"I'm experiencing an overflow of emotion and anxiety," said Begay, who has topped the $1 million mark in earnings for 1999. "I'm overwhelmed."
For once the No. 2 man was the cardinal Cardinal. Martin finished third in the Nike New Mexico Classic—virtually assuring that he'll join his old teammates on the big Tour next year—and Woods, who took the week off, remained stuck at $4,266,585.
SOCCER WILD MAN
The Animal's Out of His Cage
One soccer writer called him "the most maddening, frustrating, jaw-dropping, hair-pulling, coronary-inducing center forward in the universe." That was after Brazilian soccer star Edmundo got in trouble with animal rights activists for allegedly feeding beer to a chimpanzee, but before he was jailed for manslaughter.
"I'm realistic about my talent," Edmundo said last spring. "I am probably the greatest player in the world." Yet Edmundo Alves de Souza Neto, known as O Animal to soccer fans, has yet to max out his talent. After his pro debut with Rio de Janeiro's Vasco Da Gama club in 1992 he was passed around like a hot potato by Brazil's top clubs because he was all-world in suspensions—for insulting referees, assaulting opponents and, once, insulting and assaulting a ref and an opponent in the same game. Edmundo was a head case, but there was genius in his feet.
After rejoining Vasco in 1997, he scored an astounding 29 goals in 25 games. That earned him a $2.7 million-a-year gig with Fiorentina of Italy's Serie A, the richest and probably best league in the world. He lasted a year and a half in Italy but was never happy there. So now Edmundo, 28, is back with Vasco. Last month he scored two goals and assisted on two more in a 4-2 road win over Corinthians in Sao Paulo and then fought with a heckler in the parking lot. "A coward hit me in the back," Edmundo said. "I had to defend myself."
"Frankly", said São Paulo's police chief, "I don't know how much faith we should place in what Edmundo says."
The day after the brawl Edmundo went ape. To celebrate the first birthday of his son, Junior, he hired an entire circus for the day. Among the clowns, elephants and acrobats running around his Rio mansion was a chimp called Pedrinho. The Animal allegedly fed beer to the animal, a stunt that could lead to a three-to-12-month jail term if he's charged with animal cruelty and convicted.
That's not his biggest worry. Last March, Edmundo got a 4½-year suspended sentence for manslaughter. On Dec. 2, 1995, speeding down a Rio boulevard, he hit another car, dragging it about 100 feet and killing both passengers as well as a woman who was with him. He escaped with cuts and bruises.
After losing an appeal in the manslaughter case last week, Edmundo was ordered to serve his time behind bars. But only at night—he was free to leave the prison each day. Even that punishment lasted only a single night, however. Last Thursday the Superior Tribunal of Justice in Brasilia set the Animal free pending another appeal.