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PGA Tour: Love May Be Primed for Success

April 10, 2003|Michael Arkush

1 Who's hot: Two-time winner Davis Love III. Love, who turns 39 on Saturday, is starting to run out of prime years to add to his total of 16 victories, which includes only one major championship -- the 1997 PGA at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y. With his tremendous talent, Love should have already won at least 20 times.... Brad Faxon, with four top-11 finishes in his last seven events. As usual, Faxon has offset mediocre driving statistics (174th in distance, 159th in accuracy) with great putting.... Tiger Woods, of course (three wins in five 2003 starts). What knee operation?

2 Who's not: Sergio Garcia, who hasn't been in serious contention since last year's British Open at Muirfield, Scotland. Garcia, making some changes in his swing, was knocked out in the second round of the Match Play Championship at La Costa, then missed the cut at Bay Hill and the Players. He hasn't broken 70 since the second round of the Phoenix Open in January.... David Duval, down to 41st in the world rankings. Duval, diagnosed with vertigo, missed three consecutive cuts in Florida. He was the No. 1 player in the world only four years ago. Honest.

3 Biggest surprises: The ageless Jay Haas. After tying for second at the Players, Haas, 49, who almost won the Hope, might want to think about postponing his move to the Champions Tour.... Chad Campbell. In his second season, Campbell, 28, has recorded four top-10s in nine starts; he posted only two last year.... Briny Baird, who followed up a tie for 11th at Players with a top-20 in Georgia.

4 Biggest disappointments: Pat Perez, who, except for a top-10 finish at Bay Hill, has been absent from the leaderboard since the Hope in February.... PGA champion Rich Beem, missing three more cuts in a row.... Matt Kuchar, without a top-50 finish in a full-field event.... Jesper Parnevik, (one top 20 in nine starts) in the same slump he suffered through most of last year.

5 Best round: Love's remarkable final-round eight-under 64 on a cold and windy day at the Players. By coasting to a six-shot triumph against a formidable field at Pete Dye's TPC of Sawgrass, Love became one of the favorites (in the tier behind Woods, naturally) for Augusta.... Woods' final-round 68 at Bay Hill after a case of food poisoning.... First-time winner Ben Crane's course record-tying final-round 63 in Georgia, which included a 29 on the back.

6 Worst round: Lee Janzen's five-over 77 on the final day in Georgia. Janzen, looking for his first victory since the 1998 U.S. Open, had a two-shot lead after three rounds in the 60s.... Charles Howell's two-over 73 on Sunday at Riviera. Howell squandered a three-stroke advantage with questionable club selections.... Fred Couples' two-over 74 in the fourth round at the Players. Paired with his good friend Love in the next-to-last group, the 43-year-old Couples may not have many more similar opportunities in marquee events.

7 Best shot under pressure: Scott Hoch's nine-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole at Doral. Hoch, who prevailed on the next hole in the Monday morning duel with Jim Furyk, had asked for a halt in play the night before because of darkness. The fans didn't like it, but it was the right call.... Crane's 357-yard drive on the par-five 18th in Georgia, setting up a closing eagle. A shorter drive might have convinced him to lay up.

8 Worst shot under pressure: Love's eight-iron tee shot on the par-three 16th in the final round of the Honda Classic. After playing partner and eventual winner Justin Leonard found trouble short of the green, Love hit into the front bunker and was unable to get up and down. Leonard did, and that was the tournament.

9 Coming attractions: After Augusta National, the tour moves to another classic layout, Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C., for the Heritage, which Love has won four times.... A new event, the Wachovia Championship, makes its debut in early May in Charlotte, N.C.... No doubt the biggest buzz after the Masters will be generated with Annika Sorenstam's appearance at the Colonial. Then comes the Memorial, where Woods will try to win for the fourth time in five years.



PGA Money Leaders

N. Name...Tournaments Money

1. Tiger Woods...5 $2,974,250

2. Davis Love III...7 2,782,645

3. Mike Weir...8 2,206,625

4. Ernie Els...4 1,859,800

5. Jim Furyk...8 1,497,241

6. Jay Haas...7 1,363,064

7. Justin Leonard...7 1,260,100

8. Chad Campbell...9 1,245,515

9. Scott Hoch...5 1,118,923

10. Vijay Singh...6 1,072,009



PGA Tour at a Glance


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