The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 25, 1998 · Page 91
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March 25, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 91

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Wednesday, March 25, 1998
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Page 91
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THE PALM BEACH POST WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 1998 7C This week r Its S is : t 11,).:-. f p)JA. 26 ESPN 21 ESPN The Players 3- p.m. 3-8 p.m. : i ' " 28 NBC 29 NBC 2-6 p.m. p.m. Championship Round 2 Rajna3 9ouni4 LPGA: ESPN2 ESPN2 ABC ABC Nabisco Dinah 5.7 B m S-7 p.m. 4 p.m. 4-6 p.m. Shore Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 , SENIORS: GOLF GOLF GOLF Southwestern 5-8-30 p.m. 6-8:30 p.m. 6:30 9 p.m. Bell Dominion, San Antonio Round 1 Round 2 Round j If St f ! 1 I 1. 1 I u ' 1 f IJ 1 1 i t V spotlight by the numbers tip of the week FROM: Olin Browne, touring pro. WHAT BROWNE SAYS: Most amateurs I watch don't have TPC turns 25 MM w&m'm j". . mf. ..... - - tf I "J x - fn I :, r v mT' sari. X . ) Deane Beman's event didn't achieve the major status he envisioned, but it thrived despite early misgivings. By Craig Dolch Palm Beach Post Staff Writer PONTE VEDRA BEACH Deane Beman received a plaque Tuesday for making The Players Championship one of golfs premier events. Sixteen years ago, all he received was flak. Beman was chastized by most players for his decision to move the tournament to a permanent course owned by the PGA Tour. The criticism reached a crescendo in 1982 when the first event was held at the Tour's stadium-designed course, TPC at Sawgrass. Jerry Pate won the event, and celebrated by tossing Beman and course designer Pete Dye into a lake adjacent to the 18th green. This splash was more because many players were concerned about the Tour taking a financial bath. "It was a very trying time for the PGA Tour," Pate said. "A lot of players weren't sure we should have stadium golf. 'What are we doing getting into this business? Why do we want to own our own golf course?' "It's obvious Deane was a lot smarter than we were." Beman may have been smarter, but it's the players who have become richer for his vision. The Players Championship which this week celebrates its 25th anniversary has yet to reach the major status Beman desired, but it has evolved into the showcase Beman knew it could. Virtually every top player in the world will be here (46 of the top 50 players off the world rankings list). The purse is a record $4 million, including a $720,000 first prize. Television will show almost 20 hours of live coverage and ticket sales had to be capped at 35,000 a day. Not bad for a supposedly loony idea. "You've got to have a lot of confidence that you're right about it," Beman said. "I thought I knew where golf was going." He knew he wasn't satisfied with where it was. Beman said at the time golf was "a very small, minor sport." He noted there was very little television revenue, and only about a dozen events were televised. Beman also knew the Tour was not cashing in on the sport's big-money events because the four majors are all staged indepedently. The Masters is run 0 1 I FILE PHOTO Jerry Pate (right) and Pete Dye climb out of the water at the 18th green after Pate dived in following his 1982 Tournament Players Championship victory. prper. rrrTsr grips, nr you have a weak grip, you tend to lose the ball right. If you have a strong grip, you tend to fight Browne hooking it. The way to get a proper grip is to hold the club vertically, grab it with the fingers, fold your palm over the top of the club and -match up the right hand to the left. Most people tend to grip the club in the palm of their '. hands. The support you're ! hole of the week 440 Yards Par 4 r WHERE: TPC at Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach. WHAT: This serves as quite a follow-up to the signature par-3 island green on No. 17. This dogleg-left has water running ; down the entirety of the left , side, meaning a double-bogey is just a hooked shot away. The green also has several tiers, putting more of a premium on accuracy. The hole ranked 12th on Tour last year in difficulty, : averaging 4.415 strokes. ; WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT IT: "It's a hole where every shot has a risk-reward value. You really have to have the nerve to play the hole easily. If you want to drive it down there for a 7-iron or 8-iron shot, you have to ride the rail. Otherwise, you can bail out and have a 4- or 5-iron to the green. The second shot also has a high shot value. It's a fair but difficult hole," said PGA Tour player David Ogrin. f Golf Extra money leaders, statistical leaders 9C , 1 "T J j.mlS' 3 Number of players who have competed fT'' in all 25 Players Championships: Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw and Larry Nelson. Despite their longevity, none of this trio has won this event. 3.081 The average score for the par-3, island 17th hole during the 16 years the tournament has been held at the TPC at Sawgrass. 