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Golf Notes July 5

Greg Norman's contributions to the game might go beyond the golf course to the lab.

Norman, a two-time British Open champion and one of only two players to lose all four majors in a playoff, had arthroscopic surgery on his right hip last week.

Details are available on Shark.com, his own Web site that has never been more "hip.'' They include still images of a flexible chisel cutting away at the 3-inch tear in his labrum.

And there's more.

After the surgery, Shark.com also had a Q&A with the doctors, a note from Norman on his rehab and a two-minute video of the surgery, including footage from inside his hip.

"It's not going out as a promotional tool'' for the Web site, Norman said last week. "We've been in a research mode, studying the anatomy of the golf swing. I'm a perfect example, because I'm a hard worker and I've had a lot of wear and tear on my body.''

Two years ago after surgery on his left shoulder, Norman agreed to be hooked up to a computer to learn more about the impact a golf swing has on the joint. Leading the research is Dr. Richard Hawkins, who performed the shoulder surgery and assisted on the hip surgery last Wednesday.

"What we're trying to do in research is help trainers and help kids,'' Norman said. "They'll be able to learn what is the best way to swing a golf club for their anatomy.''

TIGER EYES ARE SMILIN'

As soon as Tiger Woods is done playing the Western Open, his preparations for theOpen begin the next day in Ireland.

Woods, David Duval, and Mark O'Meara will be among those playing the JP McManus Golf Classic, a two-day pro-am at Limerick Golf Club that is held once every five years to raise money for charity.

The tournament raised over $4 million in 1995. No telling how much it will raise with Woods in the field, just one week before he takes aim at St. Andrews -- and possibly more history -- in the British Open.

Woods also plans to do some fly fishing in Ireland, admitted that he's "hooked.''

"I'm even learning how to tie my own flies,'' he said.

OPEN CONSUMPTION

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club expects records to be shattered at St. Andrews for theOpen, but not necessarily the kind Tiger Woods broke at Pebble Beach last month for the U.S. Open.

Assuming the weather remains warm and dry, officials expect a new record in beer sales, topping the 400,000 pints sold at Royal Lytham in 1996. They also anticipate record crowds consuming more than 300,000 cans of soft drinks, 15,000 bottles of wine, and 12,000 glasses of champagne.

For food, the R&A expects to serve up four tons of bacon, 550 pounds of smoked salmon, and 650 pounds of roast beef.

Cleaning up the mess will be a squad of 200 school kids, who will work in teams of 10 and patrol the Old Course supervised by a teacher. The R&A said more than 150 tons of rubbish will be removed from the Old Course.

As for scoring records? That's in the hands of Mother Nature.

IT BEATS DIGGING DITCHES

Mark Brooks doesn't begrudge anyone hard work. He just has a hard time listening to people talk about it when they make their living playing golf.

"My big thing right now is all these guys talking about how hard they work. It doesn't ring well,'' he said. "A guy works hard, that's fine. But there are people that make $20,000 a year that actually do work hard. They go in a coal mine at 4 a.m. and come out at 7 at night.

"I mean, hitting a bunch of golf balls and working out in a posh gym and getting a massage and taking a whirlpool and going home and driving your nice car back to your nice house ... 'work hard' is fine, but don't overemphasize it.''

Brooks said what really gets under his skin when is when a player credits a good round or a good week to the fact he has worked so hard.

"Man, people have worked 30 years and can't hardly retire,'' he said. "Keep it in perspective.''

Thinking along the same lines is Charles Howell, the NCAA champion who made his professional debut in the Hartford Open, tied for 32nd and earned $13,627.

"That's my first paycheck,'' Howell said. "I've never worked a day in my life.''

TEMPER, TEMPER

First a hotel wall at Pinehurst, then his driver in Ireland. Jose Maria Olazabal may be golf's greatest gentleman, but he does have a temper.

The latest episode took place in the third round of the Irish Open, when Olazabal snapped his driver over his knee and threw the shaft into a trash can after hitting his tee shot into the rough on the reachable par-5 17th.

"I didn't think I'd banged it that hard and I wasn't intending to break it,'' Olazabal said. "But the shaft must have been really weak. They don't make them like they used to.''

The incident is being investigated by the European Tour, and Olazabal could face a fine.

By the way, he still made birdie, then birdied the 18th for a 66.

DIVOTS

Paul Lawrie will be more than just the defending British Open champion at St. Andrews. He recently was appointed a Member of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honors List. It's the second honor bestowed on the Scotsman, who was awarded an honorary law doctorate from Robert Gordon's University in his native Aberdeen last December. ... Hunter Haas will be the next amateur to turn pro. The U.S. Public Links champion will defend his title next week in Portland, then make his professional debut with sponsor's exemptions in the B.C. Open and the International. ... Notah Begay now has eight consecutive rounds in the 60s. His back-to-back wins have elevated him to No. 9 in the Presidents Cup standings. ... David Duval will be making a rare European appearance -- the Loch Lomond in Scotland, his only tournament to prepare for the British Open. ... Hal Sutton has signed a five-year extension with Spalding.

STAT OF THE WEEK

In his 47 events on the PGA Tour (1 in 1996, 30 in 1999, and 17 in 2000), Notah Begay has had only five top-10 finishes. Four of those have been victories.

FINAL WORD

"Being blonde, I'll just go back and think about nothing.'' - Janice Moodie when asked what it would be like to sleep on the lead going into the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

 

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