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AS THE OLD joke goes, Scotland has only two seasons: winter and July 21. Anyone who tried to watch sports from the U.K. last week saw weather that was not only cool but also wet. Wimbledon faced near-record delays, and to complete play, officials at the European tour's Smurfit Kappa Open had to alter the course. Things have not been much better at Carnoustie, in Scotland. The weather has been so cold and wet that starting in early June the club required players to hit off mats because it could not be sure divots would regrow in time for the Open; on July�2 the course was shut down. The forecast for the days leading up to the event is better but not great. The area is expecting occasional showers and passing thunderstorms, but temperatures probably won't reach 70�. There is one bright spot: The third round of the Open is scheduled for July�21.
WHEN THE season began, Champions tour officials gushed about this year's crop of rookies, but things haven't panned out as hoped. Nick Price has played 10 times but blew off the U.S. Senior Open, as did Seve Ballesteros, who teed it up once then disappeared. Mark O'Meara (right) made it to the Open, but it was only his ninth start of the year. Nick Faldo (50 on July�18) will play the Senior British (July 26-29), but his TV schedule will keep him from doing much more. Bernhard Langer (Aug.�27) has won more than $1�million already this year on the PGA Tour, which should sap his desire to join the creaky crew, while John Cook (Oct.�2) has been out with an injured shoulder. That leaves Jeff Sluman (Sept.�11), who's made only six cuts in 18 starts on the regular Tour, as the only guy who's likely psyched about senior play. What gives? O'Meara might have said best: "Once you get to a place where financially you're somewhat secure, there are other things besides playing professional golf."
AMONG THE freshmen reporting for orientation at South Carolina last week was Patrick DiMarco, the nephew of the Tour's most outspoken Florida Gator, Chris. Not only will Patrick, a recent graduate of Lake Brantley High in Altamonte Springs, Fla., attend his uncle's SEC rival, but the 6' 1" 224-pounder will also play fullback for the Gamecocks. Besides Uncle Chris, both of Patrick's parents and two other uncles attended Florida, but alas, the Gators did not offer him a scholarship. South Carolina is led by former Florida coach Steve Spurrier. . . . The USGA announced that communications director Marty Parkes "will relinquish his duties" after 16 years on the job. He's the second senior-level executive to part ways with the organization in the last three weeks. Director of championship agronomy Tim Moraghan had his position eliminated following this year's U.S. Open after 21 years on the job.