SI Vault
 
Life Lessons
Edited by Kevin Cook
March 16, 1998
A health scare for Butch Harmon puts golf in perspective
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
March 16, 1998

Life Lessons

A health scare for Butch Harmon puts golf in perspective

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3

That's good enough for John Huston. Last week at Doral the Tour's leading money winner told SI he had signed on the IPGA's bottom line. "I sent in my registration money, "Huston said—a sum Collet describes with typical candor as "more than $50, closer to $100." Billy Mayfair and Jesper Parnevik were two other signees. "Sounds like a good deal," said Parnevik.

There remains a good deal of confusion about the IPGA. European agent Chubby Chandler, who reps Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke, put a positive twist on matters, saying, "If this thing happens, I won't deprive my players of a chance to make money."

Collet was pleased by what he heard from Doral. When reminded that Nick Faldo, one of his prime targets, remains puzzled about the IPGA, Collet had an answer ready. "They've got a free Sprint line in those locker rooms in the U.S.," he said. "Pick up the phone and call me, Nick.

Carts on Tour
Firm Grip on the Steering Wheel

AFTER FINISHING 67th at Doral, Ed Fiori announced his withdrawal from this week's Honda Classic. "Man, I hurt," said Fiori, who suffers from a decaying disk in his back and a chronic pinched nerve in his foot. Then the 44-year-old Texan, known as the Grip for the bizarre way he holds the club, made a more startling announcement: He wants to ride a cart like Casey Martin. "Hell, yes, I want a buggy," Fiori said. "It's a definite advantage. I can't play because I can't walk." He has spoken to other players about the matter, but gotten nowhere. "They're going to vote down any extra carts," he said. Tour officials are no help, either. "I asked, 'What can I do to get a cart?' They said, 'You have to sue us.' I haven't decided to do that, but my lawyer told me it's a case of win-win-win."

Fiori's finest hour came at Quad Cities in 1996, when he outdueled Tiger Woods and others on Sunday, ending a 14-year winless streak. Now his final days as a player may be at hand. "I'd hate to quit for medical reasons," he says. "I have a disability."

Soft Science
Terror at Two Feet

ADAM PROBABLY had 'em. Old Tom Morris certainly did, and aging Tom Watson caught a virulent strain that nearly killed his career. Now scientists are seeking a cure for the yips.

"The question is, Does the jerk come first?" asks psychologist Aynsley Smith of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., referring not to the stricken golfer but to the last-second twitch that sends putts off-line. "Or do negative thoughts come first and cause the jerk?" She is the first prominent clinician to tackle the problem since 1989, when a UCLA study funded in part by yipee Mac O'Grady and entitled The Yips—A Focal Dystonia of Golfers concluded that twitchy fingers are closely related to age (older players yip more), occupation (typists and violinists have similar troubles) and personality (obsessive thinkers tend to yip). Now Smith and her research team have surveyed hundreds of golfers in hopes of advancing science still further. They plan to stage putting tournaments for human guinea pigs who will wear electrodes on their hands.

Smith's colleague Sue Malo believes there is "an uncontrollable physical force" that causes victims to stab in terror at pressure putts. "We won't find a pill to cure the yips, but we hope to develop a bona fide solution," says Malo.

Continue Story
1 2 3