THE SHARK'S IN FIGHTING TRIM
Greg Norman hasn't played in a PGA Tour event this year and
won't play until the Doral-Ryder Open in Miami on March 6-9. But
Norman hasn't been lounging during his longest sabbatical from
golf since he turned pro in 1976. At the end of last season
Norman's chronically sore back was giving him trouble. He
consulted with Pete Draovitch, his physical therapist since
1993, who recommended an extended layoff, intense workouts and
as little golf as possible. Norman followed orders. He's played
in only three events since last fall's Tour Championship and has
been working out faithfully.
Norman has five regimens, which vary with the time of year and
whether he's at home in Hobe Sound, Fla., or on the road.
Recently he has been working out four or five days a week. At
least two of those days he does what Draovitch calls Workout No.
1, which lasts one hour and 45 minutes and concentrates on
building strength. It starts with exercises for the abdominal
muscles and rotator cuffs and moves on to 30-40 minutes of
aerobics, 30 minutes split between a Versaclimber, a slideboard
and a stationary bike, a series of lifts using elastic tubing,
20 single-leg squats and 15 leg curls on each side, 15-20
pull-ups, 5-10 minutes on a stabilization ball and three
one-minute sets with a medicine ball. His other workouts
include, among other drills, jumping rope, jogging and boxing.
When he's home Norman and Draovitch work out above one of
Norman's garages in an exercise room that will soon include a
$4,000 EFX machine, which simulates, among other activities,
running, climbing and cross-country skiing, with low impact.
The first year Draovitch worked with Norman, he accompanied him
to two tournaments. This year he'll go to as many as 12, mostly
overseas where fitness equipment isn't readily available. "Greg
has tremendous energy," says Draovitch. "He recognizes the
importance of being fit. You build up the base now to carry you
through the year. When he comes back at Doral, he'll be ready to
TWO CELEBRITY TOURS BATTLE HEAD-TO-HEAD
It has been nearly 30 years since the touring pros broke from
the PGA of America to form the Tour. Now, in deja vu of the most
minor sort, the world of celebrity golf has split in two.
The Celebrity Golf Association (CGA), founded by Jim Karvellas,
a former pro basketball TV commentator, has been in business
since 1990, putting on tournaments with purses as large as
$200,000. But now about two dozen of the most well-known
personalities who played the CGA have formed their own circuit,
the Celebrity Players Tour (CPT). The defectors' main gripe was
that the purses and the number of tournaments on the CGA hadn't
increased enough. "This wasn't a snap decision. We think we can
do things better," says former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Rick
Rhoden, who won 13 CGA events and is on the CPT's 11-member
board of directors.
The mass exodus left Karvellas with mostly B-list celebrities,
including pool shark Steve Mizerak and race car driver Nigel
Mansell. Headliners who bolted to the new tour include John
Elway, Mario Lemieux, Dan Marino, Joe Namath, Dan Quayle and
Mike Schmidt. Marino's annual Celebrity Invitational, at Weston
Hills in Fort Lauderdale, had been a CGA event, but it was
played under the CPT banner last week. Won by Rhoden, the Marino
tournament, which carried a $200,000 purse, was held in direct
competition with a $100,000 CGA event at MetroWest in Orlando
that actor Adam Baldwin won.
Karvellas isn't giving up. He hopes that even though players
like Elway and Lemieux are on the CPT board, they'll play in
some CGA events. "I have no acrimony," he says. "The tours are
different. We depend on presentation and television. They're
more corporate friendly. The two can coexist."
GOLF IS A CITY GAME AT VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH
Students at Virginia Commonwealth call their university the
Concrete School because the campus is in downtown Richmond.
Despite the locale, the school has put together one of the
country's best golf teams.
Last May the Rams were invited to the NCAA tournament for the
first time. During the fall they won all five of the tournaments
in which they participated, but because only one had a top-notch
field, Virginia Commonwealth was ranked 28th in the polls and
even lower in the minds of the traditional powers. That changed
last week after the Ping Arizona Intercollegiate in Tucson,
where Virginia Commonwealth turned a few heads by finishing
fourth and beating four top-25 teams, including defending
national champion Arizona State.
