NEWS AND NOTES

March 10, 1997

KARRIE WEBB'S SECOND DAD

You've heard of Karrie Webb, the 22-year-old Australian who in
1996, her first year on the LPGA tour, won four tournaments and
became the first woman to earn $1 million in a season. Unknown,
however, at least in this country, is the story of her teacher,
Kelvin Haller, who is confined to a wheelchair and lives in
Webb's hometown of Ayr, a farming community of 8,500 in north
Queensland.

Haller, 42, has been Webb's coach since she took up the game at
12. Always an avid golfer, he worked in his family's news agency
in Ayr. Next door was a gift shop owned by Webb's grandparents
who, when Karrie was eight, gave her a toy golf club. Karrie
often ambled into his shop, swinging the club in a perfect arc
that caught Haller's attention. A few years later the
grandparents took Karrie to Brisbane to watch Greg Norman. "She
returned," says Haller, "bursting with enthusiasm for the game."

The Ayr Golf Club did not have a pro, so Karrie's parents asked
Haller, then a two handicapper, to give her some lessons. Soon
after, the club hired Haller as its greenkeeper. By this time
Webb had caught the attention of many well-known teaching pros,
including Charlie Earp, Greg Norman's first coach. "She could
have changed to someone else," says Haller, "but she had
confidence in what I was doing."

In 1990 Haller came into contact with an electrified fence at
Ayr Golf Club. The shock he received left him a paraplegic, and
he has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. A pending
lawsuit prevents him and the club from discussing the accident.
He has never gone overseas to watch his star pupil, but the
teacher-student relationship endures. "I know Karrie's swing so
well I can fix whatever is wrong by talking to her," says
Haller, who also coaches a few beginners in a field near his
house. By phone, he tells Webb's caddie what to look for, and if
she has a major problem--clearly, Webb didn't have many last
year--she returns home for repairs. "It's always a special
moment when I see her," Haller says.

They got together two weeks ago when Webb returned home for a
visit in Ayr before playing in the Alpine Australian Ladies
Masters, the LPGA's first-ever event Down Under. "Kelvin is like
my second father," says Webb, who finished second in the Alpine,
one stroke behind the winner, Gail Graham. "He has taught me
everything I know. I credit him for the way I play."

MCCUMBER'S NATURAL WONDER, HERON BAY

One of the most common complaints Tour pros make about modern
courses is that they are gimmicky and contrived. At the new TPC
at Heron Bay, in Coral Springs, Fla., which replaces Weston
Hills in Fort Lauderdale for next week's Honda Classic, they
will see the opposite.

The 7,329-yard, par-72 public course, designed by Mark McCumber,
has a benign, lay-of-the-land look with minimal mounding and
mostly clear approaches to flat greens. Water comes into play on
only three holes, an unprecedented condition for a Tour venue in
Florida. There are, however, 108 bunkers, five of them on the
hardest hole, the 450-yard par-4 18th, which also has a pond
that runs along the right side of the fairway and in front of
the green.

"What stands the test of time at a Winged Foot or a Pinehurst or
a Shinnecock Hills," says McCumber, "is that they can be set up
to be playable for the amateur golfer, but become championship
tests with grooming." For the Honda, Heron Bay will have
four-inch rough and firm greens that are expected to check out
at 11 on the stimpmeter. Still, the chief hazard will probably
be the wind, which generally blows between 15 and 20 mph at the
virtually treeless course.

Heron Bay is nothing like another former Honda site, the
water-laden TPC at Eagle Trace, where high winds made scores in
the 80s common. "Other than the water on 18, there are no
impending disasters," says McCumber. "If the wind blows 40 mph
all week, a smart player should play four rounds with no double
bogeys."

NEW PIN POSITION FOR THE 15TH GREEN AT AUGUSTA

You won't notice anything different at Augusta National this
year, unless you've got a sharp eye. Three greens--the 1st, 2nd
and 15th--were rebuilt. The work on the first two holes was
routine, done partially to stop the encroachment of Bermuda
grass fringe into the bent-grass putting surfaces, but at 15 the
treacherous slope on the front-left portion of the green was
reduced so that a ball heading downhill might stop before
rolling into Rae's Creek. The final decision will be made by
Masters officials the week of the tournament, but there's a good
chance that the rebuilt area will be used as a new pin position.

T.C. CHEN'S LAST CHANCE IN L.A. FALLS SHORT

Before Nick Faldo's victory in the Nissan Open, the last
foreigner to win the tournament was Taiwan's T.C. Chen, in 1987.
Chen, though, is better remembered in the U.S. for his double
chip on the 5th hole in the final round of the '85 U.S. Open at
Oakland Hills near Detroit. Chen had a four-stroke lead but made
a quadruple-bogey 8 at the 5th and, shaken, bogeyed the next
three holes. He finished with a 77 and tied for second, a stroke
behind winner Andy North.

