Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

FOCUS ON GOLF | MAKING THE ROUNDS / WHAT'S HAPPENING
ON PGA, LPGA AND CHAMPIONSHIP TOURS

PGA Tour: Fun Begins When Els Faces Woods

February 20, 2003|Michael Arkush | Special to The Times

1 Who's hot? Nobody is playing at a higher level than the world's No. 2, Ernie Els, who swept the two Hawaii tournaments, rallied from a 10-stroke deficit to win the Heineken Classic and won the Johnnie Walker Classic by 10. It's about time the multi-talented Els, 33, made a serious run at Tiger Woods, who proved in San Diego that he's ready for him.... Phoenix Open winner Vijay Singh, extending his incomparable work ethic to the gym ....Bob Hope winner Mike Weir, also in the last group at Pebble Beach.... Chris DiMarco (two third-place finishes in four starts).

*

2 Who's not? PGA champion Rich Beem, who, after finishing last in the no-cut, season-opening Mercedes Championships, has missed three cuts in three starts, breaking 70 only once in eight rounds. Anyone need a stereo salesman? ... Sergio Garcia, yet to break the top 20 in three appearances. Fewer waggles; fewer birdies too? On the bright side, there's always Australian rules football.... Paul Azinger, five missed cuts in six tournaments since that magical bunker shot at the Belfry in last year's Ryder Cup.

*

3 Biggest surprises: Robert Gamez, the 1990 rookie of the year who, with two top 15s, is finally beginning to resemble the player who won twice that year. A key factor has been his switch to a belly putter. At 34, Gamez, who faltered at the Hope and Pebble, still has time.... Harrison Frazar, who followed his solid third-place effort in Phoenix with another top 10 at the Hope....Tim Petrovic, the former Pizza Hut delivery man who broke 70 in 12 of his first 13 rounds.

*

4 Biggest disappointments: Tough picking on a teenager, but Ty Tryon's decision to turn pro looks more misguided with each start. Tryon, 18, who played in only six tournaments last year because of mononucleosis, has yet to make a cut in three appearances. At Pebble, he went 80, 78, 79.... No strong comeback yet for David Duval, who slumped in 2002 to 80th on the money list after six years in the top 10. Duval, down to 29th in the world rankings, missed the cut at the Hope and Pebble Beach.

*

5 Best round: Singh's final-round 63 at Phoenix. Trailing by two, Singh, 39, geared up for perhaps his biggest season yet, went out in 29 to seize a lead he never relinquished. His only bogey came on the par-three 12th, but he recovered with birdies on two of the next three holes.... The 61s recorded by Jay Haas, Pat Perez and Tim Herron at the Hope were impressive, but everybody was going low there.

*

6 Worst round: Herron's closing 75 at the Hope. Leading by four strokes to start the day, Herron was still tied for the lead when he arrived at the par-four, 16th at PGA West. But a quadruple-bogey eight ended his hopes for his first tour victory since 1999. Herron rebounded with a tie for third at Pebble.

*

7 Best shot under pressure: Els' 50-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to steal the Sony Open in Hawaii from 21-year-old Aussie Aaron Baddeley. Els had sailed his drive 30 yards left of the green on the par four, then pitched his approach onto the back fringe. Advantage Baddeley, facing a 15-footer for birdie. But Els nullified that with his spectacular putt. "Like a rat down a drainpipe," caddie Ricci Roberts told Golf World magazine.

*

8 Worst shot under pressure: Tied for the lead with Mike Weir at the Hope, Jay Haas pulled his four-iron from 194 yards into the water on the 18th hole at PGA West, costing him a chance to win at age 49. "I'll look back on the red-eye tonight and think about what could have been," Haas said.

*

9 Coming attractions: The first stop after the Nissan is next week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa. Trouble is, except for the Tiger Woods-Darren Clarke standoff in 2000, the final duels (Jeff Maggert-Andrew Magee, Steve Stricker-Pierre Fulke and Kevin Sutherland-Scott McCarron) have provided as many marquee names as the Arena Football League. This event needs a classic to establish some tradition.... The Ford Championship at Doral, expected to mark the season debut of 48-year-old Greg Norman, who needs a monster March to be eligible for Augusta.... The Honda Classic will be at a new track, the Country Club of Mirasol.... Bay Hill, where Woods will be trying to win for the fourth straight year.... The Players Championship, the unofficial fifth major, at Pete Dye's famous TPC at Sawgrass.... Look out for McCarron at Bell South; he has won it twice (1997, 2001), and finished fourth last year.

*

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

PGA

Money Leaders

Through Feb. 16

*--* Name Tournaments Money 1. Ernie Els 2 $1,810,000 2. Mike Weir 3 1,212,000 3. Vijay Singh 4 1,021,429 4. Davis Love III 2 991,125 5. Tiger Woods 1 810,000 6. Chris DiMarco 4 693,500 7. Rocco Mediate 3 667,800 8. Tom Lehman 5 621,746 9. Tim Herron 4 575,443 10. Jay Haas 3 563,621

*--*

PGA Tour at a Glance

RESULTS

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|