Get a Grip
Taylor Smith made at least one new fan two weeks ago in Orlando when he tied Tiger Woods's score in the Walt Disney World/ Oldsmobile Classic but was disqualified for using a putter with an illegal grip.
Short-game guru Dave Pelz (GOLF PLUS, Oct. 14), whose Compaq World Putting Championship will be held Dec. 1-3 at Disney World, was so impressed that he persuaded his six-man tournament committee to give Smith one of the 10 sponsor's invitations to play in the event. "This guy had been dealt such a tough deal, and he handled it with so much class," says Pelz. "He was in position to win on the Tour, so you know he can putt."
But before going back to Disney to putt for the $250,000 top prize in Pelz's tournament, Smith had better get his 44-inch-long putter regripped. "Oh, yes, he must have the problem corrected," says Pelz. "We're going by USGA rules."
Ryder Cup Kid
Like so many other members of the golf establishment, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Kite has done an about-face on Tiger Woods. Two months ago Woods was not on Kite's short list of candidates for a captain's pick for the 1997 team. Now Woods tops it. "Let's just say that if 1 was picking today, based on the last eight weeks, Tiger would be chosen, no question about it," Kite says.
Not that Kite is likely to have to make the choice. Woods is already 14th on the Ryder Cup points list. Kite is sure that Woods will crack the top 10 and earn an automatic berth on the team.
If Woods plays at Valderrama, he will be the second-youngest Ryder Cupper to represent the U.S. When he played in '29, Horton Smith was 21 years and four days old. Woods will be 21 years, eight months and 27 days when the match kicks off on Sept. 26 in Sotogrande, Spain.
The Short Game
Rumors that Woods was also playing with an illegal putter at the Disney were so hot and heavy that when he arrived in Tulsa for the Tour Championship, David Eger, the Tour's vice president of competition, went so far as to personally measure the hosel on Woods's putter to make sure it did not exceed five inches, the USGA maximum....