70.64 Tom Lehman's career stroke average in 22 rounds at The Players. That's the lowest for anyone who has played a minimum of 16 rounds. bogeys, birdies 9 Birdie: The LPGA ; should be commended for offering Beth Bauer a sponsor's exemption into this week's Dinah Shore. Bauer, who lives in Valrico, Fla., has won almost every important junior event the past two years. Now she has the ; chance to compare her game to the professionals in a major j championship. Bogey: Nabisco, which sponsors the Dinah Shore, should have : also given an exemption to Hobe ; Sound resident Jackie Gallagher-; ; Smith. She has had two top-10 finishes this year, has made ; seven consecutive cuts and i ; ranks 18th on the money list, yet : ; she was not invited to play in the season's first major. To make i matters worse, Nabisco didn't ' use any of its exemptions allocated for professionals. rule booh Vijay Singh has become the latest professional to have his rarlrlv stand I it- i - V- behind him and help him line up putts. Is the caddy allowed to remain there during the putt? No. Acording to Rule 16-1, a player may not allow his caddy or partner to position himself on or close to an extension of the line of putt behind the ball. The exception would be if the caddy is attending to the flagstick. schedule Friday-Saturday: PBCGA Senior Point Quota, Greenview Cove, Wellington. April 3: Michelle McGann Golf Classic, benefit for the Diabetes Research Institute, PGA National. For information, call 1-800-321-3437. April 8: PPrOA Senior Cia., Lonenlsles East. April 18-19: PBCGA Stroke Play Classic, Cobblestone, Palm City. After 330 Just 22 18-HoIe CJiampionsIijp Course True-liny Practice Facility Daily Fee Starting at $38 The J Florida! Club" time winner), Lanny Wadkins, Lee Tre-vino, Raymond Floyd, Fred Couples (twice), Tom Kite, Steve Elkington (twice), Davis Love III, Nick Price, Greg Norman and Lee Janzen. In all, 16 of the 20 winners also have won major titles. No player has won this event without having previously won on Tour. "It's our premier event," Price said. "It is one of our hardest to win." Said Janzen: "I already had a major, so for me winning the Players Championship was a validation more than anything. That week I played the best golf I ever had on Tour." The debate over whether The Players Championship should be considered a major may continue for 25 more years. A designation won't change the way the players view their own event. "This tournament is a major importance for us players," said Mark McCumber, who won here in 1988. "Obviously, this is more than just a special tournament." withdraws "It's more of a positive because I'm celebrating a year of sobriety," Daly said. "It's going to be a positive week. It's a new environment for me." Daly who will celebrate his one-year anniversary on Saturday, also had no problem talking about the 18 he made last week on the par-5 sixth hole at the Bay Hill Invitational. Daly hit his first six shots into the water as he tried to cut off the dogleg. "I think it's humorous," he said. "I just thought I could do it." Noteworthy: The weather was warm and dry Tuesday, and with more of the same expected the rest of the week, the greens will become very fast. Defending champ Elkington by Augusta National, the U.S. Open by the USGA, the British Open by the European PGA Tour and the PGA Championship by the PGA of America. The PGA Tour was left with all the second-level events. "That seemed incredible to me," Beman said. "Can you imagine any other sport without its playoffs or its all-star games? They are the things that drive the whole sport. This finally gave us something to drive our sport." It was known as the Tournament Players Championship when the inaugural event was held in 1974. It didn't help that the event was played at four different sites in its first four years Atlanta; Fort Worth, Texas; Fort Lauderdale; before moving to Sawgrass Country Club across the street from TPC at Sawgrass for five years. Beman isn't the only reason why The Players Championship has become such a major event, despite its non-major status. The list of winners reads like a roll call of the game's greats: Jack Nicklaus (a three- the Honda Classic. There have been three multiple-winners Jack Nicklaus (three times), Fred Couples (twice) and Elkington (twice) in the event's 24-year history, but none has won it in successive years. Elkington's spot was taken by Stephen Ames. Elkington's departure leaves The Players without four of the top 50 players in the world rankings. The others missing are Bill Glasson, Mark McNulty and Brian Watts. a Daly's anniversary: John Daly said he has no problem returning to the site where his third marriage ended last year when he went on a drunken rage after the first round of The Players. 1 -f ,i By Craig Doted Palm Beach Post Staff Writer PONTE VEDRA BEACH The Players Championship will go another year without a player successfully defending his title. Steve Elkington, who won last year's tournament by a record seven strokes, withdrew Tuesday because he said he has not recovered from sinus surgery. He underwent the operation last Thursday in Houston. Elkington was scheduled to have the surgery performed the week after the Masters, but his allergies became too severe. lie had missed the cut in his last two events, the Doral-Ryder Open and 4 r t i - p, . A 20 minutes north of PGA Blvd. Stuart exit 61 one mile west of 1-95 Call for Tee Times (561)287-3680 or 8S8 FLA-CirB

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