Tiger Woods stood next to the eighth tee box on Wednesday, staring down a cliff at the raging surf on another postcard day at Pebble Beach. Caddie Steve Williams came up from behind, grabbed his arms and pretended to toss him over.
It was one of several light moments leading up to today's first round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Woods' next stop on a PGA Tour winning streak that started in August and at times looks as if it may never end.
Williams might have given the rest of the field an idea _ throwing Woods over a cliff might be the best blueprint for stopping him.
Ernie Els played better in Hawaii and couldn't win. Miguel Angel Jimenez had a hometown crowd behind him _ and against Woods _ in Spain and couldn't pull it off.
"It's going to take somebody to stuff it in his face a couple of times coming down the stretch to knock him off," said Davis Love, who had his crack at Woods in the Tour Championship and finished four strokes behind.
A victory this week would be Woods' sixth straight on the PGA Tour _ the longest since Ben Hogan won six in 1948 _ and would move Woods closer to the record of 11 in a row set by Byron Nelson in 1945.
No one in the past 47 years has won this many in a row. A streak this long in today's era of so many talented players is bordering on absurd, but no one will say it's impossible _ not when it involves Woods.
"Everything you said wasn't quite possible, he has pretty much done," Love said.
Butch Harmon, Woods' coach the past seven years, has seen the swing evolve into a piece of art the past 20 months. What hasn't changed is Woods' desire to win, usually with style.
"He likes the theater," Harmon said. "He likes to be the man."
Pebble Beach is Woods' first tournament since he went eagle-birdie-birdie to win the Mercedes Championship over Els on the second playoff hole, his second event of the year.
A year ago, the late Payne Stewart won without hitting a shot in the final round, which was washed out by rain _ the third time in four years rain kept the tournament from going the distance.
Woods had planned to play with Michael Jordan, but that fell apart when Jordan bought part of the Washington Wizards and is in charge of basketball operations. Tournament organizers said Jordan didn't give a reason for withdrawing. The Wizards declined to comment.
"He can't get off work, even though he's the boss," Woods said.
Instead, Woods and Stanford buddy Jerry Chang will be partners, paired with Mark O'Meara and Ken Griffey.