Pearly Gates: Callaway's new ads feature Microsoft's Bill Gates musing on learning the game and falling for Big Bertha. "I love a big idea," says Gates with a smile that must chill spines on Capitol Hill, where he is seen as "a rapacious monopolist," in the words of The New York Times, which monopolized the story when Callaway gave it the scoop. Warren Buffett is said to be Callaway's next TV pitchman, with Celine Dion waiting in the wings.
Tip from Tiger Fans grumbled when Tiger Woods hit three-iron instead of driver at Doral's tight 10th hole. "That's why I'm here and you're over there," he said.
He Wuz Robbed; A burglar stole a reported �250,000 in jewels and valuables from the Surrey home of Colin Montgomerie. The gent from Troon has posted a �25,000 reward for info leading to an arrest.
Past Bassmaster: Phil Blackmar's no longer basking in the glory of being golf's bass king. His two-year reign ended when Mike Standly won the 1998 Doral-Ryder Open bass tournament by landing a four-pound-nine-ouncer.
Up in Smoke: Hall of Famer Billy Casper (left) was introduced at Doral as "the defending Havana Open champion." Close, but no cigar. "It was the 1958 Havana Invitational, the last one. Castro was up in the hills," Casper recalls, "and I played the pro-am with a prominent, and very nervous, Cuban attorney But things worked out for us both: I won the tournament, and he escaped to Switzerland."
Playing Monopoly: After federal judge Alicemarie Stotler lauded Spalding's "innovative marketing" and ruled for the defendant in Callaway Golf Co. v. Spalding Sports Worldwide, Inc., Spalding's System C balls—made to be played with Callaway clubs—reached golf shops at last. Among those waiting for them were Callaway personnel. "This was a sneak attack by Spalding," says Callaway spokesman Larry Dorman. "They did not make balls available to us. Now we have them and can conduct our own tests." If Callaway can show that the C balls fall short of Spalding's claims, they could again ask the judge for relief. That puts the Carlsbadmen in the odd position of hoping Big Bertha hits short, crooked drives with a new ball.
Lost and Found: There's good news from Missouri. HALE IRWIN FOUND—FATHER OF THE BRIDE & NURSE TO WIFE FOLLOWING SURGERY, reads a message from Hale's wife, Sally. She faxed SI after we wondered what had become of the Senior star, who has yet to win in '98 but has clearly been busy. He walked daughter Becky down the aisle in Hawaii on Jan. 10 and tended to Sally after her recent surgery.