Tim Scott wanted more than the plaque and the $10,000 winner's check at the third annual EA Sports Internet Tour Championship, which ended on Oct. 15. Scott, 41, wanted vindication.
He had spent months practicing. "My kids didn't care for it," says Scott, a chemical salesman from Sugar Land, Texas, "but I'd been trying to qualify for this for three years." The 6'2", 275-pound Scott—a standout in the shot put and discus at Texas A&M from 1977 to '80—and seven other virtual jocks earned expenses-paid trips to Las Vegas for the finals by playing Tiger Woods/ PGA Tour golf in a series of on-line preliminaries. Defending champion Chad Parkerson, who battles Lou Gehrig's disease, competed from his home in Eastman, Ga.
Heading into the last round of the championship at the Summerlin Resort—which simultaneously hosted the real-world Las Vegas Invitational-Scott held a four-stroke lead over Dan Mazur, of Thornhill, Ont., and was seven up on '97 champ Brian Holzberger, from Jackson, Wis. Holzberger blistered the virtual version of the course with a final-round 54 to finish at 61 under. He seized the lead from Scott on the back nine, but the man with the on-line moniker Big Bertha strung together a gaggle of birdies and reached the last hole with a two-stroke lead. "I just told myself not to hit it left," said Scott of his approach to a green protected by water on the port side. His electronic ball drew dangerously but stayed dry, and he got down in par.
While the other finalists waited for a limo back to the Strip, Scott called his wife back home. "Karen screamed," he said as he hung up the pay phone. Asked his next move, Scott said, "I don't know. We've already been to Disney World."