No Zing in Azinger
The frustration is starting to show on Paul Azinger, who snapped his driver coming off the 18th tee last Thursday and snapped at a reporter requesting an interview after Friday's 75. The Open was Azinger's third, major championship since taking 10 months off to undergo chemotherapy treatments for lymphoma, and he has now failed to make the cut in two of the three.
Three weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament, Azinger talked about his comeback. "Fatigue has been a factor," Azinger said. "My endurance hasn't been quite as good. I just haven't had the energy. It has been tough. I was warned about the aftereffects of chemo. I didn't experience them at all for four or five months. But once I got going this year, it was like I hit the wall."
Azinger tied for fourth at Hawaii in his first event of the year but hasn't cracked the top 10 since. He did finish in a tie for 17th at the Masters but started feeling tired the following week at the MCI Heritage Classic, where he finished 68th. Rather than hit balls after one round, he went back to his room and took a nap. He decided then to take a month off, but his listless condition and lack of concentration in competition hasn't improved.
"I don't want to make a big deal of it, because I'm sick of people asking me how I'm doing," Azinger said on Thursday at Shinnecock. "I got up this morning at eight, stayed up an hour, went back to bed and slept to 11. I could go to sleep right now."
The Littlest Caddie
The bag looked like it weighed more than she did, especially when her father started making bogeys and ended up with the dreaded snowman on the 18th hole last Thursday. But 14-year-old Jennifer Murchison was a real trooper. The 95-pound daughter of Nike Tour survivalist Bill Murchison lugged her dad's 42-pound bag as he shot a 13-over 153 to miss the Open cut. "I bothered him about it two years ago, but he told me I was too young," Jennifer said at Shinnecock. "Last year, I bugged him again, and he let me. This is an easy course to walk. I'm not too tired."
Jennifer is the oldest of eight Murchison children, who all travel the Nike Tour in a 15-passenger van. Last week the family treated itself to a rented house that cost $3,300 for the week, thanks to a Nike Tour victory in April that earned Bill $36,000.
Jennifer has caddied in 15 Nike events, and she knows to just carry the bag and stay out of the way while her dad gets his yardages and reads the putts. "The three requirements for a caddie are to show up, keep up and shut up," Murchison said last week. "Well, she's never late. She's quiet and she's one of the few who can keep up with me. I'm a very fast walker."
Jennifer's 12-year-old brother, William III, wants his turn inside the gallery ropes, too, but Jennifer isn't worried about job security. For now, he'll have to be content as a backup caddie on the Nike tour. "I have the experience," says Jennifer.