The Rams' recipe for success has been a little luck and a lot of
hard work. Coach Jack Bell has spent long hours during his 13
years at Virginia Commonwealth explaining that the Rams don't
practice on asphalt--they have many country clubs available to
them. Three years ago the message finally got through, and the
school signed its first blue-chip recruits, Donny Lee of Coral
Springs, Fla., and Miguel Reyes of Uruguay.
The heart of the team, however, is senior John Rollins, a
Richmond native who may be the sleeper of the decade. Rollins
didn't win any national titles as a junior golfer, and as a
freshman at Virginia Commonwealth he rarely broke 80. The next
year he junked his draw in favor of a fade, and he's been a
force ever since. Last summer he won the Virginia amateur, and
his 70.57 scoring average in the fall was third best in the
country, behind leader Chris Wollmann of Ohio State, who
averaged 70.09. "We are underestimated, and we like it that
way," says Rollins, who shot a three-under-par 210 and finished
third in Arizona.
TOUR MAY NIX PIX AT PEBBLE
Cameras clicking and flashes firing have always been a
disturbance to pros at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am,
but spectator frenzy was out of control two weeks ago when Tiger
Woods played with Kevin Costner. How bad was it? Ask Steve
Stricker, who for the first three rounds was in the same group.
"Something must be done about the cameras," says Stricker. "Or,
if that's the way they want their tournament, it's not an event
I can play anymore. At Poppy Hills it got ridiculous. With all
the flashes going off, it was like Kevin had gotten out of his
limo at the Academy Awards. Tiger was bothered by it all, too,
but he seemed to find a way to deal with it."
Tournament organizers say they have no intention of prohibiting
spectator cameras next year, something that is strictly taboo at
all other regular Tour events. "We have the most courteous fans
in the world," says one official. Maybe so, but the final
decision rests with the Tour, and the early line from its
headquarters is that there will be changes next year.
THE SHAG BAG
The top 12 players on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list have an
average Sony ranking of 15.7. The average rank of Europe's top
12 is 65.2....Mark O'Meara is making $177,615 a week through his
first four tournaments. At that pace, were he to play his usual
25 Tour events, O'Meara would earn $4.44 million....The LPGA
will launch its own version of the Nike tour in 1998, but with a
different sponsor....Tom Lehman, Davis Love III and Tiger Woods
will join host Arnold Palmer in a benefit skins game on Aug. 25
at Laurel Valley in Ligonier, Pa....The LPGA is the United
Nations of golf: 29% of its players come from outside the U.S.
Altogether they represent 18 countries. There are eight
foreigners from seven countries and four continents among the
13-member rookie class....The USGA's $2 million renovation of
Bethpage State Park's Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., site of
the 2002 U.S. Open, will close the course from July until at
least late fall. Architect Rees Jones and Tim Moraghan, the
USGA's agronomist, will oversee the project....Since the 1996
Canadian Open, Jesper Parnevik has shot par or better in his
last 24 rounds on the Tour. His scoring average in that stretch
COLOR PHOTO: BEN VAN HOOK Thanks to a rigorous fitness routine, look for Norman to come out swinging at Doral. [Greg Norman sparring with trainer]
COLOR PHOTO: DOUG PENSINGER The Rams get concrete results out of (from left) Paul Scaletta, Lee, Reg Millage, Bell, Rollins and Reyes. [Paul Scaletta, Donny Lee, Reg Millage, Jack Bell, John Rollins, and Miguel Reyes]
LABOR OF LOVE
Dreaming about working at a golf course? First consider this:
According to the National Golf Foundation, the median annual
salary (excluding tips, lesson fees and a percentage of pro shop
sales) for a head pro is $37,100--or $232,900 less than Mark
O'Meara got for winning the Buick Invitational. Here are the
median salaries for some golf course jobs.
Course Superintendent $40,100
Head Pro $37,100
Course Maintenance Worker $19,900
Assistant Pro $19,300
Starter and Ranger $12,400
Pro Shop Clerk $11,600
Bag Room Attendant $10,400
Local workers Tiger Woods could employ for a year, based on
Thailand's per capita income of $4,970, with the $528,000 he
made at last week's Asian Honda Classic in Bangkok.