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NEWS AND NOTES
January 20, 1997
Keep an Eye On These Kids
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January 20, 1997

News And Notes

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Tonga is a chain of islands on the international date line, 3,100 miles east of Australia and 3,000 miles south of Hawaii (but of course, you knew that). Manamo'ui, with a membership of 120, is a 2,241-yard par-35 nine-hole track outside the capital city of Nuku'alofa and is the country's only course. It was only recently expanded from six holes. Before Manamo'ui was built in 1979, Tonga had gone 14 years without golf. Another course was closed in 1965 because the Tongan queen, Salotein, was buried in the adjacent royal tombs, and it is sacrilegious for Tongans to play golf near the tombs. Luckily for Sharma and his first shot, New Year's Day fell on a Wednesday, not a Sunday. The Tongan constitution prohibits work and recreation on Sundays, so anyone caught sneaking in a round of golf on that day can wind up in jail.

The Shag Bag

Asked where he wants to take his game in '97, Justin Leonard says, "Spain—and not on a wine tour." Leonard narrowly missed making the 1995 Ryder Cup team and wants to be on the U.S. side in September at Valderrama in Sotogrande, Spain....

The 2002 Solheim Cup will be played at Interlachen Country Club, outside Minneapolis....

Earl and Tiger Woods will not play together in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, as they had planned. Earl is preparing for heart bypass surgery, tentatively scheduled for next month....

More Tiger: Woods has fired his attorney, John Merchant, a former member of the USGA executive committee....

Following a six-month sabbatical from tournament golf after a horrid stretch in which he missed 41 of 42 cuts, 1991 British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch returned to the game last week at the Victorian Open in Melbourne. He shot 77-74 to miss another cut....

At the Tournament of Champions, Jenny Lidback became the first LPGA player to make holes in one on consecutive days when she aced the 147-yard 17th hole at Weston Hills with a five-iron on Saturday and the 146-yard 11th hole with a six-iron on Sunday. Lidback tied for 11th....

After playing for seven years in Europe, Sandy Lyle has rejoined the PGA Tour....

Reached at home in Hobe Sound, Fla., Greg Norman scoffed at reports that his no-show at the Mercedes was to spite Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who failed to keep Norman informed about the Tour's plan for a series of events that could become a world tour. "I decided in October to start a strict program to strengthen my back, and I'm going to be religious about it," Norman said. "This stuff about me getting even is a load of garbage."

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