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SPORTS EXTRA / FOCUS ON GOLF | NOTES

'Tired' Duval Goes Home to Florida

February 22, 2001|LARRY STEWART | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The exodus from the Nissan Open continued Wednesday, with six more players withdrawing from the tournament that begins today at Riviera Country Club.

David Duval was among the six who brought the number of withdrawals to 15, probably some kind of unofficial record.

Nine players had pulled out Tuesday for various reasons.

Duval came to Los Angeles from La Quinta, where he had tied for 51st in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic last week, then decided to go home to Florida.

"I'm a little tired," Duval said from Ponte Vedra Beach. "I got to L.A. and said, 'I need to get home.' It didn't have the same appeal. I wasn't as refreshed as I thought I would be."

Duval played four times on the West Coast, and his best finish was a tie for seventh in the Mercedes Championships. Besides his poor performance in the Hope, he missed the cut at Phoenix and Pebble Beach.

It was the first time since 1998 he had missed the cut in successive weeks, and the first time since 1996 that he missed two cuts on the West Coast.

Duval, the only player besides Tiger Woods to have been ranked No. 1 in the world over the last three years, has slipped to No. 4 in the world rankings.

Mark O'Meara also withdrew Wednesday, citing a pulled chest muscle. O'Meara is supposed to play in the Dubai Desert Classic next week on the European tour.

Others dropping out Wednesday were Tim Clark, Richie Coughlan, Blaine McCallister and Kenny Perry.

That made it a good time to be an alternate. All 10 made it, and five more golfers were added to fill out the 144-player field.

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One of the four qualifiers who made the field was Ron Kramer, 44, of Chino. He shot a 63 on the North Course at Los Serranos on Tuesday.

Kramer is the youngest of tennis legend Jack Kramer's five sons.

It was Ron's best round ever, according to his brother David, and it might have helped that qualifying was held at Los Serranos. Jack is the owner and David the general manager.

Ron was busy practicing Wednesday, but David gave credit to Bel-Air pro Eddie Merrins for sharpening his brother's game.

"Ron didn't even start playing golf until he was nearly 20," David Kramer said. "The whole family is just thrilled."

*

Gary McCord and David Feherty will be doing their thing on their CBS "Late Night" highlights show tonight and Friday. Some viewers may have missed them lately.

It's a little confusing. At 11:37 p.m., Craig Kilborn does a monologue before giving way to 15 minutes of McCord and Feherty.

On tonight's show, McCord and Feherty will offer their perspective on the recent birdie barrage.

"The scores have been lower than McCord's IQ," Feherty said.

About working with Feherty, McCord said: "My mind is full of morbid thoughts of David dancing on my . . . old body with nothing on but a leopard print thong and Hilbrand mud boots singing Irish game-show themes. My psychotherapist says I'm doing better, but I probably won't see the good side of normal for some time."

*

Those attending Wednesday's pro-am gained free admittance if they donated a new or used club.

The clubs were collected as part of the Nissan Open's "Club for Kids" program, which introduces Los Angeles-area children to golf.

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