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Notebook
Jaime Diaz
February 12, 2001
Limbaugh Plays Pebble Beach The Tour's Mr. Right
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February 12, 2001

Notebook

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Numbers

If Tiger Woods fails to win this week's Buick Invitational, he will have gone seven Tour starts without a victory, matching the third-longest dry spell of his pro career. Here are Woods's other longest winless streaks.

FROM

TO

STARTS

'97 Western

'98 BellSouth

16

'98 BellSouth

'99 Buick Invit.

14

'99 Buick Invit

'99 Memorial

7

'97 Mercedes

'97 Masters

5

'97 Nelson

'97 Western

4

Limbaugh Plays Pebble Beach
The Tour's Mr. Right

While the U.S. remains divided in the wake of a disputed presidential election, there is solidarity on the PGA Tour, on which a bunch of mostly rich white guys craving tax relief are thrilled to have a conservative Administration for which Ben Crenshaw plays Arnie to Dubya's Ike. That explains why radio personality Rush Limbaugh felt right at home during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

The Monterey Peninsula may have been a den of leftist hedonism in the '60s, and Al Gore easily carried California in November. But most of the fans who followed Limbaugh last week as he strode the fairways with friend and pro partner Fuzzy Zoeller definitely weren't candidates for libosuction—the process Limbaugh threatens to administer to callers who he thinks exhibit liberal tendencies.

Proud to call themselves ditto-heads, many of the fans in Limbaugh's gallery wore red-white-and-blue outfits and carried books for their hero to sign. Knowing that he was among his people, Limbaugh played the magnanimous leader. "Watch out on the left," Limbaugh, an 18 handicapper, said with mock solemnity before hitting his opening drive in the second round. After a good shot (there weren't many for Limbaugh and Zoeller, who missed the Pro-Am cut) Limbaugh would pop a cigar the size of a redwood into his mouth and open his arms, pontifflike, to acknowledge the multitudes, who called out things like "God bless you, sir."

The Tour pros were only slightly less enraptured. "I didn't know Rush was playing," gushed Mark O'Meara. "If I see him, I'm going to introduce myself." Said Tom Pernice, who played the first three rounds with Limbaugh and had him autograph a book and pose for a photo, "Ninety-nine percent of us are true believers of Rush."

Believe it or not, there used to be a Dem or three on Tour. Commissioner Tim Finchem was a deputy adviser for President Jimmy Carter's economic office in the late '70s. Scott Simpson voted for George McGovern in '72, as did Tom Watson. But they've all changed their stripes. Finchem hints that he voted for George W. Bush. Simpson proudly admits he voted for Bush, while Watson says of his vote for McGovern, "I was an idiot."

Not surprisingly, Tiger Woods keeps his political leanings private, as does Zoeller, who deflected questions about his relationship with Limbaugh by saying, "I have yet to figure out politics." Others prefer to play dumb. David Berganio, a Hispanic who grew up in East Los Angeles in a family that sometimes lived on welfare, played a practice round with Limbaugh last week and said that politics were never discussed. "I don't really know his positions on things," Berganio said.

To Limbaugh, whose only previous pro-am appearances came at last year's Bob Hope Classic and the Greater Greensboro Classic, guys who play golf for pay are role models. "This is an escape from politics, but it's nice to be among people of like mind," he said. "The Tour is entrepreneurism on parade. This is everyone for himself. Nothing is guaranteed. That's what conservatives and libertarians identify with."

Not everyone at the AT&T did the Limbaugh rock. Bill Murray, whose former Saturday Night Live colleague Al Franken wrote the best-seller Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, had his own take. "I find Rush amusing and a good entertainer," Murray said. "Now, if you listen to his politics, you would think that he had maybe not necessarily sniffed glue as a teenager, but maybe sniffed glue as an adult. But I don't think he takes himself too seriously."

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