It may be crude to mention this, but some of the world's best golfers are lured to one of the earth's largest sand traps—the Saudi Arabian peninsula—by the exorbitant appearance fees, which exceed the prize money. "I'm not going to lie to you," 1995 Dubai champ Fred Couples (above) said after comparing his appearance loot with his winner's check ($112,500). "It's a pile of money." Maybe to you, Fred, but to an oil prince, it's emir pittance. At week's end Couples's participation was uncertain, but the sultans of swing were expected to include '97 U.S. Open champion Ernie Els, five-time European tour money leader Colin Montgomerie and '96 British Open titlist Tom Lehman.
?GOLF, WEDNESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, 5 AM
Lakers at Pacers
Indiana forward Chris Mullin (opposite page) is the Bird man from Alcatraz. Last summer, upon escaping the Bay Area and the shackles of a career spent until then with the Warriors, Mullin said that former Dream Teammate Larry Bird, the incoming Pacers coach, was his primary reason for moving to Indiana. At week's end Mullin was leading the league in free throw shooting (93.9%) and was fourth from behind the three-point arc (45.3%). Tonight's most meaningful one-on-one tussle: the one in the middle between Pacers All-Star center Puk Smits and Lakers All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal. The Dunkin' Dutchman will doubtless employ the strategic foul on Shaq, who was shooting way better from the field (an NBA-best 59.2%) than from the charity stripe (49.2%).
?TBS, 8 PM
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.