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Golf Notes August 2

Money hasn't been a problem for Tiger Woods since he turned pro in August 1996 and signed contracts worth $60 million with Nike and Titleist, then won about $140,000 in his first four tournaments.

Woods predicament: How to put money to use.

"I didn't know how to access my money,'' Woods told Golf Digest magazine in its September issue. "I had signed some pretty big contracts and cashed a check in my first couple of events, but I didn't know that you had to activate a credit card to use it.

"Some people think I was born into riches, but that's far from the truth. I had never owned a credit card. Never needed one. However, I learned quickly.''

Woods, a playing editor for Golf Digest, discusses seven lessons he has learned on the course since he turned pro. He also writes a column on what he has learned off the course.

Money was at the top of the list.

"I also learned to manage my money and account for every dime,'' Woods writes. "I am determined not to be like so many professional athletes who can't read a balance sheet. I've learned that attention to detail in business is as important as it is in major championships.''

Among the other lessons were being mindful of his appearance (he irons his own clothes), cut back on the fast food (but not entirely), and take care of locker room attendants, beyond the minimum $20 required by the PGA Tour.

"I learned from watching other players that you always tip clubhouse attendants,'' Woods said. "I know to drop a few Benjies ($100 bills) on them.''

Of course, that would be a problem if he didn't know how to access his money.

LAST CHANCE

The International is the last chance for players such as Craig Stadler and Gary Nicklaus to try to get into the PGA Championship.

The PGA of America has its own list of tour money earned from the International last year, when it was played after the PGA, through the International this week. Barring special invitations, Billy Mayfair and Paul Stankowski are holding down the last two spots.

Stadler, who has played in 20 consecutive PGAs, needs to finish at least 19th and probably a couple of spots higher to keep that streak going.

Nicklaus faces a more daunting task -- at least fourth place outright. The 31-year-old son of Jack Nicklaus failed to qualify for the U.S. Open and British Open. His father is likely playing his final PGA Championship.

The PGA is also holding a spot for the winners of the International and the Buick Open, provided they are not already in the field.

Among those who have received special invitations are Ryder Cup captain Curtis Strange and his two predecessors, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite; Greg Norman; and Tom Watson, who lacks only the PGA to complete the Grand Slam.

DUVAL'S BACK

David Duval will return to competition this week in the International, resigned to the fact his lower back sprain will remain tender for at least another month.

"It takes a long time,'' he said. "I'm sure it will still be hurting at the PGA.''

Duval became aware of the back pain the week after the U.S. Open. Still, he played some of his best golf of the year at St. Andrews and gave Tiger Woods a brief challenge in the final round of the British Open before he came undone in the back-nine bunkers.

Why not take more time off?

"I've just got to be a little more careful and it'll heal up,'' he said. "I've got no great answers. It still hurts a little bit, but not as bad. And it's going to hurt a little while longer.''

Duval is sticking with his workout routine but says he has toned it back.

DON'T DO THE MATH

Just because Tiger Woods already has won six times this year, including the U.S. Open and British Open, doesn't make him a lock to win the PGA of America's player of the year.

Vijay Singh can still catch him. All he has to do is win the PGA Championship in two weeks, then win five other PGA Tour events -- and hope Woods takes a long vacation.

Woods is a safe bet to win the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average. Through theOpen, his adjusted average is 67.77. Next up is Ernie Els, at 69.29.

Woods set the adjusted scoring record last year with a 68.43.

PRESIDENTIAL BOONDOGGLE

Kirk Triplett and Craig Parry are among those who have a lot at stake over the next few weeks. Both are trying to make the Presidents Cup team -- and get a chance at $1 million.

Those who make the Presidents Cup -- the teams will be finalized the day after the PGA Championship -- will proceed to Firestone to compete in the $5 million NEC Invitational.

Triplett moved from 12th to eighth place in the U.S. standings with his runner-up finish in the John Deere Classic. He has never played on a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team, and has never competed in a World Golf Championship event.

Parry is 13th in the International standings. The Australian played in the last Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne and would love to make the team again.

He wouldn't mind going back to Firestone, either.

Last year, Parry was third at the NEC and made enough money to finish in the top 40 on the PGA Tour money list -- which got him into The Masters.

DIVOTS

Because Tiger Woods has won two majors this year, major runner-up Ernie Els is virtually a lock to be first alternate to go to Hawaii for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Els has 292 points, followed by Tom Lehman (205.5) and Fred Couples (191.5). ... Microsoft Corp. has signed an agreement with Annika Sorenstam to feature the two-time U.S. Open champion on its Links 2001 golf simulation computer game to go on sale in October. Sorenstam is the first LPGA player to be featured on Microsoft's popular Links game franchise. Other player options include Arnold Palmer and Sergio Garcia.

STAT OF THE WEEK

Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer in 1964 were the last players to finish second six times in a year. Ernie Els has already been a runner-up five times this year. The record is 13, by Jug McSpaden in 1945.

FINAL WORD

"The first one should have gotten out. The fourth one shouldn't have.'' - David Duval, on playing out of the Road Hole bunker at St. Andrews in the final round of theOpen.

 

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