A Second Opinion
Gary Player can be a bit of a scold. Legend has it he once sized
up a pudgy 10-year-old autograph seeker and slowly intoned, "I
know your parents love you and don't want to hurt your feelings,
but son, I must tell you: You're fat." Golfers, though, forgive
Player such transgressions because they know that his burning
desire to improve is what made him such a fierce and feared
When Player was in his prime, he knew he continually had to find
ways to get better if he was to keep up with the likes of Arnold
Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. History shows that Player succeeded.
He is clearly the worthiest second banana in golf history. When
Palmer ascended to the throne by winning the 1958 Masters and
then reigned until '62, Player was always nipping at his heels,
winning three majors to Arnie's six during that period. When
Nicklaus unseated Palmer and then remained No. 1 until the
mid-'70s, Player doggedly remained next best, winning six more
majors through '78 and twice defeating Nicklaus in the 36-hole
final of the Piccadily World Match Play.
So who better than Player to ask, What will it take to challenge
Tiger Woods? "You must take the measure of the best and then do
what is necessary," says Player, who turned 65 on Nov. 1. "When
I came to America and saw Arnold's forearms and the power he
applied through the ball, I went to the gym and made myself
stronger. With Jack, I knew I would never have his size and
distance, but I believed that I could be fitter and, as a
result, more mentally sharp. So I improved my diet and my
For all of David Duval's time in the weight room and Vijay
Singh's hours on the practice tee, Player doesn't see the
necessary degree of single-mindedness in those chasing Woods,
who, at 24, has put more statistical and psychological distance
between himself and his peers than any player in history. "I'm a
tremendous Tiger Woods fan, and I take my hat off to his talent
and his dedication," says Player. "He's the most dominant golfer
who ever lived. He's already wealthy beyond belief, but that
proves he doesn't put money before his dream. I'm worried
whether that's true of the other players. I read about them
saying that Tiger is unbeatable, or joking that they're going to
play where he doesn't. A real champion cannot allow himself to
say those things.
"Then they skip these huge events, like the one in Spain last
year where they were playing for $5 million in the season
finale. One of them [Duval] says, 'That's a seven-hour flight.
I'm going to go fishing instead.' What does that tell Tiger? I
would've gotten in a rowboat and not stopped until I hit the
Rock of Gibraltar. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm afraid
it's true: These guys have too much money."
For the player not corrupted by money, Player offers this advice:
"I would watch everything Tiger does and then do more. In the
gym, on the practice tee, I'd make a point of leaving after he
does. Whatever mental exercises he does, double them. That's what
Hogan did, what Trevino did, what I did. Don't let anyone, even
Tiger, outwork you."
There's one more thing a player chasing Woods must never do:
think of himself as No. 2. "I never went into a tournament
thinking Jack Nicklaus was going to beat me," says Player. "That
never entered my mind."
Back to School
Young Phenoms Fall Short
Charles Howell III and David Gossett, two hot prospects who
dropped out of college this year and turned pro, will be back in
school later this month--Q school, that is. Howell, 21, who in
June left Oklahoma State a year early after winning the NCAA
title, looked like a good bet to make the top 125 on the Tour's
money list and earn a card for 2001 when he finished third at
the John Deere Classic in July and won $176,800. But in his 13
starts after that, Howell missed six cuts and won only $87,533.
In previous seasons players who finished between 126th and 150th
on the money list were entitled to unlimited sponsors'
exemptions the following season. Last year, though, the Tour's
policy board voted to rescind that rule. All Howell gets for
finishing in the top 150 as a temporary Tour member is a pass
into the second stage of Q school. "I was shocked to find out
about the rule change," says Howell's manager, Rocky Hambric.
"When the Tour should be giving talented young players who can
ultimately challenge Tiger more chances to develop, the veterans
on the policy board voted for something in their interests."
Gossett, who left Texas after his sophomore year, has also found
the going tough. After turning pro in July, the 1999 U.S.
Amateur champ didn't make a cut in seven events. In fact, he
never broke 70. "I made the decision to leave school early, and
I don't have any regrets," says Gossett, who is also 21. "I felt
like giving up those last two years of school would be better
for my game in the long run, no matter where I'm playing--the
Buy.com, the PGA Tour or elsewhere."
COLOR PHOTO: ANDY LYONS Player made a career out of measuring up to the game's greats.
COLOR PHOTO: STEVE DIXON
COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL T. MYERS
COLOR PHOTO: PHELAN M. EBENHACK
COLOR PHOTO: MATTHEW HARRIS The Euros peppered Pepper's picture with punches.
Fists 'n' Fairways
The term golf fight seems like an oxymoron. Sergio Garcia's
contretemps last week was a case in point. A pro-am partner at
the Volvo Masters in Jerez, Spain, threatened to deck Garcia
after El Nino gave him the wrong yardage on an approach shot, but
no blows were struck. Actually, though, pro golf has a rich
history of violence. Here's a sampling, and how we rate each
Dave Hill versus J.C. Snead
At the Senior tour's 1991 Transamerica at Silverado Country Club
in Napa, Calif., Snead hit several shots across the driving range
to a spot where Hill was practicing. Enraged, Hill yelled a few
choice words, then came after the much bigger Snead brandishing a
club. Snead wrestled Hill to the ground, where the two of them
rolled around in the divots until being separated.
