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FOCUS ON GOLF / THE YEAR IN REVIEW | Golf

Tee to Green

From Tiger to Daly, 2000 PGA Tour Provided Plenty of Highlights and Lowlights

November 02, 2000|THOMAS BONK

How long ago does the Masters seem? Who the heck won it? Right, Vijay Singh did, which was before he started playing bad, got mad and fired his caddie. But that's another story.

The thing about golf these days is that the year seems to last so long, it's hard to remember much about what happened in the spring and the summer. Or, for that matter, the fall. Of course, some of us happen to have the attention span of broccoli, which means that this is a condition we simply can't avoid.

So as a public service, here is a reprise of some of the things that happened on the course . . . and off it.

We present the highlights and lowlights of the year in golf, each guaranteed to conform to USGA specifications for extreme subjectiveness.

DUMBEST HEADLINE: Golf magazine's on Tiger Woods--"Is He For Real?" Duh, think so.

MOST BORING TOURNAMENT: Any that Woods didn't enter.

CADDIEGATE: What did Singh, David Duval, Mark O'Meara, Justin Leonard, Hal Sutton and Se Ri Pak have in common? They all fired their caddies this year.

MARQUIS DE SADE TRAVEL AWARD: Woods won the NEC at Firestone Country Club at Akron, Ohio, in darkness on a Sunday night, played in an American Express outing Monday morning at Firestone, jetted to Palm Springs and teed off at 5 p.m. for 18 holes against Sergio Garcia while battling flu.

BEST TOURNAMENT: The PGA Championship, in which unheralded and virtually unknown Bob May shot 66-66-66 the last three rounds to get into a playoff with Woods, then forced Woods to play some of his greatest golf to win.

BEST TRADE: In a major exchange, the LPGA swapped cigarettes (the du Maurier) for cereal (the Weetabix British Open).

LONGEST-AWAITED ANNOUNCEMENT: Ken Venturi made it official, saying he would work only a few tournaments for CBS next year. It was nearly next year by the time he finally decided.

SNIT OF THE YEAR: Callaway and its nonconforming, thin-faced drivers versus the USGA and its all-too-conforming, long-faced guardians of the game.

WHINER OF THE YEAR: A crowded category, but Karrie Webb won with her complaints about being constantly compared to Woods. Would she rather be compared to Chip Beck?

DEAL OF THE CENTURY: Woods' five-year, $100-million endorsement deal with Nike. The swoosh-per-dollar ratio reached an all-time high.

SENIOR CITIZEN AWARD: Larry Nelson, who took the money from Tom Kite, Tom Watson and Lanny Wadkins and is running off with the Senior PGA Tour title while earning the nickname "ATM" from tour caddies.

WHOA! IS ME AWARD: The pace of play at the PGA was stupefyingly slow--the first two rounds went more than six hours each. The only thing that came close was the World Series.

MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: John Daly. He missed 14 cuts and withdrew twice in 25 tournaments, once after a first-round 83 in the U.S. Open. He hasn't been higher than 34th since March and is No. 191 on the money list with $110,154.

MR. BRIDESMAID: Ernie Els finished second in three of the four majors. He really messed up at the PGA, where he tied for 34th.

BRATS OF THE YEAR: U.S. Solheim Cup captain Pat Bradley and player Kelly Robbins, who made Annika Sorenstam replay her shot--for playing out of turn--after she had chipped in.

WORST DINING ROOM EXPERIENCE: Rocco Mediate's chair collapsed as he sat down at the PGA and he injured his back, forcing him to withdraw, only days after he had won the Buick Open.

MUSEUMS ARE NICE TOO

Quote of the week, from Jim Thorpe, on his new dedication to golf: "When you are younger, you tend to do a lot of other things. You know, like play the horses and go to casinos."

Yeah, those darned libraries are always so crowded.

COLOR BLIND

Thorpe bought three dozen red golf shirts after he'd won consecutive tournaments in October, wearing a red shirt in each final rounds. He matched the red shirt with a black sweater and slacks. That was the real him, he said.

"Red and black, my colors," said Thorpe, who was only three shots behind Joe Inman with one round to go last weekend at Wilshire. "I just wish I had a pair of black shoes."

Yeah, those are hard to find, all right.

Anyway, continuing on the color theme, Thorpe said red and black became his favorite hues only recently.

"I used to wear every color--canary yellow, shocking pink--but red and black, I'm going for it now. I'm going to use it for a long time. I'm going to get me a red and black golf bag, man. When you see me tomorrow, I'll look just like this--red and black."

Then Thorpe showed up in a white shirt.

And finished fourth.

SAY GOOD NIGHT

Apparently it's taps for the LPGA's Los Angeles Women's Championship. Held at Wood Ranch in Simi Valley in February and virtually ignored while competing against the Tiger Woods Parade at Torrey Pines, the 4-year-old event is not on the 2001 LPGA calendar.

SAY GOODBYE

Nelson says he thinks the USGA is wrong and that amateurs ought to be allowed to use Callaway's nonconforming ERC II driver.

"It'll go further," Nelson said. "It'll go further in the woods too."

SAY HEY

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