Tiger Woods and Jerry Kelly: same ocean, different drift
This was an upside-down week in golf, no doubt because the
marquee event was played on the other side of the equator. At
the New Zealand Open, Tiger Woods received an ovation for raking
a bunker, while the man who lugs his bag, Steve Williams, gave a
series of standing-room-only press conferences. If the
extraordinary were celebrated for performing the ordinary in New
Zealand, the inverse held true at the Sony Open in Hawaii, where
hardscrabble veteran Jerry Kelly sweated out his first Tour
victory in his 200th start. The New Zealand Open may have shared
an ocean with the Sony, but it was clear that Woods and Kelly
inhabit different worlds.
Woods's arrival in New Zealand, on a private jet, was carried
live on national television, and he was shuttled around the
countryside in a motorcade befitting a head of state. Kelly
arrived in Oahu on a commercial puddle jumper "pretty much
unannounced," he says. With rounds of 65-65-66 at Waialae
Country Club, in Honolulu, Kelly took a two-stroke lead into
Sunday, but even as he played in the final group on a prime-time
telecast, a lone security guard escorted him. In New Zealand 400
officers were assigned to the Open, and Woods's gallery included
cops carrying rifles stashed in duffel bags.
Woods had come to honor Williams, who grew up playing the
tournament course, Paraparaumu Beach, outside Wellington. A
noble gesture, but the trip turned out to be a disaster. The
vibe was poisoned by a threatening letter sent to the U.S.
embassy as well as outrage over inflated ticket prices
necessitated by Woods's $2 million appearance fee. Bad weather
and wavy greens further bedeviled Woods as he labored to tie for
Kelly has experienced frustrations of his own, even if they
don't qualify as international news. Though he had steadily
improved from 103 to 35 on the money list over the past five
seasons, Sunday slip-ups had undermined his confidence. Not long
after clinching victory with a 72nd-hole birdie, Kelly was
celebrating outside the Waialae clubhouse. His win created
little stir outside his hometown of Madison, Wis., but for a
week, he was the brightest star in golf. "I've got the sunset in
the background, two leis on me," he said, beaming. "I'm a happy
If only life were so simple for Woods.
by Sal Johnson
Jerry Kelly, with an even-par 70 on Sunday, became only the
third player to win the Sony Open despite not breaking par in
the final round.... Among the final eight groups only two
players were under par on Sunday--K.J. Choi and John Cook, with
69s.... With four rounds in the 60s Craig Parry became the first
Australian since 1995 to win the New Zealand Open.... Tiger
Woods had another poor putting week, taking 123 jabs (eight more
than Parry) and four-putting for the second tournament in a row,
this time on the 2nd hole of the final round.... Tim Clark of
South Africa won his country's national championship at Durban
Country Club with a final-round 65.... Clark, making only his
second career start on the European tour, is the first Monday
qualifier to win the 91-year-old tournament.
Lee Trevino's long-lost sidekick, Herman Mitchell, will be back
caddying for the Merry Mex beginning with the Feb. 1-3 Royal
Caribbean Classic. To regain his sea legs, Mitchell, 64, worked
the PGA Tour Q school for Orlando club pro Doug Ray, who failed
to advance beyond the first stage. Mitchell enjoyed nearly two
decades of high-profile success and high-calorie excess with
Trevino before weight-related ailments, including congestive
heart failure in 1995, forced him off the Senior tour in '96. A
stint at the Diet and Fitness Center at Duke University Medical
Center and a radically changed diet and lifestyle have helped
Mitchell drop nearly 80 pounds, putting him at a svelte (for
him) 240. "I feel like a kid again," he says.
Byron Nelson was scheduled to undergo back surgery on Tuesday in
Dallas in hopes of relieving worsening pain in and pressure on
his spine. Nelson, who turns 90 next month, calls the surgery
minor. "I'm sure I'll make it through this," he told SI.
Sergio Garcia's kid sister, Mar (right), will make her debut for
11th-ranked Arizona on Feb. 11 at the TRW Regional Challenge at
Palos Verdes (Calif.) Golf Club. La Nina, 18, had planned to
enter Arizona last fall but failed to pass the university's Test
of English as a Foreign Language. "She has the same fire, the
same desire to win as her brother," says Arizona's coach, Greg
The USGA announced that only 19 days after it made public its
intention to limit clubhead size, the proposed maximum had been
increased to 460 cubic centimeters from the original 385. Still
unclear is how the USGA arrived at these arbitrary numbers.
Bruce Zabriski has suddenly resigned after three eventful years
as director of golf at the $40 million Trump International Golf
Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. Asked to dish on his former boss,
The Donald, Zabriski, a five-time national club professional
champion, says, "I need to consult with my lawyers first."
The week before Christmas, David Gossett returned to his former
elementary school, St. George's Day School in Germantown, Tenn.,
to donate a John Deere utility vehicle to the maintenance
department. The UV was part of the booty that came with his
first Tour victory, at the John Deere Classic last July. In
front of 400 students Gossett appeared in the school auditorium
and dramatically dropped a velvet curtain to reveal the shiny
green gift. "The kids went nuts," says a school spokesperson.
COLOR PHOTO: DONALD MIRALLE/GETTY IMAGES (KELLY) Kelly's win was sweet, while Woods was burdened by his fame.
COLOR PHOTO: ROSS LAND-FOTOPRESS/AP (WOODS) [See caption above]
COLOR PHOTO: ROBERT BECK (2)
Charles Howell is headed for a sophomore slump. Last week the
2001 rookie of the year was fired by his caddie, parted ways with
his business manager and blew yet another opportunity to earn his
first victory. Nice start, Charlie.
Do you agree with the USGA's proposal to limit clubhead size to
385 cubic centimeters and shaft length to 47 inches?
--Based on 2,177 responses to our informal survey
Next question: Did teen phenom Ty Tryon, who turned down $1
million to play in the Feb. 7-10 Dubai Desert Classic so he
could enter that week's Honda Classic, choose wisely? Vote at