Six months ago Thorpe decided to rededicate himself to golf. In Vancouver last month he came in 19th, his best finish since 1994. His main problem is getting into tournaments. His exempt status as a past champion will get him into perhaps 10 events, mostly smaller end-of-the-year tournaments.
He could complain about being over-looked, especially after he was snubbed this year by the Tucson Chrysler Classic, an event he won twice. Instead, Thorpe, who finished as high as fourth on the money list, in 1985, has lost 20 pounds and hit a lot of balls. "Sponsors are in a tough position," Thorpe says. "There are 50 guys like myself looking for invites. I decided I'm going to try to play my way back in. The way I'm playing now, I believe I can."
The Shag Bag
The Senior tour's 15-year stay in Lexington, Ky., came to a close last week when Vicente Fern�ndez won the Bank One Senior Classic at Kearney Hill Links, defeating Isao Aoki by a stroke. Several months ago the Senior tour delivered an ultimatum to the tournament's sponsors: Get the purse up to $1 million or get lost. After considerable deliberation the sponsors and Lexington civic leaders decided the tour had gotten too expensive. Next year, Lexington's spot will likely be taken by a larger city. Dallas and Portland appear to be the front-runners....
Chris Johnson sank an eight-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the LPGA Safeway Championship in Portland by a stroke over Kim Saiki and Lisa Hackney. During last year's Safeway, Johnson bogeyed the final two holes to lose by two strokes to Dottie Pepper. This year she birdied the 17th and 18th holes to erase a two-stroke deficit. She was also helped out by Hackney, who bogeyed two of the final four holes....
Amid the outcry over the removal of Miguel Angel Martin from the European Ryder Cup team last week, U.S. captain Tom Kite was supportive of his counterpart, Seve Ballesteros. "The reality is that you're trying to field the best team to win the Cup," said Kite.
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