While an odd collection of wannabes kicked off the Second Season
at the Sarazen World Open, the usual PGA Tour suspects
decompressed several time zones away at the $1 million
Lincoln-Mercury Kapalua International on Maui.
For headliners Davis Love III and Fred Couples, the trip to
Hawaii also served as a pit stop on the way to China and this
week's World Cup, but they would have gone to Maui regardless.
On the Tour, Kapalua is known as the biggest party of the year
and as a great place to take the family, chill out after a long
season and pick up some easy money.
This year tournament organizers went all out, chartering a DC-10
to fly a party of 100 from the Tour Championship the night after
the final round in Tulsa. "I get on the plane and I'm sitting
next to Davis Love, Peter Jacobsen, Tom Lehman and Ben
Crenshaw," says Mark Rolfing, the tournament's chairman and
social director. "These guys are all on the Ryder Cup team,
they've won five tournaments including the Masters, and combined
they're 52 over par at Southern Hills. You should have seen
these guys. They looked like they needed a week off."
It was better than that. Rolfing turned the week into more like
a paid vacation. He threw a Halloween party--Couples came as Fred
Flintstone--and Hootie and the Blowfish gave a private concert.
"It's a week where you want to win, but if you don't you're
still going to have a lot of fun," says Love. "I'll always come
So will Ben Crenshaw, who co-designed the Plantation course that
hosted the last two rounds and who married his wife, Julie, at
Kapalua 10 years ago. They celebrated by renewing their vows.
"This is the best tonic right before you go home," says
Crenshaw. "You can really, really relax here."
Love, who won this event in 1992, and Couples, the back-to-back
champion in 1993-94, didn't figure in this year's outcome.
Neither did Crenshaw, the Masters winner, who was on his way to
Kauai Sunday night for another Second Season event, the PGA
Grand Slam. The Big Kahuna turned out to be Jim Furyk, whose
loopy, high-speed swing has been described by fellow player
David Feherty as an octopus falling out of a tree. As
unconventional as it may appear, it works. Besides, who needs a
great-looking swing when you're the best putter on Tour, as the
25-year-old Furyk was this year. Furyk has putted cross-handed
since taking up the game.
"My dad started me cross-handed, and I never knew any other
way," Furyk says. "If I had to putt conventionally, I'd be lost."
Furyk's maiden Tour victory came four weeks ago at the Las Vegas
Invitational. That jumped him to 32nd on the money list, but he
skipped the Texas Open and a chance to qualify for the $3
million Tour Championship because of commitments in Japan.
Kapalua was his sixth straight tournament, but it was on the way
back to the U.S. "I was tired, but I decided that no matter what
happened this week, I was going to have a good time," Furyk
says. "I guess you could say I did."
COLOR PHOTO: LENNY IGNELZI/AP Kapalua was a rewarding stopover for Furyk. [Jim Furyk]