The Forecaddie: Ron Harper reunites with Tiger Woods and reflects at Firestone

AKRON, OH - AUGUST 05: Tiger Woods walks through the crowd during the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational - Final Round at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 5, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Forecaddie: Ron Harper reunites with Tiger Woods and reflects at Firestone

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The Forecaddie: Ron Harper reunites with Tiger Woods and reflects at Firestone

Tiger Woods played a practice round with Zach Johnson and Phil Mickelson the day before the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, sneaking in a quick nine holes after arriving Wednesday morning in Akron, Ohio.

He never played the back nine ahead of the opening round, but we hear he’s had a little bit of success in previous years here.

Later he snuck under the ropes off the ninth green and was immediately mobbed by a group of autograph seekers. He didn’t seem to mind, walking calmly among the chaos.

The Forecaddie was there to take it all in, and he noticed a familiar face towering over the rest of the crowd – five-time NBA champion Ron Harper. A key piece of the Chicago Bulls dynasty, Harper apparently loves golf like former teammate Michael Jordan and has known Woods for years.

Harper tells The Man Out Front how they first met, and he’s been playing close attention ever since.

“When he first turned pro I was at Michael’s house and Tiger was staying there, so I had a chance to talk to him then,” Harper said. “He had just come out of Stanford, so he was a really great guy then and he’s still the same guy to this day.”

Woods got a big smile on his face when he spotted Harper at Firestone, and the old pro threw an arm around Woods while they laughed and talked for a bit ahead of the final installment of the Bridgestone.

“Listen, I’ve been a guy who played hurt, so I know how he feels,” Harper said. “When he’s the best player and you hear all the stories, the main thing I always told him was to do you, have faith in you, just take your time. It’s so gratifying to see him back, to see him playing again. Not just being one of the top players but seeing him pain free again. It’s a great thing for him, it’s great for the sport, and he transcends a lot of energy to what this game is all about.”

Harper said he’s been coming to Firestone for the WGC-Bridgestone for the past 10 years, and he wasn’t about to miss the final installment.

“Kind of sad it’s not going be here, but that’s life,” Harper said.

TMOF provided a sympathetic ear and told Harper to ring him up if he, Tiger and MJ ever need a fourth. Gwk

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