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Tiger Trainer Is Ready for the Kill

September 26, 1997|THOMAS BONK

SOTOGRANDE, Spain — Tiger Woods' first coach is watching his most famous pupil play in his first Ryder Cup, and Rudy Duran expects Woods to be as good at the Ryder Cup as he is at everything else in golf--and that's really good.

"A lot of guys get a little nervous at match play," Duran said. "Not Tiger. He likes to beat you up."

Duran taught Tiger when Woods was 4 years old until he was 10 at Heartwell golf park in Long Beach, an 18-hole, par-three

course. Duran teaches juniors and adults in San Luis Obispo at the Links Course and Chalk Mountain.

Duran says there is one part of Woods' game that stands out the most.

"His poise. That's what I really notice," he said. "He's just relentless. He may be down, but he hits it again and again and again.

"He's got a world of experience. He's been winning tournaments since he was 5 to 16 years. So he has developed great poise and patience. He might hit a bad shot, but it doesn't affect his next shot."

The U.S. team has tried hard to blend Woods into the pack here so far this week and gone to great lengths to make it appear Woods is just one of the guys. He isn't.

"The best player in the world," Colin Montgomerie called Woods.

This wouldn't be a bad time for Woods to further his reputation as the top player for the U.S. and in the world.

Duran remembers when Woods was playing in tournaments every Saturday at Heartwell and taking lessons.

Duran said he has about 80 youngsters playing weekends on the two courses in San Luis Obispo and many of them are inspired by Woods.

"They relate to him. They all know him. He's the guy they talk about. These 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds, he's definitely waking up the kids and their parents."

Four of Duran's players from his junior program at San Luis Obispo are playing college golf--Roger Tambellini at USC, Cameron Blount at UCLA and Russ Imming and Greg Snider at UC Santa Barbara.

Duran hopes Woods' continued success will lead to more places for junior golfers to play. That's a big problem in Los Angeles, Duran said.

"Where is the room? There already are 10 people for every starting time. What do you want, 12? The city has outgrown golf. The private operators need to embrace the youth.

"Somebody in the grass roots has to give the juniors access and treat them like people when they get it. Then, amazing things happen."


For anyone who thinks the Ryder Cup is about only golf, it's just not true. It's also about clothes.

Yes, it's time for the players to make a fashion statement. Historically, golfers have drifted toward clothes that were not that fashionable, combining colors as if there had been an explosion in a polyester factory. No longer.

As a gentle reminder it's not how you feel, it's how you look, the U.S. and European teams have come up with a careful game plan of coordinated outfits for each day of play as well as off-course wear.

If you peeked into the closet of the U.S. team, here is the wardrobe story.

Today: red shirt, khaki slacks, tartan sweater or white vest, white shoes, tan cap.

Saturday: Ryder Cup trophy shirt, navy slacks, red sweater vest, black or white shoes, navy or white cap.

Sunday: White shirt with a black trim collar, black and white houndstooth slacks, black and white cap, black and white shoes.

Opening/closing ceremonies: Blue dress shirt, brown slacks, tweed jacket, brown and blue tie, brown shoes.

The European team has chosen a basic wardrobe dominated by primary colors, such as yellow and blue, with white. For Sunday's climactic last day, the clothing contrast between the teams will be apparent with Europe's blue shirts and blue trousers against the U.S. colors of white and black.


Nick Faldo was asked what advice he would offer to a Ryder Cup rookie: "Play bloody well."


In printed material distributed in the media center, Davis Love III was referred to as David Love III and Denis Love III.


Lee Janzen's regular caddie is Dave Musgrove, who is from England. Musgrove decided it wouldn't be such a great idea to carry Janzen's bag this week, so Janzen is using Tom Watson's caddie, Bruce Edwards.

Janzen said Musgrove, who worked for him when he won the 1993 U.S. Open, made a difficult decision.

"I tried to talk him into caddying if he wanted to, but he said it would be too much of a distraction to have to answer questions about his allegiance," Janzen said.


For what it's worth, since 1983, Europe has 100 points in the Ryder Cup and the U.S. has 96. Since 1987, it's 70-70. Only once has the margin of victory been more than two points--Europe's 16 1/2-11 1/2 victory in 1985 at the Belfry.

According to Ladbrokes, an English betting agency, the U.S. is an odds-on favorite at 4-9 to win the Ryder Cup. Europe is 2-1 to win and a tie is 10-1.


Woods was asked if he was in a slump. After all, he hasn't won a tournament since the Western Open in July.

"No, I'm OK . . . haven't won since July . . . nice question."


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