Tiger Woods,Michelle Wie, John Daly and the Masters were all in the headlines last week,but what really made news was the weather. The PGA, Champions, Nationwide andLPGA tours experienced a variety of rain-related difficulties, ranging fromdelays to conditions necessitating lift, clean and place. The SK Telecom Openin South Korea, in which Wie made her first cut in a men's pro event, wasshortened to 54 holes. Early-May rain is not noteworthy in itself, except thatthe Players Championship was moved to the second week of the month starting in2007 at least partly to escape the wet weather that had plagued it in March.The deluge of drippy golf last week is a bad omen. Trevor Immelman, who shot asoggy 70 in the final round of the Wachovia Championship before losing to JimFuryk in a playoff, said it best: "Nobody wants to play in the rain."The forecast for Jacksonville this week calls for a chance of showers, but theTour has 12 months to negotiate with Mother Nature before next year'sPlayers.... Furyk's last five wins have come on classic courses and at eventsin which he finished in the top 10 in driving accuracy.... With the win Furykknocked Ernie Els from the top five in the World Ranking.
The Bryants aretaking turns. Earlier this year Brad won the Champions tour's Toshiba Classic.Last week he made up three shots on the last three holes to win the RegionsCharity Classic with a 17-under 199. Last year Brad's brother, Bart, won twiceon the PGA Tour, taking the Memorial and the Tour Championship. Before that,the two brothers had one win between them (Brad at the '95 Disney). But not allis well with the Bryants. Kobe was eliminated from the NBA playoffs the daybefore Brad's triumph.... At the Regions, Brad Bryant missed only one green--byfour inches.
•Vijay Singh's 81at Wachovia on Sunday was only his sixth score of 80 or above in 1,243 Tourrounds. • David Duval shot a one-under 287 to finish 22nd, his best showingsince 2004. • Francesco Molinari, brother of reigning U.S. Amateur champEdoardo, became the first native to win the Italian Open since 1980. • At thisweek's EDS Byron Nelson Championship the 94-year-old Nelson will receive a Navycitation for his service doing exhibitions during World War II.
• Alan Shipnuck'sHot or Not appears every Tuesday at SI.com/golf.
Steel remains the shaft of choice for irons on the PGA Tour, while graphite hastaken over in shafts of fairway woods and drivers. Here are the percentages ofsteel and graphite shafts at the Wachovia Championship.
= MASTERS YOUTH MOVEMENT
STREETER LECKA/GETTY IMAGES (FURYK)
RAIN MAN Will Furyk need his umbrella for the '07 Players?
FRED VUICH (SHAFTS, WILL NICHOLSON, HOOTIE JOHNSON); JOHN MUMMERT/USGA (FRED RIDLEY); ROBERT BECK (BILLY PAYNE); GLENN WEINER/ZUMA PRESS (DICK CLARK, JACKET DIGITALLY ALTERED BY SI IMAGING)