Off the Mark: Tiger Woods was delighted last week when Tour officials at Pebble Beach said yes to his request to play in the same foursome as buddy Mark O'Meara, winner of the AT&T a record five times. "I need to see how you do it," Woods said to O'Meara before the tournament. "You've got five; maybe I can get one." Sure, pal. In the rain-shortened opening round, O'Meara, starting on the 10th hole at Poppy Hills, made a double-bogey 7 after blading a bunker shot OB. He bogeyed 11, 15, 16 and 17 and slogged home with a 42, his worst nine-hole score ever in the event. O'Meara finished the two-day round with a 76, and Woods, ever the obedient student, matched him.
Fuzzy Feeling: Fuzzy Zoeller had a rough 1997 after telling the joke heard round the golf world at the Masters and then leading the Tour in apologies, but he has rebounded nicely in '98. Zoeller, who missed the cut in five of his last six starts in '97, tied for eighth at the Bob Hope and has signed endorsement contracts with apparel maker Sport-Haley and, last week, clubmaker Daiwa. Now the Golf Channel has begun editing footage from a recent interview with Fuzzy that hits topics from Augusta to Zoeller. The 30-minute profile is scheduled to air April 7, two days before the Masters.
Tee Formation: What's the best thing about being selected for the Pro Bowl? For many NFL players, it's the week of free golf in Hawaii. "When you're named to the team, your first reaction is, 'I'm going to play golf,' " says Bruce Smith, the Buffalo Bills' defensive lineman who on Sunday played in his 10th Pro Bowl. "The first thing you pack are your golf clubs, and that's the first thing you pick up at baggage claim."
Hard Feelings: Anybody who watched the '96 Masters knows that Greg Norman is well aware of what it's like to get beaten up on a golf course. Now the Shark wants to put that knowledge to use. Norman hopes to build the hardest course in the world. "I'd love to do it," he says. "Golfers love to be punished."
Golfing for the Gold: The next time somebody says golf's not a sport, just tell him that Michele Taggart, a former winner of the world snowboarding championships and a contender to win the gold medal in Nagano, cross-trains by playing golf.
Masters Grrreen: Thomas Bjorn of Denmark is seeing red after learning that he's the only player from the two 1997 Ryder Cup teams who didn't rate an invitation to this year's Masters. Said Bjorn, who won the European tour's Heineken Classic in Australia on Sunday, "That's my message to Augusta. I wanted to show I can play and belong at the Masters."
A Ballsy Move: Top-Flite surprised everyone at the PGA Show when it introducing two balls designed to be used specifically with drivers manufactured by two of the company's competitors, Callaway and Taylor Made.