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Golf Notes June 28

Tiger Woods tied a scoring record and shattered the mark in relation to par with his 15-stroke victory at Pebble Beach in the U.S. Open. And how many shots did he hit right on the button?


"The eighth hole on Sunday, the 6-iron I hit into the green,'' Woods said during a conference call for the NEC Invitational, where he will defend the championship in August. "I hit about a five-yard cut, which was perfect, from 220 (yards) downhill to land the ball three yards on the green, which was perfect.''

This isn't arrogance. This isn't Tiger saying he won with his "C-game,'' a comment that riled so many of his peers after the '97 GTE Byron Nelson Classic. Woods simply was quoting Ben Hogan when he said a player is lucky to hit four perfect shots during a tournament.

"People don't understand this is a game of misses,'' Woods said. "The key is to hit your misses where they turn out good, where you go play them and they end up in the right place.''

Such was the case in the third round of the Memorial, where Woods had 238 yards from a slightly downhill lie to carry a bunker. His 3-iron looked perfect, especially when it grazed the cup and stopped 20 feet away.

"A heel-pull," Woods described it.

In other words, a good miss. And he's been "missing'' better than everyone for the past 13 months.


The Robert Trent Jones Club, site of the Presidents Cup in October, will become the latest team match-play venue to offer a par 4 that will tempt players to drive the green.

Officials plan to play the 394-yard hole that runs along Lake Manassas from the forward tee, where it will measure 314 yards, and remove a pot bunker that will allow a perfectly struck drive to run up to the green.

Last year, several Ryder Cup players tried to drive No. 6 at The Country Club, while the water-guarded 10th hole at The Belfry in England, site of next year's Ryder Cup, is also renowned as a great risk-reward hole because it can be driven.

RTJ has held The Presidents Cup in 1994 and 1996. The PGA Tour wants to take its version of the Ryder Cup to California when it returns to America in 2004. If that's the case, officials with RTJ are lobbying the tour to get a World Golf Championship event, either the NEC Invitational or the 2003 American Express Championship.

The Presidents Cup goes to South Africa in 2002. One possibility for an international venue in 2006 is Canada.


Davis Love III is not surprised there was a runaway winner in the U.S. Open, only that it wasn't him.

This from a player who hasn't won in over two years, and who missed the cut at Pebble Beach while Tiger Woods was shattering records on his way to a 15-stroke victory.

In the days before the U.S. Open, Love said, he told his swing coach, Jack Lumpkin, "This is one where if we get it going, we can run away and put it away early.''

"I was thinking like being ahead four or five, and nobody making birdies, or being ahead by five with 27 holes to go,'' he said.

Love has some experience there. At the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot, Love had rounds 66-71-66-66 on a course set up like a U.S. Open and won by five strokes.

"The way I played at the PGA, that's going to win 99.5 percent of the majors,'' he said. "The key is, how do you get there? Tiger has done that in two majors in a short career. His hitting on all cylinders happens a lot more than it does for everyone else.''


When golf and Generation X collide, it doesn't always yield the most favorable results. Consider what happened in Connecticut recently in the Division III state high school championships.

Waterford and Stonington were going to a playoff to determine the title, when Waterford was declared the winner on a disqualification.

The ruling?

A Stonington High player ignored repeated requests by tournament officials, his coach, and even an opponent to wear his hat with the brim out front.

"Wearing the brim in front was instructed as the committee's attempt to have the players present themselves as gentlemen,'' Tom O'Donnell, a high school coach and tournament official, told The Day of New London. "That's the standard we've always held. To entice clubs to invite us back, we will not show any disrespect.''


Ping is trying to drum up business for its club-fitting program, and also channel some money to The First Tee program.

The Phoenix-based company has proclaimed July as "Ping Club Fitting Month.'' For every documented fitting of its irons, metal woods or putters, Ping will donate $1 to The First Tee's Life Skills Program.

The First Tee program is trying to make golf affordable and accessible to everyone, particularly kids.

"Since The First Tee was formed 2 1/2 years ago, we've been looking for a unique way to show our support,'' said John Solheim, chairman and CEO of Ping.

Ping plans to promote the monthlong campaign in print advertising and a 30-second spot on The Golf Channel featuring CBS golf announcer Peter Oosterhuis, one of its staff players.


Tiger Woods is on a pace to break the PGA Tour record for actual scoring average, 69.23 set by Sam Snead in 1950. Woods's average going into the Western Open is 68.25. ... How far-reaching was Woods's victory in the U.S. Open? In the two days after he won, The Presidents Cup sold 3,000 tickets. ... Davis Love III noted that Woods has won by a combined 20 strokes in his last two tournaments -- five shots at the Memorial and 15 at the U.S. Open. "The next time he plays, he's not going to be thinking if he's going to win, but by how many,'' Love said.


Tiger Woods was 24 years, 5 months and 19 days old when he won the U.S. Open for his 20th PGA Tour victory. Previously, the youngest player to win 20 times on tour was Horton Smith in 1935, who was 26 years, 8months and 22 days.


"I'm going to have a SnackWells Coors Light.'' -- Juli Inkster, when asked which one of her sponsor's cookies she would eat to celebrate her victory in the LPGA Championship.


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