The Golf Wars have turned into a John Le Carr� novel, featuring larceny, dangerous packages and clubterfuge. At the Senior tour's Oct. 2-4 Vantage Championship in Clemmons, N.C., Barry Lyda, a tour representative for Callaway—archenemy of rising Orlimar—swiped a prototype three-wood from an Orlimar rep's bag. Lyda FedExed the club to Callaway HQ in Carlsbad, Calif., for study, presumably in a locked room full of men in white coats. Sadly for Lyda, witnesses to the theft had alerted Orlimar rep Lon Fugate, who called the cops.
After Lyda copped to the deed, he got what Callaway spokesman Larry Dorman calls "a severe dressing down." The box was returned, unopened, to Orlimar. But Orlimar president Jesse Ortiz, outraged that Lyda wasn't fired, wrote PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem to demand that Lyda's tour privileges be revoked. "If anybody in my company had done that, he'd be gone," said Ortiz.
Callaway shot back. Dorman showed SI a letter from Larry Jarman, a former GolfGear International rep, hinting that an Orlimar operative—none other than Lon Fugate—may have removed a three-wood from a Senior player's bag and replaced it with an Orlimar. "Apparently Orlimar thinks it's all right to steal clubs out of players' bags," says Dorman, "just not tour reps' bags."
Ortiz scoffs at the charge. "Sounds to me like this GolfGear guy is looking for a job at Callaway," he says.
According to Orlimar's Fugate, Callaway pays bounties for club prototypes from other companies. Dorman of Callaway says that's bull but admits double-dealing in the land of double bogeys goes on all the time. "I'm telling you," he says, "it's a jungle out on the range."
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