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More views on the "Grand Slam"

Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson isn't sure whether a victory by Tiger Woods in The Masters would constitute a grand slam, only that it would be the greatest feat of his generation.

After closing out the 2000 season with victories in the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship -- setting a scoring record in all of them -- Woods has a chance this week to become the first player to hold the four professional majors at the same time.

The debate, however, is whether the majors have to be won in the same calendar year to count as the Grand Slam that Arnold Palmer dreamed up in 1960.

Johnson said there should be no debate over a phrase.

``I think it would be the greatest achievement of his time,'' he said. ``I hope that if Tiger wins this week, it will be considered that way - just as it was for Bob Jones in 1930.''

Jones, who started The Masters along with Clifford Roberts in 1934, won the original Grand Slam in 1930 with victories in the U.S. Open, British Open, U.S. Amateur and British Amateur.

``It should not be looked upon as four straight majors, but ... ,'' Johnson said. ``It should be looked upon as four straight majors, and no one has ever done that in his era. I don't know if that's a Grand Slam, but it is something grand.''

BEAUTY DEFINED

It's a wonder Stuart Appleby didn't find cosmetics in his locker when he check in at Augusta National on Monday.

During the Match Play Championship at the start of the year, Appleby took issue with Tom Lehman's assessment that Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne was only ``a wedge'' behind Augusta in condition.

``I think it's a whole set of clubs ahead of Augusta National in condition,'' the Aussie said at the time. ``Augusta is very tricked up, very manufactured, special grass, special sand in the bunkers and really a lot of makeup on it.''

Appleby loves Augusta. The Masters is the major he wants more than any other. But he didn't back down from his assessment.

``Metropolitan is the best-conditioned course anywhere in the world,'' he said outside the Augusta clubhouse. ``Augusta is not a 12-month course. It's primed up for this week. It's been worked and cut and shaped and painted. Visually, it's absolutely stunning.''

ROOKIE AGAIN

Michael Campbell of New Zealand has already played in The Masters, although he feels like a rookie again.

Campbell is a rising international star who has won six times in the past two years, moving up to No. 18 in the world ranking. His only other trip to Augusta National was in 1996, the year after he tied for third in the British Open at St. Andrews.

So much has changed.

``They grew rough, and that's very unusual for me because five years ago there was no rough whatsoever. It was completely fairway,'' Campbell said. ``Some of the trees are getting larger, and the fairways are getting more narrow.''

Campbell has changed, too.

He injured his left wrist in the months leading up to the '96 Masters and probably should have sat out, but ``I couldn't just sit and watch Augusta on TV.''

While the course looks different, Campbell is no longer a rookie in one sense. He didn't feel as much awe when he registered for the Masters.

``I'm more comfortable,'' he said. ``Last time I was like a kid in a candy store, going around looking at parts of the golf course you shouldn't look at. Now, I'm more focused. My chances are pretty good this week.''

MAY DAY

Bob May, who gave Tiger Woods all he could handle at Valhalla before losing in a three-hole playoff, qualified for his first Masters as the runner-up in the PGA Championship. He wasn't about to miss it, despite a bad back.

May injured his lower back during the third round of the Bob Hope Classic and hasn't played since.

``If this wasn't The Masters, I might take another week or so off,'' May said. ``If it bothers me before Thursday, I won't play. But right now it doesn't bother me.''

DIVOTS

Tiger Woods finally arrived a little after 2 p.m. and played a practice round with Florida neighbors Stuart Appleby and Mark O'Meara. ... The leaderboard behind the 10th green at Augusta is no longer there, thanks to 40 mph gusts Sunday that sent an 80-foot Georgia pine crashing through it. By Monday, club officials had removed the tree and the entire leaderboard. ... Lee Westwood's appearance in The Masters is looking increasingly doubtful. The Englishman was still at home waiting on his wife to deliver their first child. ... The second cut of rough that tightened the landing area on the 10th fairway has been moved back to where it was previously, allowing players more room down the right to catch the slope on the 485-yard par 4.


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