Green's desperation returned last Thursday, when he shot 77 with the shorty and withdrew. His next grip may be both hands around his throat.
What with the recent talk of a World Golf Tour and the fact that players and fans agree that the PGA Tour needs a match-play tournament, one would think players would cotton to the $3.65 million Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf, whose winner will take home $1 million on Dec. 31. So where are the best players in the world? Not at the Andersen. They've got better things to do.
First-round matches for the U.S. and the Rest of the World took place on the Monday and Tuesday after the Masters at Reynolds Plantation, just a 90-minute drive east of Augusta in Lake Oconee, Ga. Paul Azinger, Mark McCumber, Corey Pavin and Loren Roberts won in the U.S. section of the draw and moved to the next round, July 31 and Aug. 1 at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis. Robert Allenby, Steve Elkington, David Frost and Craig Parry advanced for the Rest of the World. They'll play July 24 and 25 at The Oxfordshire in Thame, England.
But Greg Norman, Nick Price, Ernie Els and Fred Couples have chosen to skip the Andersen. "1 have never been a believer in playing on a Monday [after a major championship]," Norman says. Price didn't enter because the finals are scheduled for Dec. 30 and 31 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., and he spends that time of year at home in Zimbabwe. Els opted out because he'll be at home in South Africa then. And Couples was planning to play but changed his mind when he heard that Norman, Price and Els weren't. Seven of the top eight players in the Sony Rankings—including Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olaz�bal, who will skip first-round European matches at La Moraleja II Golf Club in Madrid on May 22 and 23—said no to the Andersen.
This fact wasn't lost on the first-round participants. "There's been all this talk about a world tour," McCumber said after defeating Tom Lehman in a playoff. "If this isn't a world tour event, I don't know what is. I kind of get perplexed when some names don't play. But I'll show up on New Year's Eve to win a world championship and $1 million."
The Short Game
Laura Davies had a colossal week of golf. On April 17 she set a world record for the longest drive by a woman, with a 376-yarder on a Philadelphia International Airport runway. On Sunday she won her second LPGA event of the year with her three straight 67s and a record-setting 15-under-par 201 in the rain-soaked Chick-fil-A Charity Classic in Stock-bridge, Ga. Davies beat the old tournament record and a fellow long-hitter, runner-up Kelli Robbins, by four strokes....
When asked after finishing sixth in Greensboro how he felt about not being invited to the Masters, Jesper Parnevik replied, "It seems to me it's tougher to be runner-up at the British Open than runner-up at the U.S. Amateur."...
Four weeks ago, just before The Tradition, Lee Trevino's caddie, Herman Mitchell, was hospitalized in Scottsdale for congestive heart failure and had a pacemaker implanted. "He was blown up to almost 300 pounds," says Trevino. "His lungs were full of fluid. His ankles were so big that he couldn't put his sneakers on. The only way he's going to get that bag back is if he's under 250 pounds." Mitchell, who has been hospitalized four times since 1988, weighed in at 252 last week at his home in Pensacola, Fla., and hopes to be back in action in the coming weeks....