Originally created 06/19/02

Golf notebook



If anyone wants to stop Tiger Woods from winning the Grand Slam this year, perhaps they can find inspiration from Lee Trevino.

Thirty years ago, Jack Nicklaus won the Masters and U.S. Open, then headed to Muirfield as he tried to add the third leg of the Grand Slam at the British Open. Trevino chipped in for birdie on the 71st hole to beat Nicklaus by one stroke.

"He brought out the best in me," Trevino said. "He was the best. Everybody always wrote about how many majors he had won. I just tried my damnedest to beat him. That's the guy I had my sights on. I didn't care who else was running in the race.

"If Jack was playing, I wanted to beat Jack, because we knew if we could beat Jack, it was pretty good odds we were going to win the golf tournament."

Trevino had a one-stroke lead over Tony Jacklin, and was six ahead of Nicklaus going into the last round.

"I remember going to the first hole and telling Jacklin, 'I think he can catch one of us, but not both of us,"' Trevino said.

Nicklaus had the lead at one point in the final round, but missed an 8-foot par putt on the 16th hole to fall into a tie, setting the stage for Trevino's clutch chip-in on No. 17.

"I really believe that if Jack would have parred the 16th hole, we wouldn't have beaten him," Trevino said.

Woods won the U.S. Open to become the first player since Nicklaus to capture the first two legs of the Grand Slam. Just like 30 years ago, the next stop is Muirfield.

Trevino thinks Woods will be the man to beat.

"Jack set the bar, just like Tiger is setting the bar now," Trevino said.

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CONSOLATION PRIZE: Not many in the gallery at Bethpage Black realized what was at stake when Tom Byrum played the 18th hole Sunday. He made a birdie, moving him into a tie for eighth place and earning a trip to the Masters.

Augusta National invites the top eight and ties from the U.S. Open. For Byrum, it will be his first Masters appearance since 1990, when he missed the cut after rounds of 77-78.

Also getting into next year's Masters was Jeff Maggert, who finished third.

Maggert had played in 38 consecutive majors - the fourth-longest streak among active players - until he failed to qualify for the Masters this year.

"Not being at Augusta this year was definitely a low point," Maggert said. "It will be fun to get back, and maybe this will start another streak."

Maggert also is in good shape to make the British Open. One of the criteria is to be among the top seven players not already exempt on a special money list that includes The Players Championship and the five PGA Tour stops through the Western Open.

Maggert tied for 14th at the Players, and leads that list at $364,000.

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CADDIE APPRENTICE: If Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia were an intriguing pairing for the final round of the U.S. Open, so were their caddies.

Anthony Knight has been working for the Garcia the last month. He was a good amateur player in New Zealand who wanted to be a professional caddie, so he sent a letter to fellow Kiwi caddie Steve Williams asking for help several years ago.

"I get a lot of letters like that," Williams said. "I ran into (former Western Open winner) Jim Benepe, who said he was going down to play the Australasian tour. He didn't have a caddie lined up, so I asked him to give Tony a try."

Knight, known as "Antman" among his peers, later worked for Frank Nobilo, then joined Garcia in time to meet his mentor in the final round of a major championship.

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HOGAN BALL: Mark Brooks, who hasn't won since capturing the 1996 PGA Championship, has finally returned to playing the Hogan irons.

And that's not all.

Brooks was among those who used the new Hogan Apex Tour ball at the U.S. Open, just two weeks after it was added to the U.S. Golf Association's list of conforming balls.

The switch didn't make life easier for Brooks at Bethpage Black, where he missed the cut with rounds of 75-78.

Bernhard Langer also used the ball and tied for 35th.

"I've noticed a huge difference in distance," Langer told Golf World Business. "I'm a low-ball hitter and this ball definitely flies a little higher. I've been searching for extra distance for a while, but I hadn't been able to find it until now."

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GETTING THE ITCH: Johnny Miller has the claw and an itch.

Miller dropped hints last week that he might venture out to the Senior PGA Tour on occasion since his health is better and he has cured his putting yips by using the "claw" grip.

"Physically, I've just been a mess since about '97," Miller said, mentioning injuries to his back, leg, knees and wrist.

"I'm healing up and feeling pretty good about my game," he said. "For the first time in 10 or 15 years, I'm getting the itch to play a little bit of senior golf because I'm playing well."

Miller also says his son Andy, who had an ace in the final round of the U.S. Open and tied for 62nd, might have inspired him.

"I'm not as good as Andy," Miller said. "But I'm not chopped liver, either."

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DIVOTS: Clothing with the St. Andrews logo will be easier to find in the United States. St. Andrews Links Trust, which runs the Old Course, has endorsed four U.S. companies to use the official logo on a collection of clothing and golf items. ... Lorena Ochoa of Mexico won for the first time as a professional on the Futures Tour. The former Arizona star birdied five of the last nine holes to win last week in Decatur, Ill. ... Curtis Strange and Sam Torrance will go from opposing captains to opposing players. The Ryder Cup captains have accepted special invitations to play in the UBS Warburg Cup, an exhibition for players in theirs 40s and 50s. It will be played Nov. 15-17 at Sea Island.

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STAT OF THE WEEK: The two longest holes in U.S. Open history were no match for Niclas Fasth of Sweden. He played the 492-yard 10th and the 499-yard 12th holes at Bethpage Black in 3-under par with no bogeys.

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FINAL WORD: "I'm not playing against him. Jack quit playing major championships a few years back." - Tiger Woods, when asked if Jack Nicklaus and his 18 majors were his only rival.