Golf Chicago!
Jeff Rude
Jeff Rude
Rude Awakenings...from the Tour
by Jeff Rude

Inside Tour Talk

• Equipment technology has made golf more enjoyable and easier for Joe Blow. Let’s cherish those advances and forget about the touring pros, who represent such a tiny percentage of the golf population. Let them work out their own equipment issues. Meanwhile we’ll play along merrily while not rendering any courses obsolete.

• If equipment needs to be limited, it’s the ball. And then only as it applies to the pros.

• In Annika Sorenstam v. Karrie Webb, the LPGA has the best rivalry in golf and perhaps in sports. Men’s golf has desired such for decades.

• Players Championship winner Craig Perks returned to earth early the next morning when his two children, ages 3 and 5, woke him. “Daddy,” one said, “where’s that trophy (defending champion) Tiger Woods gave you (at victory ceremony)?”

• The effect of Perks’ unlikely Players victory runs deep. It reminds non-winners the dream is alive.
• Phil Mickelson says he won’t change his aggressive, attacking style. Fine. To win big, he doesn’t have to. Arnold Palmer proved that. But Mickelson’s chances of winning majors would improve if he changes his success rate on 3-footers.

• That said, Mickelson would be best served hiring Jack Nicklaus, who invented course management, as caddie in majors, the lefthander would fight him in the fairway over strategy or win by 10.

• Tough choice: Winning a major championship or dating a 22-year-old Swedish blonde bombshell model? Well, Tiger Woods does both. His new girlfriend is Elin Nordegren, who has been one of Jesper Parnevik’s twin nannies. The model studied psychology in Berlin and has said her dream job is “psychology or working with children.” Her hobbies include working out, kick boxing and diving. And now watching the world’s No. 1 player.

• Dennis Rodman a role model in Spain? Seve Ballesteros has a new tatoo on his left arm, depicting his celebrating 1984 British Open victory. That puts pro golf roughly 1,104 tatoos shy of the NBA.

• Ballesteros says he plans to compete on the Major Champions Tour if it goes forward with seven events next year. Too soon to tell whether it will receive by June 1 the needed 20 commitments from major winners 37 to 55. The Major Champions Tour might actually help draw interest to the Senior PGA Tour. If it doesn’t fly, the limping senior league should weave the majors concept into a few events.

• The LPGA should have more meetings. Overdue “fan friendly” marketing is a no-brainer. That was obvious when toothy Nancy Lopez fostered the concept in the 1970s. And like the Senior Tour, it needs more party element.

• Successful trends travel fast on Tour, where the search for magic never ends. And so Colin Montgomerie and Jeff Brehaut in Houston became the latest to switch to the belly putter. Lumpy Herron also used it there, following the lead of Paul Azinger, Singh, Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia. Expect Singh’s Houston victory to attract more converts.

• During a recent stay at the Pinehurst Resort, architect Tom Fazio noticed a picture of Donald Ross above his bed. “I almost asked to change rooms,” Fazio said. “He might be mad at me because I’ve changed some of his golf courses.”

• Before lengthening Augusta National, Fazio and crew charted every Masters shot last year. “Where the golf ball goes is amazing,” he said. The longest measured carry was 308 yards by Woods. Mickelson also launched one 300-plus in the air.

• Brandel Chamblee might not be the biggest celeb in his family. Wife Karen won a website’s poll of the best-looking Tour wife over four others on the ballot. Chamblee said he purchased America Online so he could vote—”My vote is costing me about $250 for the year”—and that Karen looked over his shoulder. “She said I would’ve voted for Angela Hjertstedt if she hadn’t been standing there,” Chamblee said, smiling.

• Playboy playmate Lisa Dergen, Miss July 1998, worked the Players as a Fox Sports TV reporter. You might say her “Can I talk to you for a minute?” was effective in getting interviews. An 18-handicapper and spokeswoman for the Playboy Golf Scramble, Dergen says no other playmate ever posed wearing golf spikes. She also says she and Wayne and Janet Gretzky felt “invisible” last year when playing with crowd favorite Tiger Woods. Invisible playmate? Don’t think so.

• The island 17th hole at the TPC at Sawgrass features the most treacherous 137 yards in golf. Annually it confounds the best players in the world, mentally and physically. “That hole’s in the back of your mind all day,” said Mark Calcavecchia. “It’s like having a 3 o’clock appointment for a root canal. You think about it all morning and feel like (crap).”

• Budding star Charles Howell III, charming but one-dimensional, has an interesting and long list of nevers. He has never consumed alcohol or tobacco. He has never gambled. He has never dated or kissed a woman other than his wife, whom he met as a college junior 2 1/2 years ago. He has never hit a persimmon wood or played blade irons in competition.

golf flag

Jeff Rude, a native of Waukegan and resident of Flossmoor, covers the PGA Tour as a senior writer for Golfweek.

An Evans Scholar alumnus from Glen Flora C.C., he has covered professional golf for 15 years and caddied on the Tour briefly while at the University of Missouri.

| Home | Tee Times | Local Courses | Ranges | Weather | Schools | Golf News |
| Buy&Sell | Destinations | Archives | Magazine | Contact Us | Search |

Copyright© 2002, All rights reserved.
Last Updated: 6/2/02