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Original Issue

Crash Course

Ryuji Imada survives wrecks

YES, RYUJI IMADA'S win over Kenny Perry on the first playoff hole of the AT&T Classic was redemptive and inspiring, and it made golf fans everywhere feel warm and tingly, but sometimes you have to take a minute to celebrate the glorious disaster. Last week was one of those times. Consider Franklin Langham, who was playing on a sponsor's invite and made a 13 on his first hole, the par-5 10th, then stood 22 shots over par through 17 holes when play was suspended. No surprise, the Georgia grad couldn't find his way back to Atlanta's TPC Sugarloaf the next day to finish the round. Still, he made it further than Ryan Armour, who was nine over through nine holes when he disappeared. It took a clubhouse search to find Armour, who was promptly DQ'd for an improper withdrawal. (What would Jimmy Kimmel do with that setup?) Then there was David Duval. The former world No. 1 missed the cut for the eighth time in eight starts this year and has now played 24 straight rounds on Tour without breaking par. You can't wish those kinds of train wrecks on anyone, but when they happen, you have to stop and look.

• IT'S SAID that the PGA Tour follows the sun, and that hasn't been hard in the Southeast. Over the last year and a half most of the state of Georgia has received anywhere from six to 24 inches less than the normal amount of rainfall. So what happened as soon as the Tour showed up? A soaking storm last Thursday dumped 1.1 inches of wetness on Sugarloaf and caused two rain delays. Still, tournament director Dave Kaplan was less concerned with watering the greens than filling the well: AT&T announced last November that it would not renew its contract with the tournament after this year. "This week we've had two prospects come and check out the tournament," Kaplan said. "We aren't there yet, and it's no guarantee, but we feel comfortable that we're going to get a deal done soon."

• MEN'S FITNESS magazine has named Tiger Woods the fittest man in America. Kind of funny considering the guy can't even walk 18 holes after having surgery on his left knee for the third time. Stranger still, here's what Mr. Fitness had to say about his rehab during a conference call last week: "I've been training hard. I'm getting sick and tired of riding the bike, though. That gets old fast." During the same call Woods said he was shooting for a return at next week's Memorial and felt confident that at the worst he'd be back for the U.S. Open (June 12--15).... Fred Funk says he'll miss four to six weeks after having surgery on his right knee last week. Along with Woods and Will MacKenzie, Funk is the third pro to have his knee sliced in the last month. If two is a coincidence and three's a trend, then knee surgery is the new white pants.

For news, scores and photos from the Senior PGA Championship, go to

"As she buckled at the knees, you could hear the sigh."

One-putts for Ryuji Imada at the AT&T, best in the field.


Family matters push away one star and pull back another

"I have other priorities in my life. I have a lot of dreams I want to follow.... I'm getting married in January, and Mike and I want to start a family."

"I am getting a bit excited about playing. I've spent a lot of time with Gregory, my son ... and playing with him keeps my juices going a little bit."



CUT AND RUN Yang Taoli (center) became the first women to make a cut on the Omega China tour (eight-over 296, 19th place), then rushed home to Sichuan Province, near last week's massive earthquake.