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FOCUS ON GOLF: British Open | NOTES

Lehman Hurt While Kidding Around

July 16, 1998|THOMAS BONK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SOUTHPORT, England — Tom Lehman's right shoulder was in a sling Wednesday after he injured it playing with his children, but he still intends to play in the British Open.

"It was a potentially serious injury for a golfer, [but] he is responding very well to treatment," said Dr. Michael Allen, chief medical officer for the Royal and Ancient.

Lehman, the 1996 British Open champion, injured himself when he was playing with his children at a local amusement park.

Lehman may be fortunate to have a 2:45 p.m. tee time. He is playing with Mark James and Ernie Els.

*

What does John Daly eat? Simple, he says, straight from the four basic food groups.

"Burgers, pizza, steak, chocolate," Daly said.

Especially chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

"Any chocolate I can get my hands on. I crave it."

Daly knows he has come to the right place for that.

"Europe has the greatest chocolate in the world, man. I don't know which is going to be my pick on the golf course. I haven't found it yet. I am sure I will. It's too cold to eat ice cream."

*

Daly has dropped about 20 pounds to 227, but he says being hefty helps his golf.

"Because my right arm hugs this fat belly right here and it never gets out of place now. When I lose weight, it flies all over the place."

So there.

*

Police and bomb-sniffing dogs checked out the trunks of cars being parked in the lots Wednesday at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. Michael Bonallack, secretary of the Royal and Ancient, said the measures were taken as a response to a recent security scare at the Grand National horse race.

*

The last of Tom Watson's five British Open victories was at Royal Birkdale in 1983, which was in the middle of a U.S. streak of success. From 1970 until Watson's victory in 1983, U.S. players won 12 of 14 British Opens, so Watson knows something about the recent U.S. success here.

"It's just a cycle," Watson said. "I don't think there is any real explanation."

And what's the explanation for Watson's five British Open titles?

"A lot of it has to do with my ability to get the ball up and down in bad conditions. A lot of people miss greens in bad conditions. And, hell, that was my normal modus operandi: Miss green, get it up and down for par. I've been know to make a Watson par here or there."

*

Bill Glasson, who had elbow surgery, withdrew from the tournament. Barry Lane, the first alternate from qualifying, replaced him.

*

Prize money at each of the first three events of the so-called World Golf Championships in 1999 will be $5 million. The limited-field events include players from all of the world tours.

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