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Golf Notes August 23

Rocco Mediate appears to be making a quick recovery from injuries suffered when a chair collapsed on him at the PGA Championship. He has gone to The Reno-Tahoe Open with hopes of playing this week.

But the legal wrangling could just be getting started.

Mediate's management company, Gaylord Sports, is furious that such an accident could occur with so much at stake. He was sitting on the patio outside Valhalla's clubhouse before the first round when the wooden folding chair caved in, causing injury to his right wrist, right shoulder, neck, and lower back.

Mediate was coming off a victory in the Buick Open that moved him up to 15th in the Presidents Cup standings. A top-10 finish at the PGA might have been enough for him to make his first team and qualify him for the $5 million NEC Invitational this week.

"Our major concern is Rocco's health, and we think he's going to be fine,'' Mediate's attorney, Glenn Cohen, said today. "But we're disappointed it happened, and it remains to be seen how we're going to proceed.''

The PGA of America declined comment today.

Mediate had to miss most of the 1994 season with a ruptured disc, required a special medical exemption to play two years later, and has been steadily improving. Along with his victory in the Buick, he defeated Tiger Woods to win the Phoenix Open last year.


The closing of the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, site of the LPGA Tour Championship since 1996, means the season-ending tournament will have to find a new home for Nov. 16-19.

LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw and tournament director Michael Stearns said today that courses in Las Vegas and in Florida were being considered.

Votaw said a decision would be announced soon.

Complicating matters is the fact this is the last year of the contract for title sponsor Arch. Should the LPGA renew or find another sponsor that favors Las Vegas, it likely will keep the tournament there.

Otherwise, the LPGA is leaning toward bringing its $1 million finale to Florida. Along with a later start for television on the East Coast, the World Golf Hall of Fame ceremonies are scheduled the day after the Tour Championship in St. Augustine, Fla.

Juli Inkster, Judy Rankin and Beth Daniel are among the inductees.

One course under consideration is LPGA International at the tour's headquarters in Daytona Beach, which lost the Titleholders Championship this year because of sponsorship issues.


Of the major statistical categories kept by the PGA Tour, the one area where Tiger Woods appears to have a weakness is sand saves. He is ranked 48th.

Woods has a reason for that.

He contends the long hitters have a shorter iron to the green, and thus bring the ball in high and with a lot of spin. The result is balls that are more likely to plug in the sand.

"It's been frustrating,'' Woods said. "I've had more balls buried this year than I've had in most years.''

With a decent lie, he's not so bad. In the final playoff of the PGA Championship, Woods led Bob May by a stroke on the third and final playoff hole when his third shot to the par-5 18th came up short, bounced off the hill, and rolled into a bunker. How did Woods describe it?

"The easiest bunker shot in golf,'' he said.

He blasted out to about 18 inches and tapped in for victory.


The PGA of America gave Jack Nicklaus a money clip to commemorate his receiving the Distinguished Service Award last week in Louisville.

By the sound of it, Nicklaus needed one.

Reaching into his pocket, he took out a money clip that he was given 37 years ago.

"I won a PGA driving contest in 1963 and they gave me this,'' he said. "I can replace it now.''


Dave Renwick, a caddie in four major championship victories, got married after the British Open and returned to work in the PGA Championship. Now, he might have plenty of time for an extended honeymoon.

Renwick was canned by Vijay Singh after he missed the cut in the PGA. The split came four months after they won The Masters.

"He's a great caddie. They had a great run, but Vijay was ready for a change,'' Clarke Jones, Singh's agent at IMG. "They weren't having any fun.''

Singh used his friend and former tour player Paul Tesori during the Buick Open, and plans to use him again in the NEC Invitational this week until he finds a permanent replacement.

It shouldn't take Renwick long to find another bag. Along with working for Singh during his Masters and PGA wins, he caddied for Jose Maria Olazabal in the '94 Masters and Steve Elkington in the '95 PGA Championship.


David Duval, still trying to fully recover from an injured back, withdrew from the NEC Invitational at Firestone this week and probably won't play again until the Buick Challenge at the end of September. ... Tiger Woods has won more times in his last 25 tournaments (14) than Davis Love III has won in a 15-year career on the PGA Tour (13). ... During the week in which he would have been defending his U.S. Amateur title, David Gossett has signed a multiyear endorsement deal with Titleist for balls, shoes and gloves. Gossett turned pro after the British Open. ... Woods is 5-0 in the majors when he has had at least a share of the 54-hole lead. Jack Nicklaus was 11-2. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Woods has held third-round leads of nine, 10, and six strokes in three of his major victories.


Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara have each played 15 events on the PGA Tour this year. O'Meara has earned $380,309. Woods is averaging $446,188 per tournament.


"I really didn't know where the ball was going, except forward and a long way.'' - Tiger Woods, on his days in junior golf.

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