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Original Issue

Big Play

WHO: HeathSlocum

WHAT: Missedfour-foot par putt

WHERE: 445-yard18th hole at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club

WHEN: Final roundof the PODS Championship

WHY

Watching Tour proslike Slocum and his childhood buddy Boo Weekley miss short putts with titles onthe line seems surprising because Tiger Woods has set such a high standard--herarely misses. But if you could get inside the minds and bodies of most Tourpros trying to win on Sunday, you'd be shocked. Their minds are fried, andtheir hearts are pounding. The winner is usually the guy who gags theleast.

JOHN'S TIP

Aim for the CenterOn the Short Ones

If you have anydoubt about the break on a short putt, aim for the center of the hole and hitthe ball firmly. The cup's diameter is 4 1/4 inches, so aiming at the centermakes the target look bigger and gives you a two-inch margin for error oneither side. If you aim for an edge, you have a larger margin for error on oneside but none on the other, a riskier play.

John Elliottteaches at St. Andrews Golf & Country Club in West Chicago, Ill.

... AND ANOTHERTHING

"I have moregood Asian kids, mostly between ages seven and 12, in my lesson book now thanI've had in all my years of teaching combined."

What's the best course on the Florida swing?

Bay Hill 44%

Innisbrook 27%

PGA National 22%

Doral 7%

"Not only is Bay Hill the most memorable, it's theKingdom of the King."

--TODD SONES
WHITE DEER GOLF CLUB

The Pepper Mill

by DOTTIE PEPPER

THE COVER of the 2007 LPGA media guide has raised a few eyebrows. Present andaccounted for: Player of the Year and Vare Trophy winner Lorena Ochoa; Rookieof the Year Seon-Hwa Lee; and first-ever ADT Championship winner JulietaGranada. MIA: world No. 1 Annika Sorenstam (left). Some have speculated thatthis is a personal dis by LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens after Sorenstamopenly questioned the direction of the tour last summer. Not so fast. The LPGAhas traditionally put the major award winners on its cover, and the addition ofGranada as the ADT winner makes sense. But with so much emphasis on theyear-old world rankings, why would you leave Annika--the face of the LPGA--offthe cover? I don't believe it was an intentional jab by the commissioner, but Ido believe it was a huge mistake.

THERE'S NO arguing that the first two events of the PGATour's Florida swing--the Honda Classic and the PODS Championship--lackedpizzazz. (Two of the top 10 played Honda; one was at the PODS.) Too bad,because the host courses, PGA National and Innisbrook, are world-class venues,especially this time of the year when the rye--poa annua overseeds are atmaximum toughness. Great players seek out great conditions, and believe me,players talk. Word will get out, and a bunch of top players will turn up nextyear. Combined with Bay Hill and Doral, the Florida swing is simply too good topass up compared to the bumpy greens and shaky weather on the West Coast.

THE USGA has proposed a change in the grooves on irons,claiming that today's clubs unfairly increase a player's ability to control aball from the rough. I have two issues with the proposal. First, to me, theUSGA has always stood for equality between elite players and everyone else, butthe new rule would separate golfers. Elite players in competition would begoverned by the new regs in 2009, while they would kick in for everyone else ayear later; there'd also be a 10-year grace period for the nonelite. Rulesshould apply to everyone at the same time. Second, the fitness and swing speedof today's elite players arguably have as much to do with the ability tocontrol a ball as do grooves. Will the USGA limit the number of days you canwork out or mandate body fat percentage? If it's the latter, I'm introuble!

Dottie Pepper, a 17-year veteran of the LPGA tour andan analyst for NBC and Golf Channel, welcomes questions atdottie@siletters.com.

PHOTO

COURTESY OF NBC (SLOCUM)

FOUR PHOTOS

ERICK W. RASCO (ELLIOTT, CLUB, CUP, BACKGROUND)

PHOTO

DAVID WALBERG (PEPPER)

PHOTO

REUTERS (SORENSTAM)