Vijay-Annika rumors become official.
The Wedding Party
BEST MAN: Steve "Stevie" Williams, New Zealand
Analysis: What better honor for the big Kiwi and faithful caddie? He can serve so many purposes. He can wipe the wedding rings thoroughly with a white towel as the happy couple stands at the altar. He can whip out a yardage book to estimate the length of Elin's walk down the aisle. And, when a tearful guest in the chapel whips out a disposable camera in the midst of the vows so as to record photos for posterity, Stevie can punctuate the romantic moment by bellowing, "NO CAMERAS, PLEASE! NO CAMERAS!" at the key moment.
MAID OF HONOR: Tida Woods
|The two women in Tiger's life: Kutilda, his mother, and fiancee Elin Nordegren.|
Analysis: Sure, Elin has many lifelong girlfriends from her hometown in Sweden. But if Elin knows what's best for all involved, she gives Mother-in-Law the nod. 'Nuff said.
GROOMSMEN: Tom Kite, David Duval, Retief Goosen, Ernie Els, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Phil Mickelson, Thomas Bjorn, Sergio Garcia, Bob May
Analysis: A hefty party of nine, yes. And what do these men have in common? Aha! Each has finished runner-up or co-runner-up to Tiger at a major championship! You can see Tiger pulling each one aside for the big question.
"Tom/David/Retief/Ernie/Miguel/Phil/Thomas/Sergio/Bob ... you're each accustomed to lurking sadly in the shadows, applauding me in my moments of triumph, grinning for me as I accept adulation and attention. Would you do me the honor of repeating all of the acts I've cited by being one of my groomsmen?"
MATRONS OF HONOR: None.
Analysis: Once Tida rides shotgun for you, there's no need to fill out a wedding party. 'Nuff said.
Tiger and Elin, as a modern couple, refuse to be bound by the constraints of one store's gift list. So take a gander at the many items for which they've registered at various locales. (Note: Gifts that have been purchased already have been so marked.)
Couple: Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods
Wedding date: TBA
||Where to purchase
|"No Fat Chicks" Matching T-shirts
||Augusta National Golf Club
|Forty Million Dollars
||Forty Million Dollars
||Purchased. By Phil Knight
(friend of groom)
|Dartboard featuring mug of Vijay Singh
||A sporting goods store near you
|Red shirt, female
|Titleist driver to replace Nike driver
|New Nike driver to replace Titleist driver which replaced Nike driver
|Job status of original Nike driver designer
||Purchased. By Phil Knight
(friend of groom)
|Book, "101 Bland Things to Say to the Media to Ensure You Never Piss Off Your Corporate Sponsors."
||Purchased. By Michael Jordan (friend of groom)
|Whoopee Cushion that replicates noise of flatulence
||Purchased. By Charles Barkley (friend of groom)
|Book, "Fifty Ways to Cook Rock Soup: A Swedish Guide to the Kitchen."
||Purchased. By Annika Sorenstam (friend of bride and groom)
The Rehearsal Dinner Toast
GIVEN BY: Earl Woods, father of groom
TEXT: "I tried to tell my boy that marriage will make him lose his focus. But does he listen to his Pops? Nope. (Uncomfortable silence). I told him: 'Play the field, boy. Enjoy your fame.' (More uncomfortable silence.) Listen, he's not even halfway to Jack's total of 18 majors, and now he wants to get married? Hell, Gandhi never got married ... (More uncomfortable silence before Ernie Els leaps to his feet to save the moment.)
TEXT OF ELS' SAVE: "Beautiful speech, Earl! And now, a toast to the beautiful couple on the eve of their big day!"
MINISTER: Byron Nelson
Analysis: He may not be ordained, but he's Lord Byron. American sports can produce few images as soothing as 90-something Byron in his overstuffed chair, smiling down on today's youth, giving his blessings of happiness.
TEXT OF NELSON'S GENTLE SPEECH TO THE YOUNG COUPLE AT THE ALTAR: "Tiguh, Elin ... it warms my heart to see young love like this. It gives me hope for the future -- specifically that you, Tiguh, will play in the 2004 Byron Nelson Invitational presented by Verizon at Las Colinas Resort in Irving, Texas. Now, if you'll just sign this official commitment-to-play sheet, we'll get on with the ceremony ... "
|Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren will likely get married in Sweden, though a date has not been set.|
READING: Given by Jack Nicklaus
TEXT: (Clearing throat, dramatic pause) "The 1971 PGA Championship. The 1972 Masters. The 1972 U.S. Open. The 1973 PGA Championship. The 1975 Masters. The 1975 PGA Championship. The 1978 British Open. The 1980 U.S. Open. The 1980 PGA Championship. (Long pause). The 1986 Masters."
Analysis: Elin turns to Tiger and says: "What was that? I thought he was supposed to read the 'Love is not jealous' thing from the Bible! What the hell was that?"
Tiger, in hushed tones, responds: "I know. I wasn't expecting that. It was a list of his last 10 major championships, from majors nine through 18. I only have 8. His message to me, on my wedding day: 'You may be eating cake, pal, but I'm still the sheriff 'round these parts'."
Elin's response: "Wow. Heavy stuff."
Tiger: "Jack doesn't play around, baby. Let's just enjoy Minister Byron and forget about it."
MENU: Meatballs and Baltic herring
Analysis: As per custom, the bride's family hosts the reception. They dial up some Swedish specialties.
GUESTS ENJOYING MENU: Zero
Analysis: Sweden is a beacon for its progressive politics, its national health care and its winter wonderland. Nobody ever said anything about its food, man.
|Phil often leaves us scratching our own heads.|
Analysis: A Swedish fave! When "Dancing Queen" hits, the adorable Amy Mickelson holds court in the center of the dance floor. All are pleased, until later, when ABBA's "Take a Chance on Me" plays, and Amy's hubby Phil, feeling the moment, shrieks: "My theme song on the golf course!" His dance moves are, regrettably, not soon forgotten by those who witness them.
GIFTS FOR GUESTS: Mini-bucket of range balls
Analysis: Awwww ... how cute. Instead of the green stripe around the ball, the range balls are inscribed "Tiger and Elin: 2Gether 4Ever."
FIRST DANCE: "Our Love is Here to Stay," sung by Lisa Ekdahl
Analysis: What, you thought Page 2 was nothing but savage mockery? We can get sentimental with the best. The Gershwin classic, as sung by the Swedish Ella Fitzgerald, reminds us all that Tiger and Elin are embarking on a lifelong friendship and love affair. All who witness it are moved. Tida weeps because her baby boy is all grown up. Elin's parents weep because their little girl is all grown up. Earl weeps for reasons he prefers not to disclose.
Mickelson weeps because he pulled a groin muscle during his "Take a Chance on Me" dance.
And Page 2 can't wait for our invite to the Big Day!
Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes every Monday for Page 2.