The 18th green at the Doral Resort and Country Club in Miami is just 20 miles from the spot where Raymond Floyd's house once stood. On Sunday the 49-year-old Floyd walked off that green after finishing with a 17-under-par 271 to win the Doral Ryder Open, his 22nd career Tour victory. The title was his first since 1986, and it came 2½ weeks after what Floyd called "the worst thing that ever happened to me."
At 3 a.m. on Feb. 19, when he was in San Diego preparing for the Buick Invitational, the Floyds' six-bedroom house on Indian Creek, an island in Biscayne Bay, caught fire. Floyd's wife, Maria, and their three children escaped unharmed. But the $2.7 million house, which Floyd designed, was destroyed, and most of the mementos from his 31-year pro career and his family's life were lost.
"It's a snapshot or a baby picture or a wedding picture," says Floyd. "Each picture is a 10-minute story. We lost everything. All our picture albums. Two hallways, hundreds of pictures on the wall, with Maria and friends and family. All destroyed." Floyd was so distraught over the fire that he was going to skip the Doral, which he had won twice. "I wasn't going to play, but Maria insisted," Floyd says.
At the Doral, Floyd beat Fred Couples (page 50) and Keith Clearwater by two strokes, and with the victory he became only the second golfer to win PGA Tour events in four decades (Sam Snead was the first, winning in the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s). On Sunday Floyd said, "I've felt all week that this tournament was for Maria and the kids." After pausing, he added, "Maybe adversity is what I need to win, but I sure as hell don't need another fire."
The Floyds arc planning to build a new house on the site of the old one. And while some of what they lost is irreplaceable, they now have the first item for a new trophy case.
On the Outside
Do the Derby plans for Arazi make horse sense?
Nobody in thoroughbred racing is quite certain what to make of the plans that the handlers of Arazi, the favorite for the Kentucky Derby, have come up with to prepare their horse for the May 2 race.
After his stunning victory on Nov. 2 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs (SI, Nov. 11, 1991), Arazi had arthroscopic surgery on his knees and was shipped to his home base of Chantilly, a training center about 25 miles north of Paris. Next it was announced that the colt would race only once before returning to Louisville for the 1¼-mile Derby. That outing will probably be on April 7 in the Prix Omnium II, a one-mile race on the grass at Saint-Cloud, just outside Paris, although Arazi's owners have also nominated him for the Blue Grass Stakes, which will be run at Keeneland on April 11.
Privately, trainers of some of the other Derby contenders doubt that even a superhorse can win the Derby off such a bizarre game plan. Even Secretariat, an above-average nag, had three races, all on the dirt and all in the U.S., before his Triple Crown sweep in 1973. And Secretariat wasn't coming off knee surgery.