Originally created 06/26/02

Golf notebook



Tiger Woods might be the No. 1 player in golf, the only man to have won four professional majors in a row and the first player in 30 years to have won the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year.

But he's no Britney Spears.

Woods finished second to the pop singer in Forbes magazine's Celebrity 100, a list of top athletes and entertainers based on such factors as 12-month earnings, feature articles, cover stories and Web hits.

Forbes listed Woods' earnings at $69 million, dwarfing the $39.2 million for Spears. Woods also had 50,650 press clippings, nearly double the amount for Spears. In fact, the only celebrity on the list with more press clippings than Woods over the last year was former President Bill Clinton (65,372).

Spears made up ground with 997,000 hits on Web sites; Woods had only 378,000, according to the magazine.

Woods and Michael Jordan (No. 9) were the only athletes in the top 10. Still, sports figures outnumbered other big-name moneymakers in the Celebrity 100 list published in the July 8 issue of the magazine.

The only other golfer on the list is Arnold Palmer, at No. 65.

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SEEING DOUBLE: Scott Hoch has posted back-to-back finishes in the top 10, and he says that's no coincidence. For the first time since the Houston Open in late March, he is seeing only one golf ball.

Hoch thinks the problem with his eyesight stems from cholesterol medication he started taking after a yearly checkup in March.

"My eyesight was 20/15 in one and 20/20 in the other," he said. "I started taking that (medication) and 10 days later, my eyesight went to 20/50 in both eyes. It's tough to play when you go from 20/20 to 20/50 in two weeks."

He had corrective eye surgery a week before the Masters, but the problem returned on the weekend when he had to come back to Augusta to finish the second round.

"I come out to the range and I'm seeing two 'Titleists' written on the practice ball," he said. "So, I knew I was in trouble."

Hoch found a contact lens to help him at Bethpage. And he's still taking the cholesterol medication.

"I figured it's probably better to live and not be able to see as well than not to live," he said.

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MISSING IN ACTION: When David Duval won the British Open last year for his first major championship, it seemed that would only be the start. One year later, it might be time to file a missing-persons report.

Duval missed the cut at the Greater Hartford Open, the first time in his eight-year career on the PGA Tour - a span of 193 tournaments - that he has missed the cut in three consecutive events.

Worse yet, he has only one top 10 this year - a tie for fourth at the Memorial after closing with a 6-under 66 - and is 75th on the money list.

"I haven't played well for a myriad of reasons," Duval said. "I haven't driven the ball quite as well. I haven't putted quite as well. But I've played well for nine years and this is the first extended stretch where I've played poorly."

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NO TIGER TAMERS: Tiger Woods has won all eight of his majors while playing in the final pairing Sunday. Making it even easier for him is that Woods averages nearly four strokes better than his playing partners in the final round.

Only Bob May has posted a better score when paired with Woods in the final round of a major, a 6-under 66 at Valhalla in the 2000 PGA Championship. Woods had a 67, then defeated May in the three-hole playoff.

Phil Mickelson is the only other player to have broken par while paired with Woods, a 2-under 70 at the 2001 Masters (Woods closed with a 68).

Woods' other victims: Costantino Rocca (75) in the '97 Masters; Mike Weir (80) in the '99 PGA Championship; Ernie Els (72) in the '00 U.S. Open; David Duval (75) in the '00 British Open; Retief Goosen (74) in the '02 Masters; and Sergio Garcia (74) at Bethpage.

Another note: No player has finished runner-up to Woods in a major more than once.

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NO NAPLES: If the LPGA Tour has a Florida swing in its future, it won't include Naples. After a yearlong effort to find a new sponsor, the founder of the Naples LPGA Memorial tournament is giving up.

"We failed," said Tom Brown, who suspended the 2002 tournament with hopes of finding a title sponsor for next year. "We tried everything."

The tournament was called he Naples LPGA Memorial in its inaugural year of 1999 and the Subaru Memorial in 2000 and 2001. Subaru pulled out after it learned the event might be pushed from January to April.

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LATE FOR A WAIT: Players routinely violate the PGA Tour policy for slow play, but they rarely - if ever - are penalized with extra strokes.

The harshest punishment is seemingly saved for the most serious offenders.

Like Robert Allenby.

With driver in hand, the Aussie was walking casually to the 10th tee to start the first round of the Buick Classic when he heard his playing partner's name announced.

Allenby scooted to the tee, knowing he would have to wait for the green to clear on the reachable par 4. About five minute later, he teed off and was walking toward the fairway when a rules official told him to add two strokes to his score because he was late arriving to the first tee.

Allenby shot 65. He had to sign for a 67.

"That's a stupid rule," Allenby said. "I could understand if they had all teed off and were going down the fairway. I was there. I had to wait for the green to clear."

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DIVOTS: The best parity in golf is on the LPGA Futures Tour, where 11 tournaments has produced 11 winners. A year ago at this time, Beth Bauer, Angela Buzminski and Ju Kim each had at least two victories. ... Individual tickets for the PGA Championship have been sold out, with 85 percent of those tickets bought by Minnesota residents. It's the first time Minnesota has had a major championship since the 1991 U.S. Open.

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STAT OF THE WEEK: British bookmakers have lowered the odds of Tiger Woods winning the Grand Slam from 50-1 to 4-1.

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FINAL WORD: "We have enough to deal with supporting women's golf without dividing into different countries." - Meg Mallon, on the importance of an American winning the U.S. Women's Open.