It happens every fall. A longtime fixture on the Tour drops out
of the top 125 on the money list and loses his card. Dan Forsman
was a casualty this year.
The 42-year-old Forsman, who had held on to his exemption every
year since joining the Tour in 1983, was in the 125th spot before
the final event of the season, the Southern Farm Bureau Classic,
but missed the cut in Madison, Miss., and finished 128th. Forsman
had not sent in an application to Q school and says he hasn't
decided how much he'll play in '01, relying on his partial
exemptions to get into tournaments.
Forsman has four victories, the last at the '92 Buick Open. In
1997 he lost to David Duval at the Disney in a playoff that was a
part of the latter's breakout winning streak. Forsman is also
remembered for contending at the 1993 Masters until pushing a
seven-iron into Rae's Creek on the 12th hole of the final round,
a shot he memorably described as "drawing a mustache on the Mona
Lisa." He tied for seventh.
Forsman is sure he still has enough game to continue but is not
certain that he has the desire to do so. He says his feelings
remind him of one of the favorite sayings of his neighbor in
Provo, Utah, fellow Tour player Mike Reid: "Playing golf is the
hardest way to make an easy living that there is."
"When I missed the 125, I was really down," says Forsman. "After
so many years, your identity is wrapped up in being a Tour
player, and suddenly I was a failure who didn't deserve respect.
Then I thought, Finally, this year is over, and I'm glad. I would
miss a cut by three or four shots, something I had always taken
really hard, and think, Good, I get to go home now."
Forsman is an epileptic, and that is another factor pulling him
off the road. Since he was a junior at Arizona State University,
Forsman has suffered an average of one violent seizure a year,
always at night. His last, in December 1999, was so intense that
he dislocated his left shoulder. When he is competing, Forsman is
reluctant to take his medication because it makes him sluggish,
but the stress of tournament play can induce a dangerous seizure.
Forsman also acknowledges that the Tour's new breed of player is
making it harder for aging veterans to hang on. "Surviving in the
Tiger Woods era is a tough equation," he says. "I've always been
pretty long, but these guys are bombing it 40 yards by me. Forty!
And they have this terminator attitude, like they basically own
the place. They see guys like me as dead wood. There's no respect
for what you might have done. It's just, 'Get out of my way.' It
doesn't do your ego a lot of good."
That's Forsman, self-effacing and painfully honest. (In the
Tour's media guide he lists "truth" among his special interests.)
He's also smart. At the '93 Masters no one who attended his
Sunday press conference will forget the passion and detail with
which he recounted his state of mind before and during the shot
that cost him the tournament. Jokes his wife, Trudy, "Dan needs
to lose about 250 points off his IQ."
Forsman is well enough off financially to not have to play, but
he hasn't been able to measure how much he would miss the game
emotionally. "Something inside me hungers to get it done, to win
again," he says. "But to be competitive I've almost got to be a
different person. I remember talking to Tom Weiskopf after he had
left the regular Tour. He said, 'Dan, if you're going to win out
there, you've got to be one miserable, selfish son of a bitch.'
That's true, and I never enjoyed being that person."
Forsman also worries that going back on Tour as a nonexempt
player could put him on the wrong track. "I've seen the sorrowful
side of the veteran who could play in his day but hung on and
hung on until his family left him and his friends left him,"
Forsman says. "All of sudden he's sneaking beers out the side
door and getting bombed in his car, saying, 'Remember how good I
was?' Then I think of the other day, when I called Lennie
Clements, who left the Tour a year ago. He told me, 'I never
thought I could be so happy.'
"Right now, that's kind of where I am--a lot happier away from the
game. Where I go with that, I'm not sure."
Driving for Show, Not for Dough
Considering the furor caused last month by Callaway's
introduction of the ERC II, a driver whose design had been banned
by the USGA but not by the R&A, little attention was paid to who
was using it or how well it performed at the American Express
Championship. Only four of the 53 players used the ERC II or its
predecessor, the original ERC. Similar results occurred at the
British Open, at which 12 of 155 players used the original ERC.
