Originally created 11/28/01

Golf notebook



Major moments are not always what they seem.

Tiger Woods seized control of the Masters with clutch par putts on Nos. 9 and 10, followed by an 8-iron that grazed the cup for a tap-in birdie on the 11th hole. But when he reflects on his historic victory, the one shot that comes to mind is a 3-wood that found the fairway on No. 13.

"That really got me going on the back nine," Woods said last week on the eve of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf for the four major-championship winners.

"I was coming off a bogey on No. 12, and Phil (Mickelson) had just bombed it around the corner," Woods said. "I knew I had to put myself in position to possibly make eagle, and I hit the exact shot I wanted."

Woods hit 8-iron into 30 feet. He didn't get his eagle, but a two-putt birdie allowed him to maintain his two-stroke lead over Mickelson.

The other major winners all had defining moments - Retief Goosen's three-putt from 10 feet to fall into a playoff at the U.S. Open; David Duval's 6-iron out of the hay on No. 15 to protect his lead in the British Open; David Toms' ace during the third round of the PGA.

All of them had other shots they felt were equally important.

For Goosen, it was an up-and-down behind the 17th green in the third round at Southern Hills, one of six par saves over his final eight holes that day.

"I caught a really bad lie. I could hardly see it there," Goosen said. "That's what really stands out for me, that up-and-down for a good par from where I was."

Duval often talks about his 6-iron from 230 yards out of deep rough to 15 feet on the 15th hole in the final round. But he got into position to win his first major with a 65 in the third round, highlighted by a par on No. 17.

His approach went over the green into a collar of thick rough, with a swale in front of him and the pin only 8 feet onto the green. His pitch skipped up the slope and stopped about 20 inches away for par.

"That really kept my round together," he said.

Toms made an ace with a 5-wood on No. 15 at Atlanta Athletic Club in the third round, but his PGA Championship victory came down to his decision to lay up on the par-4 18th with a one-stroke lead over Mickelson.

While the decision proved sound, Toms wasn't thrilled with his results - until he made the 10-foot par putt to win.

"It was a full 60-degree wedge, and by our standards it wasn't that great of a shot," he said. "I should have been able to get that closer. The putt was a great shot."

TIGER'S TRIP: Tiger Woods' longest drive of the year wasn't on a golf course.

Woods writes in the December issue of Golf Digest magazine that he drove by himself in the middle of the night from St. Louis to Orlando, Fla., on Sept. 12 after the American Express Championship was canceled.

"Some people might think I'm nuts for driving halfway across the country by myself, but it seemed like the thing to do," Woods said. "Besides, negotiating 1,000 miles would require concentration, something I welcomed after the events the day before."

How did he manage?

He had a good supply of protein bars and bottled water, music, a cell phone to keep in touch with his buddies on the West Coast and limited stops. Woods filled up his car four times, each time paying at the pump. He never ate dinner and went to the bathroom only when he stopped for gas.

"I learned a long time ago how to limit pit stops on long trips," he said. "The key is not to overload with liquids. I sipped just enough water to keep the protein bars from tearing up my stomach."

Woods said he wasn't recognized during the 13 1/2 -hour drive. He said he averaged 75 mph and pulled into his driveway in Isleworth at 6 a.m.

"Home never looked so good," he said.

MASTERS UPDATE: Stuart Appleby had three big reasons to celebrate his three-stroke victory on the Gold Coast. It was his first Australian Open title, his first victory on home soil in three years, and it got him into the Masters.

Appleby moved up to No. 43 in the world ranking and is guaranteed staying in the top 50 at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Charles Howell III of Augusta, Ga., is also a lock to play his hometown tournament. Despite opening with a 75 at the Australian Open, he closed strong and tied for ninth, moving him up one spot to No. 44.

John Daly didn't play and remained safe at No. 47, while Steve Flesch is at No. 50 and needing to stay there over the next two weeks.

TALKING TURKEY: Jesper Parnevik never celebrated Thanksgiving Day growing up in Sweden, but now that he and his family live in Florida, he's trying to catch the spirit.

"We had turkey and all the stuff that goes with it," said Parnevik, whose diet once included volcano dust to cleanse his system.

He even had his daughters say what made them the most thankful.

"One of my kids was thankful for magic and bunny rabbits that are not afraid of people," Parnevik said during the Skins Game. "So, that is the level we're at right now."

Colin Montgomerie was born in Scotland and lives in England. Asked about his Thanksgiving Day, he replied, "We have not actually reached that level. Jesper's children are obviously more advanced."

DIVOTS: The two-day Skins Game had a cumulative metered market rating of 4.3, which was 72 percent higher than last year's rating. It was the highest rating for the Skins Game since it got a 4.9 in 1997 - which also was the last time Tiger Woods played. ... Karrie Webb's top prizes this year - the U.S. Open, LPGA Championship, LPGA Tour Championship ... and a green card. She got that at the end of October after applying for one a couple of years ago. A reporter asked her if that meant she was an alien with extraordinary ability. "Permanent resident," Webb replied. ... Fuzzy Zoeller, who turned 50 on Nov. 11, plans to make his Senior Tour debut in the Senior Skins game in Hawaii the last week of January.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Annika Sorenstam (31) and Karrie Webb (26) ended the season with the same number of LPGA Tour victories as their age.

FINAL WORD: "It was the first time I'd ever been seven anything ahead of Tiger." - Colin Montgomerie, when told he hit a drive 7 yards longer than Tiger Woods during the Skins Game.