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Colonial Makes It Year to Cherish

September 11, 2003|THOMAS BONK

They all count, for sure, but the next few weeks on the PGA Tour schedule are just as well known for other things besides the golf tournaments. Beginning this week, the dominant factors are tractors (John Deere Classic), then wood (the 84 Lumber Classic of Pennsylvania), and then a Ferris wheel (at an amusement park next door to La Cantera at the Valero Texas Open).

J.P. Hayes, Dan Forsman and Loren Roberts certainly don't care about any of that, mainly because they are the players who won those three events last year.

In reality, there are only three more big events left in 2003 -- the $6-million American Express Championship, the $6-million Tour Championship and the $4-million EMC World Cup. Of course, there's also the Presidents Cup in South Africa, but that's not a regular tour event.

The point is, we're closing in on the end of the 2003 season and that means there's not much time left for the impression-makers to make a heel print in the year. In short, it's all been done, almost.

A total of 38 tournaments have gone into the books, often producing some swell moments, many of them quite fascinating. Some not so hot.

To all, we say, here's looking at you.

The list is totally un-guaranteed.

Tournament of the year: Hands down, it's the Colonial, where Annika Sorenstam's appearance on the PGA Tour has been the most memorable moment in golf this year.

Best round: That would be the 64 that Davis Love III fashioned to close out a six-shot victory at the Players Championship and continue the best year of his career.

Best wheels: Tie. The motor homes that John Daly and Love use to travel between stops on the tour. Rolling fortresses, they're tops, especially when you make so much money that you don't have to worry about the price of gas.

Worst shot (at the worst time): Immediately after finishing his scorching 65 on Sunday at the Masters (including a bogey at the 18th), unlucky Len Mattiace hooked a six-iron second shot behind a tree at the first playoff hole, the 10th, and Mike Weir wound up with a victory.

Best shot (at the best time): The 12-foot par putt that unheralded Ben Curtis steered into the cup on the 72nd hole Sunday that eventually won the British Open. Playing three groups ahead of the leaders, Curtis luckily had the advantage of not knowing he had to make the putt in order to win.

Best bunker shot: Pick one by Kevin Sutherland, who has the best sand-save percentage on the PGA Tour.

Worst bunker shot: Uh, those two that Thomas Bjorn left in the sand, back to back, at the 16th hole on the last day at Royal St. George's.

Travel award: On his way to the Masters, David Facey of the London Sun flew to Boston and caught a connecting flight to Augusta -- Maine, not Georgia. Oddly, Facey's office also had booked him a hotel room in Portland -- Oregon, not Maine.

Best Tiger moment: After taking two months off because of knee surgery, Tiger Woods won the first tournament he played, at Torrey Pines. Then he won two of the next three he played.

Worst Tiger moment: Coming up dry at the majors, including a 76 to open the Masters and a 75 to close it; plus a 75-72 weekend at the U.S. Open.

Worst moment, period: Mark Roe shot a second-round 67 at the British Open and would have been only two shots out of the lead, but instead was disqualified along with partner Jesper Parnevik because they had failed to exchange scorecards before playing and then signed the wrong ones afterward.

Senior moment: Tom Watson played in a record nine majors, five of them on the Champions Tour, and won the last two, the Senior British Open and the Tradition.

Heat-attracting moment of the year: Phil Mickelson's comment that Woods was playing with "inferior equipment."

Heat-attracting player of the year: Mickelson has been winless and remains major-less, which made headlines, and so did his tryout with the Toledo Mud Hens.

Dud of the year: The protest at the Masters over the lack of female members at Augusta National that attracted an estimated 40 demonstrators and more than double that number of media members.

Best player to win first major: Tie. Weir became the first left-hander and first Canadian to win the Masters; Jim Furyk's eight-under 272 (67-66-67-72) at Olympia Fields tied Woods for the lowest aggregate total in U.S. Open history.

Worst player to win first major: There's no such thing.

Best nickname: You've heard of Arnie's Army, but when Shaun Micheel won the PGA Championship, his followers became Micheel's Navy.

Player of the year: How about the guy who has the most majors, the most tournament wins and the most money? If there still is no clear-cut winner in the midst of Woods, Furyk, Weir and Love, may we suggest a drag race involving mobile homes?

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