Order of Battle
Colin Montgomerie fought off two rivals to win a sixth straight
Europe's year boiled down to Sunday afternoon at the
Montecastillo Golf Resort in Jerez, Spain, where three guys from
the British Isles fought it out for the heavyweight crown.
Scotland's 6'1", 210-pound Colin Montgomerie, England's 6-foot,
205-pound Lee Westwood and Northern Ireland's 6'2", 225-pound
Darren Clarke hit town for the season-ending Volvo Masters
ranked 1-2-3 on the Order of Merit, the European tour's money
list, which Montgomerie had won a record five straight times.
The leader had a dicey $76,045 edge on Westwood, who at 25 is 10
years younger than Monty, longer off the tee and cooler under
the gun--a loosey-goosey Baby Huey to Montgomerie's Grumpy.
"I'm cruising," said Westwood after a 10-foot birdie to close
the third round got him even with Australia's Peter O'Malley,
one up on Montgomerie with 18 holes to go. On Sunday, though,
Westwood's cruise dead-ended in the Volvo crash of the week. He
hit his tee shot at the 172-yard, par-3 14th hole out-of-bounds,
reloaded, swung and watched that ball sail OB, too. He would
scramble for a seven, but his 75 in the season's finale left him
feeling like a San Diego Padre.
Montgomerie still couldn't relax. Suddenly here came Clarke, an
eight-year pro out of Portmarnock Links--'tween Dublin and
Loughshinny, it is--blazing through Montecastillo's olive groves
with four birdies on the first five holes and an eagle at the
517-yard, par-5 9th to make the turn with the lead.
"It was his tournament," said Montgomerie. Yet to go to the head
of the Order, Clarke needed more than a win. He also needed
Westwood to finish fourth or worse and Montgomerie ninth or
worse. Westwood did his part for Clarke at 14, but what of
Monty, who'd missed cuts and scads of putts at the U.S. and
British Opens and called his summer "a bit of a disaster"? After
Clarke put a course-record 63 on the scoreboard, Montgomerie was
left to grapple with his demons--and his putter--all the way home.
He barely blinked. After the British Open, short-game guru Dave
Pelz introduced Montgomerie to a laser-equipped device, the
LazrAimer, which showed that Monty was aiming putts up to eight
inches off-line. Since then Montgomerie, who takes the gizmo on
the road and practices with it in hotel rooms, has putted like
Mark O'Meara. At Montecastillo, which translates roughly to
Castle of Monty, he beamed down five birdie putts on his way to
a final-round 68, good for third in the Volvo and a sixth
straight money title.
"It's getting tougher," said Monty, who earned $1.66 million for
the year, including a $284,000 Merit bonus. "I saw Darren had
gone to the turn in 30. I had to counteract him, and I'm proud
of how I did it. By staying away from the pins, I did exactly
the right thing. I played solidly, gave myself lots of
chances--and the putts dropped."
What's missing from the new sitcom The Secret Lives of Men (ABC,
9:30 p.m., Wednesdays), which revolves around three divorced New
Yorkers who share a jones for golf? Try golf. We're supposed to
buy the trendy proposition that the show's heroes are guys' guys
because they're golfers. Yet while Lives is punchily written and
deftly acted by stars Peter Gallagher, Mitch Rouse and Brad
Whitford, there's little of the gamesmanship and "Want to double
the bet before you choke your guts out?" banter that makes real
golf chat so cruelly lively. Instead, the guys sit around
gossiping in locker rooms and bars. As the show's ad line has
it, Behind closed doors men are just like women.
Trouble is, it's not so. Here's the real secret about men in the
exclusive company of men, be it on the fairway or at the bar: We
don't have much to say. We're guarded. We talk about our golf
games, and other sports, largely to avoid discussing our inner
lives. Mention your hurt feelings at the 19th hole, and your
buddies won't buy you a drink, they'll buy you a dress.
No wonder the sharpest moment in the first three episodes of
Lives is a man-woman exchange. It occurs when Michael, played by
Gallagher, is told by his ex-wife that she's getting remarried.
