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Woody Austin's dip a mixed blessing

American Woody Austin, dubbed "Aqua Man" after his exploits in a lake at last month's Presidents Cup, has mixed feelings about his raised profile.

Although more people now recognize him away from the course, he would be happier if this was due to his golf rather than his comical watery tumble at Royal Montreal Golf Club.

"I would rather be known for the way I played as opposed to the dive," Austin told reporters on the eve of Thursday's opening round at the Disney Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

"Nobody talks about that, it's just about the dive."

Austin twice ended up in water in a foursomes match against David Toms against Internationals Rory Sabbatini and Trevor Immelman.

Under pressure to match Sabbatini by driving the green at the 14th, Austin pulled his tee shot into the lake lining the hole.

He took off his shoes and socks before slipping on a rock and tumbling forwards into the water while trying to play his second shot. Austin failed to make any contact with the ball before getting totally drenched.

The pair conceded the hole to go two down but Austin earned them a half with a storming birdie-birdie-birdie finish.

Wichita resident Austin has since had to deal with a range of water quips.

"Everybody I see has to make a comment about it," he said. "But nobody has surprised me. Nobody has come up with anything really good yet."

Austin, who won his third PGA Tour title at the St. Jude Championship in June, has been happy to laugh at his own expense.

"You'll find out here in a month or so I did a photo shoot in full garb, wet suit, scuba suit, with the flippers and the whole thing," the 43-year-old said.

"I didn't hit any shots but I did go in waist deep in the water."

A surprise bonus for Austin is that a golf clothing manufacturer has decided to pay him for using the images of his watery splash in advertising.

"I just found out about that yesterday," he said. "At least my sacrifice got me something because nobody seems to talk about the three birdies at the end. I'm not getting anything for that so I better get something for the dip."


November 1, 2007

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