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AFTER A DISASTROUS TWO YEARS, NICK PRICE LEAVES MASTERS INTERNATIONAL--WOODS'S PUTTER ILLEGAL?--Q SCHOOL BLUES

Nov. 04, 1996
Nov. 04, 1996

Table of Contents
Nov. 4, 1996

Faces In The Crowd

AFTER A DISASTROUS TWO YEARS, NICK PRICE LEAVES MASTERS INTERNATIONAL--WOODS'S PUTTER ILLEGAL?--Q SCHOOL BLUES

PAYING THE PRICE

This is an article from the Nov. 4, 1996 issue

Nick Price says failing to qualify for the Tour Championship for
the first time since 1989 had nothing to do with his decision to
leave longtime friend John Bredenkamp and his management
company, Masters International. Neither did negative publicity
over Bredenkamp's alleged illegal sale of arms to Iran and Iraq
in the late 1980s (Golf Plus, Sept. 23).

Price, who was the No. 1-ranked player in the world when he
bolted International Management Group (IMG) to join Bredenkamp
in 1994, says the split has more to do with the amount of time
Masters International devoted to him. "In the long run this is
going to take a huge load off me," says Price, who has hired
David Abell, a former Asian tour player, as his personal
manager. "I've been spending too much time in my office. I want
to focus on golf again."

This year Price plunged from second to 12th on the Sony Ranking
and finished 50th on the Tour's money list. He has not won on
the Tour since the 1994 Canadian Open.

Price and Bredenkamp put a happy face on the breakup. "There
were some gray areas where it could have gotten nasty," Price
says, "but it ended up being amicable."

Bredenkamp, a fellow Zimbabwean who has known Price for 17
years, says that he had gladly served as "more or less an in-
between road" after Price left IMG, and that he would step aside
with no regrets. "He wants to be more in control of his life,"
says Bredenkamp, who also manages Robert Allenby, Michael
Campbell and David Leadbetter, and recently purchased MacGregor
Golf.

Industry insiders speculate that problems in the Price-
Bredenkamp relationship can be traced to the failed $25 million
equipment deal Price signed with Atrigon in 1995. Price was paid
$2.5 million a year and given a share of the company in exchange
for his expertise in developing a line of irons. Atrigon never
produced the irons, Price walked, and Bredenkamp was criticized
for making the deal in the first place. The investors in Atrigon
reportedly have asked Price to repay the nearly $3 million he
received from the company before leaving. Price denies that the
Atrigon fiasco is behind the split. "It was a gamble, and I took
it," he says. "That was my call, it wasn't John's, and I don't
regret making that decision."

NEAR-GREAT SCOTT

Two months after the epic U.S. Amateur final at Pumpkin Ridge
outside Portland, Tiger Woods is a two-time winner on Tour and a
millionaire 60 times over, while Steve Scott, the man Woods
vanquished, is struggling to maintain his position as the No. 1
player on the Florida team. In three tournaments this fall Scott
has finished third, 31st and 29th. He received almost 100
congratulatory letters after extending Woods to 38 holes in the
Amateur and is still trying to get his feet back on the ground.
"You come back and go to school, and coming from that intense an
experience--you're so hyped up--I've had a hard time focusing,"
he says. "My game hasn't been great."

Buddy Alexander, Scott's coach at Florida, can relate. In a
third-round match in the '94 Amateur, Alexander had Woods 3 down
after 13 holes and was looking at a three-foot putt on the 14th
green to go 4 up. The putt lipped out, Alexander headed south,
and Woods went on to win the match and ultimately the first of
his three straight titles.

Scott says he's still asked if he thinks he was snubbed by Woods
when their match ended. After sinking the winning putt, Woods
hugged his father, mother and swing coach before extending a
hand in Scott's direction. Television cameras caught Scott
awkwardly waiting for Woods to acknowledge his presence. "At the
time I didn't think about it," Scott says. "Sure he hugged
everybody, but his mind was probably going 50 million
directions. I didn't know what to say to him anyway. After that
grueling a stretch, it's hard to say anything. He was in the
spotlight, and he did what he thought was right."

GET A GRIP

Taylor Smith made at least one new fan two weeks ago in Orlando
when he tied Tiger Woods's score in the Walt Disney
World/Oldsmobile Classic but was disqualified for using a putter
with an illegal grip.