One possible reason that the ERC wasn't more popular at the AmEx
or the British was that extra distance was not a high priority at
either site. Even longer courses on the European tour, though,
haven't inspired additional players to put ERCs into their bags.
ERC usage on the Euro tour has hovered between five and 10
players a week since July. Pierre Fulke is the only player to
have won in Europe with an ERC, earning victories at the Scottish
PGA and the Volvo Masters.
The USGA, which governs the game in Mexico and the U.S., banned
both ERCs after the club exceeded the association's test for
springlike effect. The R&A has ruled that the clubs are
conforming, making them legal for competitions in the rest of the
world. "Our view remains that springlike effect is not having any
material effect on distance," says R&A secretary Peter Dawson.
"We remain comfortable with our decision, although it is a great
shame that we differ with the USGA on this relatively minor
COLOR PHOTO: GEORGE GARDNER/AP Forsman is one of the 13 former tournament winners who lost their Tour cards this season.
COLOR PHOTO: J.D. CUBAN The LPGA sent (from left) Webb, Pepper and Inkster after a second Three-Tour win.
COLOR PHOTO: BRIAN SPURLOCK
COLOR PHOTO: GARY GAYNOR
COLOR PHOTO: T.J. HAMILTON
The World Golf Championships are in big trouble. The
season-ending American Express event at Valderrama was a
depressing exercise in excess, and the next two world
championships, the Dec. 7-10 World Cup in Buenos Aires,
Argentina, and January's Match Play in South Oakleigh,
Australia, will be sleepers as well. Fact is, too many leading
players don't care whether this so-called World tour succeeds.
What do these players have in common?
They had the three longest drives this year on the Tour. Mediate
hit a 391-yarder at the American Express Championship, Blackmar
a 387-yarder at the John Deere Classic and Woods a 384-yarder at
the NEC Invitational.
Should the USGA have different rules for professional and amateur
--Based on 2,317 responses to our informal survey
Next question: Should Tiger Woods get a cut of the PGA Tour's
television revenues? Vote at golfplus.cnnsi.com.
Tom Kite led the Tour in earnings 20 years ago with $375,698, an
amount that would not have gotten him into the top 125 on the
money list this season. Here are the earnings leaders since 1990
and where their winnings would have placed them on the list in
'90 Greg Norman $1,165,477 38
'91 Corey Pavin 979,430 48
'92 Fred Couples 1,344,188 34
'93 Nick Price 1,478,557 32
'94 Nick Price 1,499,927 32
'95 Greg Norman 1,654,959 24
'96 Tom Lehman 1,780,159 22
'97 Tiger Woods 2,066,833 13
'98 David Duval 2,591,031 5
'99 Tiger Woods 6,616,585 2
JAIME'S TOP 10
The real business of golf concludes for the year at this week's
LPGA Arch Wireless Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla. Now it's
time for the Silly Season, a dozen exhibitions for fun and funny
money played over seven weeks. Here's how I rank the events.
1. Williams World Challenge, Nov. 30-Dec. 3, Sherwood Country
Club, Thousand Oaks, Calif. Purse: $3.5 million (winner, $1
million). Tiger Woods hosts the 11 next-best available golfers on
the World Ranking, who play for a Silly Season-high purse. A bona
fide four-round tournament, the Williams is the new bully on the
2. Office Depot Father and Son, Dec. 9-10, Ocean Club, Paradise
Island, Bahamas. Purse: $860,000 ($150,000). This is one of the
pros' favorite events. Big-name players such as Billy Casper,
Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin, Gary Player and Lee Trevino cavort in
a feel-good family atmosphere. Last year Jack and Gary Nicklaus
won. This year Jack will partner with Jack II.