To his best friend. They're moving to L.A. And she's taking the
"No, not the kids," whimpers Michael. "I love the kids." On a
show that too often misfires, that scene plays like life.
Just Don't Call Him Hacula
In Transylvania, Dracula's turf, sheep wander the Paul Tomita
Golf Course. Tomita, 84, fell for golf in the 1920s when he was
a caddie at the Diplomatic Club, a course for ambassadors and
visiting royalty in Bucharest. He spent 40 years waiting for his
chance to play internationally.
In 1968, when Tomita was 54, golf-hating dictator Nicolae
Ceausescu finally allowed him to play in the 1968 World Cup, in
Rome. Tomita, who went head-to-head with Jack Nicklaus and Gary
Player at subsequent World Cups, had one more ambition: to build
a course. He finished it this year.
Tomita's track is supported by 32 members who pay an annual fee.
Such fees are small in a region where the average worker earns
$90 a month. Still, he gives the wave to anyone who can't pay.
He gives free lessons to kids and stays in shape by chasing wild
boars off his fairways. "Golf--it's a lifetime of pleasure," he
He'll 'Roo the Day
A teenager sued the Grafton Golf Club in Sydney, Australia, last
week over a kangaroo attack. Steven Shorten was looking for a
lost ball in 1996 when he heard what he calls "a tut-tut-tut
noise and weird growling." He turned to see a large male
kangaroo hopping toward him. The animal knocked Shorten down,
cutting his right cheek and breaking his cheekbone. The mauling
stopped only when another golfer clobbered the kangaroo with his
driver and the 'roo fled.
Shorten, whose cheek required surgery, says he has suffered
nightmares, nervousness around animals and the taunts of
schoolkids who nicknamed him Skippy after an Australian TV
kangaroo. He wants $750,000 in damages.
THE SHAG BAG
Spring Fling: The USGA announced last week that it will adopt a
test to measure the springlike effect in clubheads. According to
USGA executive director David Fay, "The best players will be
impacted the most by capping the distance they gain" from such
clubs. Let the litigation begin!
Pak It In: Se Ri Pak's triumphant return to her native South
Korea hit a snag last weekend when Pak (below) was hospitalized
with a severe cold. During a weeklong visit, Pak rode in
parades, greeted throngs of fans, played golf with Korea's prime
minister and shared the lead in the Korea LPGA Championship
before withdrawing after two rounds. Critics ripped Pak's
sponsor, Samsung, for running her ragged.
Nike Shakeout: Among the men who earned 1999 PGA Tour cards by
finishing in the top 15 on this year's Nike tour money list were
No. 1 Bob Burns, a former Cal State-Northridge Matador who
barely avoided being beaned by a flying stereo during a '94
earthquake, and No. 10 Notah Begay, of whom fellow Nike grad
Dennis Paulson says, "If there's a David Duval coming off our
tour this year, it's Notah."
Shark A-mending: Greg Norman, who expects to return from seven
months of rehab at next week's Shark Shootout, says he's
disappointed by his friend Bill Clinton's handling of the
Lewinsky affair. "I carry the Constitution of the United States
around in my briefcase," Norman told Foxtel, an Australian cable
network. A president, he said, "should be a bit above the
Constitution. He is a role model."
Xan-ax: During qualifying for last week's Pacific Bell Senior
Classic at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles, former Laker
Happy Hairston missed out with a sky-high 88, and one Alex
Xanthos went into orbit with a 125. Joe Inman won the tournament
by a shot over Lee Trevino.
Jason the Arrghonaut: Long-driving legend Jason Zuback (GOLF
PLUS, June 8, 1998) was down to his last shot at the recent
RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship in Mesquite, Nev., when he
gritted his teeth and bombed a 361-yarder to claim his third
straight long-ball title.
Dominant Duo: Judy Rankin's captain's choices, Rosie Jones and
Sherri Steinhauer, played pivotal roles in the U.S. victory at
September's Solheim Cup. Last week Jones and Steinhauer went a
combined 4-0 to lead the U.S. LPGA over the Japanese LPGA at the
Nichirei International in Ibaraki, Japan.