Short-game guru Dave Pelz (Golf Plus, Oct. 14), whose Compaq
World Putting Championship will be held Dec. 1-3 at Disney
World, was so impressed that he persuaded his six-man tournament
committee to give Smith one of the 10 sponsor's invitations to
play in the event. "This guy had been dealt such a tough deal,
and he handled it with so much class," says Pelz. "He was in
position to win on the Tour, so you know he can putt."

But before going back to Disney to putt for the $250,000 top
prize in Pelz's tournament, Smith had better get his
44-inch-long putter regripped. "Oh, yes, he must have the
problem corrected," says Pelz. "We're going by USGA rules."

RYDER CUP KID

Like so many other members of the golf establishment, U.S. Ryder
Cup captain Tom Kite has done an about-face on Tiger Woods. Two
months ago Woods was not on Kite's short list of candidates for
a captain's pick for the 1997 team. Now Woods tops it. "Let's
just say that if I was picking today, based on the last eight
weeks, Tiger would be chosen, no question about it," Kite says.

Not that Kite is likely to have to make the choice. Woods is
already 14th on the Ryder Cup points list. Kite is sure that
Woods will crack the top 10 and earn an automatic berth on the
team.

If Woods plays at Valderrama, he will be the second-youngest
Ryder Cupper to represent the U.S. When he played in '29, Horton
Smith was 21 years and four days old. Woods will be 21 years,
eight months and 27 days when the match kicks off on Sept. 26 in
Sotogrande, Spain.

THE SHORT GAME

Rumors that Woods was also playing with an illegal putter at the
Disney were so hot and heavy that when he arrived in Tulsa for
the Tour Championship, David Eger, the Tour's vice president of
competition, went so far as to personally measure the hosel on
Woods's putter to make sure it did not exceed five inches, the
USGA maximum.... Christie Kerr, the precocious 19-year-old from
Miami who skipped college to turn pro, and Charlotta Sorenstam,
the 23-year-old sister of two-time U.S. Women's Open champion
Annika Sorenstam, qualified for tour cards last week in the Q
school at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.... This will
give those who believe the PGA Tour is branching out into too
many side businesses something to chew on: The Tour's master
plan calls for a series of theme restaurants.... Johnny Miller
has become the first inductee into the PGA Tour branch of the
new World Golf Hall of Fame under construction near
Jacksonville. Miller, who turns 50 on April 29, is still torn
between his job as an NBC analyst and playing on the Senior
tour. "Right now I don't see myself playing that much," Miller
says, "but maybe once I get closer to 50, I'll start chomping at
the bit."

ROBERT BECK Scott, a sophomore at Florida, hasn't been the same since his near upset in the Amateur final. [Steve Scott playing golf]JACQUELINE DUVOISIN Will Miller (here in '85) rest on his laurels? [Johnny Miller playing golf]JULES ALEXANDER Rymer was too hungry. [Charlie Rymer holding plate of food]

BACK TO SCHOOL BLUES

The Tour season is over, and for those players fighting to make
the top 125 on the money list and earn the right to play again
next year, the final grades are in. The players below flunked
out in '96 but haven't given up. In hopes of returning to the
Tour in 1997, they've all signed on for Q school, which will be
held in three stages during the next two months.

PLAYER RANK COMMENT

Tom Byrum 126 Two strokes lower at Disney, and
he avoids fifth trip to Q school

Keith Fergus 129 Late bid (12th at Vegas, T6 at Texas)
short-circuited by MC at Disney

Bobby Wadkins 137 Earned more than brother Lanny for
third straight year, but who hasn't?

Keith Clearwater 139 Mr. Muscles still claims weight
training will give career a lift

Charlie Rymer 145 Spent more time on buffet line than
practice tee; MC in last five events

Bob Estes 149 In free fall after finishing 14th in
earnings in '94; MC in nine of last 11
starts

Bob Lohr 151 Never the same after losing playoff
at '95 Canadian; fell 92 spots in '96

Jim McGovern 154 Hackensack Mac won at Houston in '93,
but has been in and out since

Carl Paulson 155 Won medal at last Q school, but MC
in 10 of first 11 and got lost in
reshuffle

Michael Campbell 187 Tried to play U.S. and Euro tours and
made $0 here since March

Gary Hallberg 358 Former whiz kid hits bottom. In 20
starts: MC 16 times, WD twice