Chen played full time on the PGA Tour between 1983 and '89, when
he lost his card. Since then, Chen's home base has been the
Japanese tour, where he has won six events. He has played the
Nissan four times since '87, trying to win his way back onto the
Tour. Last week marked the end of his quest. His 10-year
exemption to the tournament expired, and after finishing 57th,
he gave up hope of returning to the U.S. "I came here to try to
get another 10 years, but it didn't work out," Chen said. "Not
much luck, I guess."

R.W. EAKS, LAST OF THE NIKE ORIGINALS

The final step in the journey to the PGA Tour is the toughest,
and nobody knows it better than R.W. Eaks. A 45-year-old pro
from Scottsdale, Ariz., Eaks is the only man to have played a
full schedule on the Nike (ne Hogan) tour every year since it
began, in 1990.

Eaks's 173-tournament career on the tour has been bookended by
close calls. In 1990 he won the Quicksilver Open and finished
10th on the money list, but in those days only the top five
earned PGA Tour cards. Three years later that number was
increased to 10. Last May, Eaks was in the middle of a good
season until suffering severe head and neck injuries in a near
fatal car crash. Doctors told him he would be off the tour for
three months, but six weeks later he played in the Gulf Coast
Classic in Gautier, Miss. On the 3rd hole of the second round of
that event, Eaks, three over par with his ball in a fairway
bunker, made a fateful decision. "My car was packed," he says.
"I was quitting if I didn't get up and down." He did, and then
birdied the next five holes.

Although he lost the tournament in a sudden death playoff to
Stewart Cink, Eaks, the man the other Nike players call Gramps,
was back on track. He finished the year 13th on the money
list--$8,500 short of earning his PGA Tour card--and looking
forward to '97.

This year there have been only two Nike tournaments, and Eaks
played in one, the Lakeland (Fla.) Classic, where he finished
10th. But Eaks, who is married and has a 17-year-old daughter
and a 12-year-old son, is counting his blessings. "I'm lucky to
be out here," he says. "I'm having more fun and playing better
than I ever have. Besides, I'm a professional golfer. What else
am I going to do?"

THE SHAG BAG

Course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. is among the 121 donors
to the Democratic National Committee who have stayed overnight
in the Lincoln Bedroom at the White House, according to The New
York Times. Jones, who the newspaper said donated $62,450 to the
Clinton reelection campaign, refurbished the putting green on
the South Lawn of the Executive Mansion in 1995.... Arnold
Palmer played for the first time since surgery for prostate
cancer on Jan. 15. Last Saturday he shot 70 from the back tees
at the Bay Hill Club, in Orlando, and felt no discomfort. He
hopes to play at the tournament he hosts, the Bay Hill
Invitational, in two weeks.... Hajime Meshiai, 43, advanced to
the finals of the Andersen Consulting World Championship by
winning the event's Japan bracket with a one-up win over
Kazuhiko Hosokawa.... Scott Hoch told Tour officials that
because he feels he has been misquoted and given unfair
coverage, he will not speak to reporters in 1997. Last month the
Golf Writers Association of America announced that Hoch would
receive its Charlie Bartlett Award for unselfish contributions
to the betterment of society.... Tiger Woods's concentration was
shattered last week by concerns over his father's recovery from
a heart bypass operation. After an initial surgery on Feb. 19 at
UCLA Medical Center, complications forced doctors to operate
again four days later, and Earl Woods, 64, didn't leave the
hospital until last Saturday evening. Tiger's next Tour event
will probably be Bay Hill.

COLOR PHOTO: GILBERT ROSSI Haller has coached Webb for 10 years, seven from a wheelchair. [Kelvin Haller and Karrie Webb] COLOR PHOTO: BEN VAN HOOK Eaks: Resigned to life in the minors. [R.W. Eaks] COLOR PHOTO: BRIAN LANKER Emma Plunkett, who attended more than 40 Masters, died last month at 95. She gained fame after this photo of her in a hat covered with Masters badges appeared in the April 7, 1986, issue of SI. [Emma Plunkett]

ASK THE PROFESSORS

We asked the Golf Plus Professors, our panel of 20 of the game's
top teachers, to name pro golf's biggest overachievers and
underachievers. They felt that Ryder Cup captain Tom Kite, the
Tour's second alltime leading money winner, has done the most
with the least talent. Conversely, they said that Gary Hallberg,
the 1979 NCAA champion, who has three Tour wins in 17 years, and
sweet-swinging Tom Purtzer, a five-time winner whose first
victory came 20 years ago in the L.A. Open, have done the least
with the most.

OVERACHIEVERS

Tom Kite 9
Corey Pavin 2

UNDERACHIEVERS

Gary Hallberg 4
Tom Purtzer 4
Bobby Clampett 2
John Daly 2
Eddie Pearce 2

THE NUMBER

369
The length, in yards, of the longest drive on Tour this season,
hit by Grant Waite on the 663-yard 15th hole at Tucson National,
in the Tucson Classic.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)