3. Skins Game, Nov. 25-26, Landmark Golf Club, Indian Wells,
Calif. Purse: $1 million. The Skins has lost its fastball, but
this granddaddy of the Silly Season has history on its side. This
year's edition features Fred (Mr. November) Couples, Sergio
Garcia, Colin Montgomerie--putting a mike on Monty sounds like
fun--and Vijay Singh.
4. PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Nov. 21-22, Poipu Bay Golf Course,
Kauai, Hawaii. Purse: $1 million ($400,000). Woods is always
worth watching, and having him wired for ear-singeing sound is a
bonus. The Slam would've been better had it been an extenuation
of the Presidents Cup grudge match between Woods and Singh, the
other major winner in the field. Instead we'll see a foursome
that includes gate-crashers Paul Azinger and Tom Lehman.
5. Wendy's Three-Tour Challenge, Dec. 23-24, Lake Las Vegas
Resort, Henderson, Nev. Purse: $800,000. The LPGA players always
have a lot to prove against the menfolk from the PGA and Senior
tours. Perhaps because they try too hard, the women--this year
Juli Inkster, Dottie Pepper and Karrie Webb--have won only once in
6. Franklin Templeton Shootout, Nov. 17-19, Doral Resort and Spa,
Miami. Purse: $1.75 million ($400,000, team). You want to see
pros go low? This is the place. In 1990 Fred Couples and Ray
Floyd teamed for one of the best rounds of all time in modified
alternate shot format, an unreal 57.
7. EMC World Cup, Dec. 7-10, Buenos Aires Golf Club, Buenos
Aires, Argentina. Purse: $3 million ($1 million, team). This team
medal-play event is an unnecessary appendage to the already
faltering World Golf Championship series. Let's see, the
top-ranked player from every country gets to pick his partner.
Hmmm, sounds like another good reason to suck up to Tiger.
8. Hyundai Team Matches, Dec. 16-17, Pelican Hill Golf Club,
Newport Beach, Calif. Purse: $1.2 million ($200,000, team). The
event features four two-person teams each from the LPGA, PGA and
Senior tours. Inkster-Pepper have dominated the LPGA division,
while Nicklaus-Tom Watson won the Senior division last year.
There are some grudge-match possibilities, especially if Annika
Sorenstam is pitted against an American.
9. Chrysler Senior Match Play Challenge, Nov. 10-13, Hyatt Dorado
Beach, Dorado, Puerto Rico. Purse: $720,000 ($120,000). Lots of
showdowns between match-play masters like Floyd and Irwin were
expected, but the 16th seed, Vicente Fernandez, wound up beating
No. 10, Leonard Thompson, in last week's final.
10. Sun Microsystems Hole in One, Nov. 23, Four Seasons Resort,
Aviara Golf Course, Carlsbad, Calif. Purse: $580,000. A total of
nine pros from the LPGA, PGA and Senior tours play 18 par-3s from
the same tees. Trevino put on a shotmaking exhibition in '99, and
this year there's an added twist: $1 million for an ace.
Alan Schulte, Fishers, Ind.
Schulte, 38, an assistant at Hillcrest Country Club in
Indianapolis, took the PGA's Assistant Professional title by
holing a five-foot par putt on the 72nd hole. He beat Rodney Cook
of the North Oaks (Minn.) Golf Club by one shot. This year
Schulte was also the winner at the Indiana PGA section's club pro
and assistant pro tournaments.
Lorena Ochoa, Guadalajara, Mexico
Ochoa, a freshman at Arizona and the No. 1 college player in the
country, earned victories at the Golf World Invitational and the
Dick McGuire Invitational, and in her two other medal-play starts
this season finished second and tied for ninth. Ochoa leads the
nation with a 71.75 scoring average.
Colby Beckstrom, North Muskegon, Mich.
Colby, a junior at North Muskegon High, successfully defended his
crown at the state Division IV championship, firing a one-under
143 (68-75) for a four-shot victory. Colby, whose brother, J.J.,
prevailed in the state final in 1997 and '98, has won the last
three Michigan PGA Junior Championships.
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