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U.S. OPEN NOTES

They Can't Win Them All

June 11, 2003|Chris Dufresne and Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writers

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. — What, you wanted "Tin Cup" and a Stanley Cup?

Mike Weir got his first major title this year, winning the Masters in April, but his friend Adam Oates fell one game short Monday night when New Jersey defeated Anaheim, 3-0, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Weir and Oates, the veteran Mighty Ducks' star, are close friends. When Weir became the first Canadian to win the Masters, he and Oates giggled like schoolboys in a post-victory phone conversation.

Back then, Weir never imagined Oates would come so close to winning hockey's coveted crown with the Ducks.

Weir watched Game 7 with his wife from a rented house near Chicago.

There was no question about which team the Weirs wanted to win.

"We know Adam, and obviously we're disappointed for them," Weir said of the Ducks. "But the Ducks played fantastic. The Devils were just tough last night, give them credit. For sure, they played great."

Unlike the moments after the Masters, Weir and Oates did not get in touch Monday.

"I called him," Weir said. "I didn't talk to him, I just left a message on his voice mail."

*

Remember Colin Montgomerie? Now, forget him, and while you're at it, forget Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal, Darren Clarke and just about any other European player you want to name.

Except Padraig Harrington. At 31, with two victories this year on the European Tour and two top 10s in his last three U.S. Open appearances, Harrington is carrying the flag for his continent as well as a new label: the best player in Europe.

Because Harrington has been a pro for seven years, he doesn't want to be called an overnight sensation.

"I've come to the attention in the States, but to be honest, it's been a gradual progression," said Harrington, who missed the cut at the Masters. "I've improved steadily. Obviously, coming into this, I'm just hoping to have a very good week, and things go well for me."

*

Tiger Woods isn't only the defending U.S. Open champion, he also is a media critic. At least that's what he sounded like Tuesday when asked whether the media over-hyped him as often as it criticized him.

"Honestly, I think I've had some success, but I think sometimes all of you can be a bit dramatic in your writing styles, very flowery at times," he said. "I've hit some good shots but they haven't been that good. And I've hit some bad shots, and they haven't been that bad."

*

Until 1997, when he won the PGA Championship at Winged Foot, Davis Love III was the best player never to have won a major.

Said Love: "It's definitely a category you want to get into and out of quickly."

Love also said his strategy over the winter did not involve thinking about Woods to become motivated to play better:

"I'm sure Tiger didn't worry about me this winter, so I didn't worry about him."

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