Tiger-run-in highlights Dimi & # 039; s dream debut

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by Justin Falconer at Royal Portrush

Anyone who knows him will agree that it takes quite a bit to rattle Dimi Papadatos.

But when the New South Welshman was on his way to a practice round on Tuesday for his big debut and Tiger Woods was waiting for him on the first tee, Papadatos was astonished

Although Woods was not technically there to meet Papadatos – or fellow Aussie debutant Jake McLeod or Kiwi Ryan Fox – some quick ideas from the 28-year-old made him get the most out of the chance encounter.

"We came to the first tee and a few people were together and Tiger was pegging," Papadatos said.

"It took me about 10 seconds and I thought & # 39; Tiger is here! I thought there were too many people here. & # 39;

"His manager said he was going to play the first and then jump in the front and go down 13.

"I said," Okay, don't worry. Just make sure it doesn't happen again. & # 39;

"He passed one on and walked over to him and said:" Thanks guys, I just go through it unless you want to play, then I'll get out of you ".

"I said," Wait a second friend, we'll come with you! "

"I think we all thought for a moment that we would just do the right thing and let him go, but I didn't let him do the right thing. He certainly would have stayed with us!"

Papadatos has been looking forward to the last men's moon of the year for eight months after finishing second at the Emirates Australian Open last year.

That result was enough to bump his ticket to Royal Portrush for the 148th Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series of R & A, along with McLeod and ultimately champion Abraham Ancer.

And while the week of Papadatos in Northern Ireland has hopefully not yet reached a peak, there is no doubt that he will return with a moment to remember forever.

"We were all silent the first go, trying to be all professional," Papadatos said.

"Then we had a bit of a laugh on the second tee and said that this was our first big one and that we could play with Tiger. We can now tick that off the bucket list.

"Although it was only one hole on a Tuesday morning, we will still claim it!"

And to gain the full experience, Papadatos also spent some time this week with the former caddy of the 14-time grand champion.

Papadatos spent a practice round on Monday with fellow Australian Jason Day, who is preparing for his fourth tournament with Steve Williams in the bag.

The friendship of Papadatos and Williams goes back to this time last year, when the Kiwi offered a caddy for Papadatos at Fiji International.

"He helped me there, but he clearly pushed on to bigger and better things," Papadatos joked.

"It was great to play with them on Monday, it was nice for Jason to take the time and give me some advice.

"I also had lunch with him after the round, which was pretty cool. It was good to talk to them and be around this week."

The most important championship career of Papadatos takes place at 11:58 AM local time (20:58 AEST) on Thursday, together with American Joel Dahmen and Spaniard Adri Arnaus.

And after the week he has had at Royal Portrush so far, the normally insoluble Aussie is not too concerned about the first tee nerves.

"I will probably feel pretty much the same as how Tiger started it," Papadatos said, "so I got a good workout!"

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