LA JOLLA -- It was the day before the day that Tiger and Phil walk the fairways of Torrey Pines, followed by 30,000 of their closest friends.
San Diego is a perfect place for this because they are used to having a zoo here.
The U.S. Open's magic threesome of Woods, Mickelson and the world's No. 3 player, Adam Scott, will produce a gallery that will make the 405 Freeway look like a country road. They will be clawing and elbowing and pushing and gouging, and that will be before the Celtics' front line shows up.
One good thing. Because television certainly had nothing to do with this super-star, super-pairing and television is super careful at all times about throwing its super-weight around, there will be no bulky cameras and no group of former sumo wrestlers carrying cables to get in the way of the 30,000 people, all dying to get a glimpse of Tiger's left elbow.
Wednesday was a day of uncontrollable excitement, starting with a Tiger sighting on the press bus on the way in. He was headed to the putting green, Caddie Stevie in tow, and the intrepid press was on the case.
"I think he's limping a little," speculated reporter Woodward.
"Nah, not even a wobble," answered reporter Bernstein.
Their cellphones rang.
"Get on it," ordered editor Bradlee. "Find Deep Throat, if you have to."
On this day before the day, there was news, semi-news and colorful observations.
The news was that Scott had a broken pinkie-finger knuckle on his right hand that might hamper his play. There was speculation, however, that he was merely trying to one-up his Thursday-Friday playing partners in the category of this-might-explain-my-opening-round 78, in case I shoot it. Tiger has his knee and Phil had a bad tummy, so Adam was just keeping up with the Joneses.
The other news was that Sean O'Hair withdrew because of a pulled chest muscle, and will be replaced by Gary Wolstenholme of England, who had earned an alternate position in qualifying. In tennis, they call those guys lucky losers. In golf, they call them CUT.
The semi-news was that Anthony Kim, Southern California's one-and-only native son contender, other than Tiger and about 15 others, may have been feeling ill, too, and may not have gotten in much practice the last several days. He was nowhere to be found Wednesday afternoon, and his handlers, who promised some access for the press, also disappeared into silence.
It was also possible that Kim felt ill because he thought the reporters seeking him were Woodward and Bernstein.
Too bad, because Kim's May 4 victory in the Wachovia Classic and his youth -- he won't turn 23 until next week -- make him a good story in the category of somebody to watch. He tees off four groups after TPA (TigerPhilAdam), so there will be plenty of open space to watch him. The only problem his gallery might have will be stepping over the trampled body parts.
The colorful observations were all over the place.
The putting green was surrounded by fans all day, each a bit smarter than the throng that will attempt to follow TPA today. Wednesday's putting-green fans can honestly tell their neighbors they saw Tiger's left elbow.
Keen observers, such as television reality show producers, will have already seen the potential of this putting-green drama. The Olympics have a hop, step and jump. Golf has a stand, putt and talk. No end to the drama there.
Then there was the Chris Devlin sighting. There he was, signing autographs between the putting green and the pitching practice area. Other players walked by, but not Chris, to his credit.
As a reader's service, especially for those who got home, looked in their autograph book and saw the Chris Devlin signature, this is what the last line in the press guide had to say about Chris, a 33-year-old from Northern Ireland and a former University of Alabama player: "Has failed in multiple attempts to qualify for the European and PGA Tour."
Forget about selling that one on EBay.
Most of the big-time interview sessions were Tuesday, but they slipped the Bryant Brothers in Wednesday morning. Woodward and Bernstein came in their tennis shorts, and left disappointed that it was Brad and Bart, not Bob and Mike.
Their cellphones rang and it was editor Bradlee again.
"Those are the Bryan Brothers, you idiots," he said, "and this is golf, not tennis."
Brad, 53, and brother Bart, 42, joked about attracting a similar gallery to TPA's if they had put them together, which they didn't, probably because TV thought they were the Bryan Brothers and ignores doubles in tennis.
"We would have at least brought 15-20 extra people out," Brad said.
Woodward and Bernstein wrote it down.
Dwyre can be reached at Bill.Dwyre@latimes.com. For previous columns, go to latimes.com/dwyre.