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SPORTS WEEKEND | GOLF

Tracking Tiger Not Easy on the Tournament Trail

August 04, 2000|THOMAS BONK

Pebble Beach . . . St. Andrews . . . the world?

No, Tiger Woods doesn't win every tournament he plays, only the major ones. Or so it seems anyway.

Look at the results. Woods has played 13 PGA Tour events this year and won six of them, including his third and fourth majors--the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in June and the British Open two weeks ago on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

But scheduling always remains problematic for Woods, the most wanted man in golf for any tournament director worth his weight in sponsor's exemptions.

As always, Woods does his own thing, as far as his tournament commitments, and they remain largely secretive. Woods usually waits until the deadline for entry, which is the Friday before the event.

Woods is taking a break from tournament golf now. He was in New Orleans on Monday for a Tiger Woods Foundation Clinic, then took the rest of the week off before continuing on his merry way and getting ready to defend his PGA Championship Aug. 17-20 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

Next week, Woods begins a hectic month. He will play the Buick Open in Grand Blanc, Mich., followed by the PGA. The week after that, Aug. 24-27, Woods will defend his title at the World Golf Championships-NEC Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. The next day, Aug. 28, he will play Sergio Garcia in a nationally televised exhibition at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert.

And after that, it isn't likely that Woods will play again until the Presidents Cup, Oct. 20-22, in Gainsville, Va.

Woods does have a few special events in the interim, such as a Curtis Strange charity event in New Bern, N.C., on Sept. 11; a Tiger Woods Foundation clinic in Norfolk, Va., Sept. 24-25; and Tiger Jam 3, a foundation fund-raiser at Las Vegas on Oct. 7

The Presidents Cup begins a six-week run of tournaments that continues with three events in which he is the defending champion--the Disney, the Tour Championship and the American Express Championship at Valderrama, Spain--followed by the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand, and the PGA Grand Slam in Kauai, Nov. 21-22.

And after that? Well, by then, Woods can sit back and count the money. Or hire somebody to do it for him.

NO SKINS FOR TIGER

It hasn't been announced yet, but Woods will not play in the Skins Game.

Fred Couples is the defending champion in the $1-million event, to be played Nov. 25-26 at Landmark Golf Club in Indio. The other three players in the field haven't been determined.

DUBAI ACHIEVEMENT

Just in case you want to book your flights early, Woods has committed to play in the 2001 Dubai Desert Classic, March 1-4.

According to a press release, Woods said: "I am very much looking forward to coming to Dubai."

Uh huh.

Woods' deal to play at Dubai ended two years of negotiations. His standard appearance fee for international events is $1 million.

By the way, Doral is scheduled that same weekend on the PGA Tour, so you can scratch Woods from that one.

GOOD TO BE TIGER

For what it's worth, the result of a Gallup poll taken after Woods ran away with the U.S. Open listed Woods as the most admired athlete in the U.S. Michael Jordan was second.

And according to Bob Williams, president of Burns Sports Celebrity Service, a sports marketing firm, Woods will earn an estimated $40 million to $42 million in endorsements this year--more than any other athlete. Jordan is second with an estimated $35 million.

ADIOS, MARK

News item: Mark James resigns as vice captain for Europe's 2001 Ryder Cup team.

Reaction: What is a vice captain anyway? There was some speculation that Sam Torrance would quit as captain in a show of solidarity, which didn't happen, of course.

James would have been the ultimate distraction. What's next? The European players in a play-for-pay controversy?

WEBB PAGE

The most dominant player in golf is . . . Karrie Webb?

Actually, you could build a decent case for Webb, who has been absolutely Tiger-like on the LPGA Tour.

The transplanted Australian who lives in Boynton Beach, Fla., has taken control of the LPGA in much the same way Woods has assumed ownership of the PGA Tour.

Webb, 25, has won three of the last four LPGA majors and needs to win the McDonald's LPGA Championship for a career grand slam.

Webb leads the LPGA money list ($1,463,742), the Rolex player-of-the-year standings, and is first in scoring average (69.71) and top 10s (11 of 13).

Webb is fifth on the LPGA's all-time money list ($5,749,784).

She became the fastest to reach $1 million (13 events) with her victory at the U.S. Open.

And to punctuate what was a foregone conclusion anyway, her victory at the Open earned her 27th LPGA Tour Hall of Fame point, which means automatic entry--after the 2005 season. That would be her 10th year on the tour, a Hall of Fame requirement.

UP IN SMOKE?

Today's question: "How many majors does it take to make a season?"

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