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THE SHORT STUFF

Trying to Find COR of Problem

June 05, 2003|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

It's one week before the U.S. Open and the drivers are hot -- maybe too hot, says Tiger Woods.

The way Woods sees it, there may be drivers being used on the PGA Tour that exceed the limits established by USGA rules that govern equipment. It has been Jack Nicklaus' crusade to rein in the technology on golf balls, but Woods hinted over the weekend at the Memorial that some drivers are over the line.

"It's not only the ball that goes a long way; you see a lot on the drivers," Woods said. "The guys can pick up a driver, pick up 20 yards just by burying the COR. You can hit the same golf ball. I think that's our biggest concern out here on tour, to make sure the CORs are correct."

To explain, COR stands for "coefficient of restitution," or the measurement of the elasticity of a collision at impact, when a club head hits a ball. Last year, the USGA set a limit of 0.830. The closer drivers are to the 0.830 limit, the "hotter" they are. Hotter drivers have club heads with thinner faces of titanium.

This is where the situation heats up. Equipment makers are allowed a certain manufacturing tolerance and most of them have figured out a way to take it right up to the 0.830 limit. If a club maker sends a player a dozen drivers, tolerance figured in, some are going to be below the limit and some may be over the limit. A good player who hits the ball in the middle of the clubface can take 10 drivers and hit them and be able to tell the one that's "hottest," perhaps too hot.

Woods' argument is that some of those "too-hot" drivers have come into play and that on-course testing is needed now.

"It's up to ... our PGA Tour, USGA, we need to get together and, first foremost, [make sure] the CORs are not over the limit," he said.

Woods, by the way, used a Nike prototype driver at the Memorial that is believed to have a COR of 0.825, slightly hotter than his previous model.

Also, it should be noted that nine PGA Tour pros are averaging more than 300 yards off the tee. Three years ago, John Daly was the only one.

*

It happened when Tom Watson turned 50, when Tom Kite turned 50, when Lanny Wadkins turned 50 and when Fuzzy Zoeller turned 50, and now it's happening to Craig Stadler, who turned 50 on Monday.

Stadler's job is to pump some life into the Champions Tour, which was known as the Senior PGA Tour until this year, when the name was changed because somebody thought it made the players sound like geezers.

Can a Walrus be a geezer?

We'll find out, beginning this week at the Senior PGA Championship, where Stadler is making his over-50 tour debut with a bang.

Stadler, whose 12 PGA Tour victories include the 1982 Masters, says he has no idea how well he'll play or what to expect, which is a typically honest statement from the straight-shooter with the stocky, walrus-like portance and scruffy goatee that seems to go along with the look.

He says he has never watched a senior tour event on television and has never been to one either. So Stadler will be teeing it up in the first one he sees. And it's a major.

As for the PGA Tour, Stadler says he's not going to miss it and probably won't play anything except the Masters while devoting his time to the Champions Tour.

"It will be nice to get out with the old guys again," Stadler said.

*

Here's a sure sign that we're getting a little overloaded on Annika Sorenstam: Some media outlets are already pushing her for sportsperson of the year. Relax, it's the first week of June.

*

Michael Jordan is the only sports personality with a higher Q-rating than Woods, according to a study by Marketing Evaluations/TvQ -- which measures celebrities' familiarity and appeal among the general public -- and reported by SportsBusiness Journal. The top 10: 1. Jordan, 2. Woods, 3. Nolan Ryan, 4. Joe Montana, 5. Cal Ripken, 6. Jerry Rice, 7. John Madden, 8. (tie) Wayne Gretzky and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, 10. (tie) Arnold Palmer and Howie Long.

*

Singer Mariah Carey may be branching out into something else -- designing golf clothes for women. According to the New York Post, Carey was inspired to a possible new career when she visited a course with a dress code and was asked to wear a shirt with a collar.

Carey told WNEW-FM in New York: "I wasn't about to wear some golf shirt with a collar. I went out on the links in three-inch high heels and barely anything on and they didn't mind. I'm now seriously contemplating designing sexy women's golf clothes. I need some clothes to wear on the links."

We'll expect updates on how those heels go over on the greens.

*

Suzy Whaley, who was upstaged by Sorenstam for the title of first female to play a PGA Tour event in 58 years, will find herself on the same course as Sorenstam this week at DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del., to play the second major of the year, the McDonald's LPGA Championship. Se Ri Pak is the defending champion.

*

This Week

*--* LPGA TOUR LPGA Championship

*--*

When: Today-Sunday.

Where: DuPont Country Club (6,408 yards, par 71); Wilmington, Del.

Purse: $1.6 million. Winner's share: $240,000.

TV: The Golf Channel (today-Friday, 1-3 p.m.) and Channel 2 (Saturday-Sunday, 12:30-3 p.m.).

2002 winner: Se Ri Pak.

Next week: Giant Eagle LPGA Classic in Vienna, Ohio.

*--* PGA TOUR FBR Capital Open

*--*

When: Today-Sunday.

Where: TPC at Avenel (7,005 yards, par 71); Potomac, Md.

Purse: $4.5 million. Winner's share: $810,000.

TV: USA (today, 4-6 p.m.; Friday, 2-4 p.m., delayed) and Channel 7 (Saturday-Sunday, noon-3 p.m.).

2002 winner: Bob Estes.

Next week: U.S. Open at Olympia Fields outside Chicago.

*--* PGA OF AMERICA Senior PGA Championship

*--*

When: Today-Sunday.

Where: Aronimink Golf Club (6,928 yards, par 70); Newtown Square, Pa.

Purse: $2 million. Winner's share: $360,000.

TV: ESPN2 (today, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; Friday, 9-11 a.m.), ESPN (Friday, 1-3 p.m.) and Channel 4 (Saturday, 9 a.m.-noon; Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.).

2002 winner: Fuzzy Zoeller.

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