For someone who has won $1.8 million on Tour since January 1995, Mark O'Meara is known to have a remarkably keen eye for a bargain. When describing him, some of his fellow pros bring up the C-word (no, not choke), but we think the F-word, frugal, is more on the mark. This year, after he missed the cut at Doral, O'Meara dashed back to his hotel to avoid a late checkout charge. "That was 40 bucks. That was big," he says. "That paid for the gas down and back [to his home in Orlando], plus the toll." We asked O'Meara to rate his favorite places to stay when he's alone on the road. Keep in mind, he's a no-frills kind of guy. "If I want candies on my pillow," he says, "I can stop at a 7-Eleven and pick up a pack of M&Ms." His only prerequisites are cable TV and good towels. (If it takes more than one after a shower, he won't come back.) Here's how O'Meara thinks the rooms rate.
[3 Piggy Bank] Courtyard Marriott
"The rooms are a little bigger—I get a king-sized nonsmoking, which usually comes with a couch. They've got a nice remote control and usually 14 to 16 channels, but they don't always get TNT or TBS, which is essential for the NBA playoffs."
[2� Piggy Bank]Fairfield Inn
"Just a step below the Courtyard. It's not as expensive, the rooms are about one third the size, and they've usually got a pool but no restaurant. I don't need a restaurant if there's a McDonald's close by."
[2 Piggy Bank] Holiday Inn Express
"Nice because they're newer. New is key. When you walk into the room of an older hotel, sometimes it doesn't smell so good. That's important to me."
[1 Piggy Bank]Red Roof or La Quinta
"There are pluses and minuses. I used to stay in them more, but the walls are thin and sometimes I can't get a decent night's sleep. The good thing is when you check out: You've got a big smile on your face because you're paying for seven nights what some people are paying for one night."
[3 Piggy Bank]Leading money winner
[2 Piggy Bank]Comfort zone
[1 Piggy Bank]Caddie shack