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THE SHORT STUFF

The Magic Number Is 125

September 25, 2003|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

It has been called Crunch Time, when the players on the PGA Tour scramble to make sure they stay in the top 125 on the money list and keep their exempt status for 2004.

That's why this week at the Texas Open, the players on the bubble are finding it sort of crowded. Spike McRoy, who has $431,553, is 125th, but he already is exempt for next year because he won the 2002 B.C. Open.

McRoy is playing this week in San Antonio and so are No. 122 Billy Andrade, No. 123 Dennis Paulson, No. 124 Richard Johnson, No. 126 Jeff Brehaut, No. 128 Tom Gillis, No. 129 Garrett Willis and No. 130 Olin Browne.

Last year, Jay Williamson was 125th with $515,445. In 1997, Tiger Woods' first full year on the tour, 125th place was $179,273. This year, the cutoff is projected to be around $525,000.

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The most marketable female athlete is Serena Williams, according to a survey by SportsBusiness Daily, but Annika Sorenstam is second. The rest of the list is predictable ... Mia Hamm, Venus Williams, Lisa Leslie, Anna Kournikova, Michelle Kwan and Marion Jones, but guess who is rated the ninth-most-marketable female athlete?

It's 13-year-old Michelle Wie, who is playing the Safeway Classic this week, her fifth LPGA Tour event. She has made the cut in four, including a tie for ninth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Wie missed the cut last week on the men's Nationwide Tour stop at Boise, Ida.

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From Sorenstam, 32, asked how she feels about 24-year-old Hilary Lunke, 22-year-old Candie Kung and 21-year-old Lorena Ochoa, who are in the Samsung World Championship field: "A little old."

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News item: It has come to this -- reality television hits golf. You can see it on the Golf Channel next month, a program called "The Big Break," in which 10 golfers compete against each other with one player eliminated each week. The winner gets to play in a few events on the Canadian Tour.

Reaction: Better idea ... the winner gets to run the Canadian Tour, names John Daly co-commissioner and moves headquarters into the back of Daly's motor home.

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Here is how golf delivers the exact demographic that interests big-ticket advertisers: According to a study by the National Golf Foundation, golf's "best customers" (who account for more than 80% of all golf spending and rounds played) have an average household income of $84,000, 61% are between 35-64, 55% have at least a bachelor's degree and 46% are in two-person households with no children living at home.

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News item: Nick Price and Sorenstam to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at a ceremony Oct. 20.

Reaction: With any luck, Price will be asked some Sorenstam questions at the news conference afterward.

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Jack Nicklaus, 63, who had hip replacement surgery in 1999, has agreed to be a spokesman for Stryker Corp., which made the ceramic-on-ceramic hip Nicklaus now has as part of a clinical trial.

Nicklaus' role is with the company's patient education campaign to raise awareness of osteoarthritis.

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On Forbes' 21st annual list of the richest Americans, the only golf figure is former Augusta National Golf Club chairman Jackson Stephens, who is ranked 140th with wealth of $1.5 billion.

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James Worthy, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Reggie Smith, Al Downing, Blue Moon Odom, Alan Thicke, Lee Meriwether and David Naughton are among the celebrities expected to play in the third Home Ownership Made Easy tournament Monday at Malibu Country Club. The event benefits the nonprofit housing corporation that helps people with developmental disabilities. Details: (310) 258-4292.

Joe Namath is the host of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation tournament Monday at Seal Beach Navy Golf Course in Los Alamitos. Details: (800) 292-7777.

Kermit Alexander, Dick Bass, Doug DeCinces, Bobby Grich and Mike Lansford are among the celebrities and athletes scheduled to play in the Orange County Bar Foundation tournament Oct. 1 at Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine. Details: (760) 632-7770.

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