Tall Tale: When David Esch, a one handicapper, turns pro to team
with his wife, Annika Sorenstam, in next month's JCPenney
Classic, he will do so without corporate sponsors. "I will show
up in everything Annika wears, but in a different size," Esch
The Perfect Gift for Bill Gates
Both games are all about real estate. Both are subject to slow
play, trips to jail and occasional tantrums. Monopoly and golf,
a natural pairing, combine in the newly released Monopoly: The
Golf Edition. Gamers who tee it up in this $35 board game move
pewter playing pieces shaped like golf shoes, carts, tees and
buckets of balls (what, no tiger?) from Torrey Pines, which
replaces that old goat track Baltic Avenue, all the way to
Pebble Beach, golf's Boardwalk. Bunkers and rough stand in for
the Reading and B&O railroads, and instead of building houses
and hotels, tycoons erect caddie shacks and clubhouses. The goal
is the same in this version as in real golf: Play as though you
own the place and don't quit until you have everybody's money.
Slow play, however, may be even slower on the board. The longest
uninterrupted Monopoly game lasted 70 days.
Ferraris at The Finish Line
Jan Ferraris, the LPGA's 1966 rookie of the year with (this is
no typo) $1,923 in earnings, was tied at the end of regulation
in the inaugural Japan Classic, in 1974. "There were thousands
of people in the gallery," says Ferraris, "and not one rooting
for me." She birdied the second playoff hole to beat Hisako
Higuchi--a sudden-death win for a player who'd been feeling like
slow death. Ferraris had visited a doctor after the second
round. "He pulled out a big needle. I said, 'Forget it,'"
recalls Ferraris, who kept fans on pins and needles all week.
She retired from the tour in '84 after winning three LPGA titles
and now runs Outings on the Links, a Phoenix company that
produces corporate golf events. Her advice for this week's
contestants: "Watch out for sick players."
COLOR PHOTO: CHRIS COLE TOUCHY A revived short game helped Monty stretch his streak. [Colin Montgomerie after chipping]
COLOR PHOTO: WITT-THOMAS-HARRIS PRODUCTIONS SECRET SHARERS The "Secret Lives" guys (from left: Rouse, Whitford and Gallagher) are too gossipy to be golfers. [Mitch Rouse, Brad Whitford and Peter Gallagher in TV's The Secret Lives of Men]
COLOR PHOTO: AP [Se Ri Pak]
Who should be the PGA Tour's player of the year?
Mark O'Meara 71%
David Duval 29%
--Based on 2,626 responses to our informal survey
Next question: Will Greg Norman win another major? To answer, go
Invasion of the No-Names
If the 1999 Ryder Cup were held today, the European roster would
feature half a dozen players few Americans have heard of. Here
are the leading qualifiers for the 12-man teams, which will
square off next Sept. 24-26 at The Country Club in Brookline,
Mass., along with their World Rankings.
U.S. WORLD RANK EUROPE WORLD RANK
Mark O'Meara 2 Colin Montgomerie 6
David Duval 4 Darren Clarke 20
Jim Furyk 12 Miguel A. Jimenez 54
Tiger Woods 1 Sven Struver 117
Steve Stricker 25 Lee Westwood 9
Davis Love III 3 Robert Karlsson 69
Fred Couples 11 Andrew Coltart 64
Phil Mickelson 10 Jarmo Sandelin 113
Lee Janzen 23 Patrik Sjoland 52
Payne Stewart 26 Pierre Fulke ----
Hal Sutton 32 Gordon Brand Jr. 162
Billy Mayfair 39 Alex Cejka 120
Top 10 finishes this year by Tiger Woods, whose Tour-leading
total was one better than that of runner-up Jim (Mr. Consistency)
What do these players have in common?
They are the only Americans to win more than six money titles.
Whitworth won eight LPGA crowns, Hogan and Nicklaus seven each
on the PGA Tour.