Crabby Grass: Turf watchers say California's record rainfall has made the rough at San Francisco's Olympic Club thicker than ever. "It's going to be brutal by June," says Olympic pro Jim Lucius. "We gave it a lot of nourishment last fall, and it's looking very healthy." On June 17, the eve of the U.S. Open, workers will cut the intermediate rough to 1� inches and the primary rough to five inches; by Sunday the rough stuff may be as gnarly as anything the players have seen in years. "You won't want to hit driver on more than three or four holes," Lucius warns.
Anything You Can Do.... After SI wondered whether Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb could hold their own against PGA Tour pros, Sorenstam declared that she would relish the challenge. "I'd love to try it," said the '97 LPGA player of the year, who finished tied for fourth last week in Hawaii. "I've got my strengths. If I putted well and shot 62 like I did in a practice round the other day, I'd do O.K."
Wild Wild Weekend: When Wendy Ward calmly canned a par putt to top Dana Dorman in Hawaii, alliteration ran rampant. Brandie Burton and Meg Mallon finished fast, too, and felt fine flying to the Australian Masters, where Gail Graham is defending champ. David Duval won in Tucson, while the Senior winner was, of course, Larry Lelson.
Hanging with His Homie: According to Trevor Homer of the British Golf Foundation, "perhaps the best young player in the world" is Lee Westwood (left). Homer is either the only golf official who never heard of Tiger Woods or the first to claim that Tiger is literally out of this world.
Easy Come, E-Z Go: When SI's Gary Van Sickle asked 20 Tour players if they would consider using a cart, only four said no. Twelve said they might ride if carts were legal, particularly at Colorado's Castle Pines Golf Club, site of the Sprint International. "If we were playing more than 27 holes like we did last year, I'd ride there," said John Huston. Skip Kendall. David Ogrin and Tom Watson also cited Castle Pines as the Tour's toughest hike—making Sprint a curious choice as title sponsor.
Hooters Tour—the Prequel: Jay Leno, on a golf outing he once worked: "I was told, 'Mr. Sinatra would like you to appear.' So I went, and there were topless women driving around delivering drinks." Under PGA Tour rules, of course, they would have had to walk.
It's Those Titanium Putters: Why have scores fallen since the '70s? Most players credit technology, but Tour stats suggest another reason: better putting. Since 1976 the average winning score on Tour has decreased almost exactly one shot, neatly matching the one-stroke drop in putts per round.