[3 gloves] Bonus points for fighting at their age.
Europeans versus Dottie Pepper
Incensed at Pepper's in-your-face competitiveness in the Solheim
Cup, members of the 1998 European team took a plastic punching
bag, put Pepper's likeness on it and gave it their best shots.
The Europeans lost anyway.
[1 glove] Typical Euros. Too chicken to face Pepper.
Norman von Nida versus Henry Ransom
At the 1948 Lower Rio Grande Valley Open in Harlingen, Texas, Von
Nida insisted that Ransom had whiffed on a short rake-in. Ransom
claimed that he hadn't made a stroke. Following the round, the
two got into a fistfight that was so intense it had to be broken
up by the sheriff. Ransom was disqualified from the tournament
and banned from the Tour for three months, while Von Nida, an
Australian, was labeled a troublemaker.
[3 gloves] It's always the foreigner causing a commotion.
Ted Ray versus Wilfred Reid
After the second round of the 1913 U.S. Open, Reid, the
co-leader, had dinner with several other British players,
including Ray, who was two strokes back. The men argued over
the British tax system, and Ray punched Reid in the nose,
flooring him, then landed another shot as the bleeding Reid
struggled to his feet. The next day Reid shot 85-86 to finish
16th, while Ray went on to lose a playoff to Francis Ouimet.
[4 gloves] An old-fashioned butt-kicking.
John Daly versus Bob Roth
On his way to a final-round 83 in the 1994 World Series of Golf
in Akron, Daly twice hit into the players ahead of him, angering
club pro Jeffrey Roth. After the round, Daly and Roth argued.
Daly directed profane comments at Roth's 62-year-old father, Bob,
who jumped on Daly's back and knocked him down.
[1 glove] At least J.D. had the good sense not to fight back.
Jim King versus Pete Sesso
At the 1973 USI Classic at Pleasant Valley Country Club in
Sutton, Mass., King, a fringe player, blew a gasket when told he
was being put "on the clock" by Sesso, a rules official. King
berated Sesso and then grabbed him by the throat. King was
suspended from the Tour for a year.
[2 1/2 gloves] Nobody messed with King after that.
George Bayer versus Doug Ford
One year at the Insurance City Open in Hartford, Ford walked down
the fairway while Bayer was teeing off. Later, in the locker
room, the two argued, and the 6'6" Bayer picked up Ford, stuffed
him into a locker and slammed the door shut. When Ford's young
son begged Bayer to "let my daddy go," he released Ford.
[4 gloves] For once, "I'll stuff you in a locker" was not just a
Phil Mickelson and Hal Sutton should have gone to Spain for this
week's American Express Championship. Mickelson's victory last
week at East Lake makes him Tiger Woods's chief challenger, and
Mickelson should've seized on the opportunity to drive the
message home at Valderrama. Sutton is the guy who began the
drumbeat about players needing to stand up to Tiger. The first
part of standing up is showing up.
What do these players have in common?
They won the last three events at Valderrama. Cejka won the
Volvo Masters in 1995, McNulty in '96. Woods won there at the
'99 American Express Championship.
Do you think Callaway is right or wrong to sell a club in the
U.S. that does not conform to USGA rules?
--Based on 3,746 responses to our informal survey
Next question: Should the USGA have separate rules for pros and
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SYNONYMS for RULES INFRACTIONS
Be-Treyed, death drop, electronic lynching, excess baggage,
false-started, flunked arithmetic, held up traffic, Jose Maria
Ilostmyball, put my hand on it, Roberto'd, signed my life away,
One great week can make up for an otherwise dismal year. Among
the top 125 on the final PGA Tour 2000 money list, these players
made the largest percentage of their season's earnings in a
Earnings Best finish Pct.
Billy Andrade $1,004,827 1st 76%
Gary Nicklaus $403,982 2nd 75%
Dennis Paulson $865,931 1st 62%
Matt Gogel $604,199 2nd 58%
Jim Carter $964,346 1st 56%
Bill Argabrite, Kingsport, Tenn.
Argabrite, 46, won the club championship at Ridgefields Country
Club for the 10th time, beating David Wright 5 and 4 in the
final. Argabrite, who teamed with Jay Haas, Scott Hoch and Curtis
Strange at Wake Forest to take the NCAA title in 1974 and '75,
has at least one Ridgefields crown to his name in each of the
past five decades.
Patty Moore, Charlotte
Moore, 50, was victorious in the Women's Southern Golf
Association Senior Amateur at Forest Country Club in Fort Myers,
Fla., and a week later drained a 45-foot birdie putt on the first
playoff hole to defeat Barbara Pagana of Selingsgrove, Pa., in
the final of the Women's Eastern Senior Championship in Aiken,
Christo Greyling, Orlando
Christo, 18, set a tournament record with a seven-under 135 to
win the Bobby Chapman Invitational in Spartanburg, S.C., his
sixth victory in an event with a national field. A native of
South Africa and a senior at Lake Highland Prep, Christo is
Florida's High School Golfer of the Year. He will attend Georgia
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