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SPORTS WEEKEND | GOLF

Woods Should Watch His Gs and Qs

March 28, 1997|THOMAS BONK

For anyone who thought Tiger Woods wore only clothes with swooshes, it's not true. There he is, looking good in non-Nike gear on the cover of the latest GQ.

Hopefully, Woods liked the cover, because he absolutely hated the story, in which he is quoted as telling racial jokes, lesbian jokes and cursing like a combination truck driver-sailor-baseball manager.

Woods said this week that he was naive and didn't expect to see quite such colorful language in print, but it's going to be interesting to see if there's any fallout from other places.

For instance, sponsors? His public? The same critics that were so eager to muzzle Ben Wright?

Actually, it's probably going to be pretty easy for IMG, the company that manages Woods' career, to dismiss the story as a headline-grabbing attempt at hit-and-run journalism. At the same time, IMG should be slapping its own wrists for selling out accessibility to its star client simply to get a cover story.

Besides the factual errors, such as Woods turning pro in September instead of August, and Woods trying "to drive [a] hole" at La Costa that was 569 yards long, the story takes a shot at virtually everyone mentioned.

From Butch Harmon stealing a beer from the press room to referring to the elderly as "coots" to trivializing Earl Woods' open-heart surgery, it's quite a tale and it also should sell a ton of magazines, which apparently is the idea.

Woods probably should be grateful to be the first golfer to make the GQ cover and forget everything else.

So now that he has been roasted for the first time, what's the proper reaction? Only this: Welcome to the big time. You can learn a lot at 21.

WATER HAZARD

Amy Alcott has sued the downtown Los Angeles bakery where she fell and broke a kneecap in December.

Alcott, 41, missed the first six tournaments of the year. Her personal-injury negligence lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for medical expenses and loss of earnings.

According to the lawsuit, the baker allowed excessive water to collect on the floor. She also sued the management company of the downtown property, claiming it takes care of the hanging tropical plants from which the water spilled.

She returned to the tour two weeks ago at Tucson and missed the cut, then finished tied for 78th last week at Phoenix and has earned $815 this year.

Alcott, who has won $3.2 million in her 23-year career, has 29 victories and needs to win once more to make the LPGA Hall of Fame.

LOOK, UP IN THE SKY!

There are some important items on Karrie Webb's agenda.

Her wish list: win a major title, lead the money list, be voted player of the year and, of course, jump out of an airplane.

Yes, Webb just won't sit still until she once again leaps out the door of an airplane and free falls from several thousand feet.

As it turns out, Webb is something of a daredevil. She drove in a celebrity auto race recently back in Australia. But jumping out of airplanes is something extra special. Webb needs one more jump accompanied by a teacher, then she can sky-dive solo.

She said the sensation of falling from the sky is much different from making golf shots, as if anybody might think they were similar. She said it really pumps her up.

"If you jumped out of an airplane, somehow managed to land on the tee and then hit a drive, you probably would hit it 400 yards," she said.

NORMAN CONQUEST?

Just when Greg Norman's news conference was beginning at the Players Championship, it was interrupted by, yes, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.

Actually, Norman had asked Finchem to appear so they could end any rumors that they didn't get along, which had been swirling since Finchem pole-axed Norman's idea for a world tour a couple of years ago.

Finchem said he understood why it became popular to wonder if there was a poor working relationship between them.

"He's Australian, I'm Irish," Finchem said.

Norman has offered to take him scuba diving, down to about 65 feet to check out the sharks, Finchem said.

But Norman said he plans to coexist peacefully with Finchem.

"If I was going to get rid of him, I would take him diving," Norman said. "No problem. It would be the easiest thing in the world."

UNKINDEST CUT

Dave Stockton hasn't missed a cut in years--or since he joined the Senior PGA Tour, which of course has no cut.

Stockton has grown to love not having to grind away to make the cut, which is something he did for 27 years on the PGA Tour.

"The 36-hole cut, that's what blew me away," Stockton said. "Realizing absolutely how much pressure I put up with for all those years . . . that's the worst thing in the world.

"You miss the cut, you didn't know where the hell you had to go. You can't go back home because they're going to ask you what happened to you. You don't want to stay in town where all the successful people are that week. It's not fun."

And the senior tour?

"It's a pleasant life."

TALE OF THE TAPE

There's still a long way to go in what amounts to the PGA Tour's ongoing long-drive contest, but here are the latest driving statistics:

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