AUGUSTA'S KID NEXT DOOR
It has been 10 years since one of Augusta's own, Larry Mize, won
the Masters, but the home folks may soon have someone else to
root for: Charles Howell.
Howell, 17, was seven when he began playing regularly with his
father at Augusta Country Club, which borders Augusta National
and is the course at which Mize learned to play. Howell won his
first national tournament, the Future Masters, when he was 10,
and he has been tearing through the junior ranks ever since.
Last year he won four national titles, was the American Junior
Golf Association player of the year and took Tiger Woods to the
17th hole in the third round of the U.S. Amateur before losing.
Howell, a senior at Westminster Preparatory School in Augusta,
will enter Oklahoma State this fall. But first he will play in
the PGA Tour's Greater Hartford Open in July on a sponsor's
exemption, and he is also considering whether to play in the
Monday qualifying for the BellSouth Classic in May.
That tournament, though, conflicts with the Georgia high school
championship, and Howell has yet to decide whether to stick with
his Wildcats or take on the big boys. "I hope he chooses the
high school tournament," says Oklahoma State coach Mike Holder.
"There'll be plenty of PGA Tour events in his career."
The most exciting of those would be the Masters at the National,
a course Howell has played three times. The first time he played
there, as a guest of family friend and club member Louis Battey,
Howell shot 79. He was 10. Subsequently he shot a pair of
even-par 72s, as a 14-year-old and again last month. "The 5th
hole is the toughest," Howell says, "but people don't know it
because that part of the Masters isn't shown on TV." Not that
he's an expert on CBS's coverage of the tournament. He has
attended every round of the Masters for the last 10 years.
Howell says he hasn't given much thought to becoming the next
Mize, whom he met for the first time last fall at the Buick
Challenge in Pine Mountain, Ga., but figures he knows how Mize
felt when he was grooming his game next door to the National.
"Being from Augusta would make winning the Masters as good as it
gets," he says.
NAKED CAME THE GOLFERS
According to the Tour media guide, Gary McCord's special
interest is spoofing people, but McCord swears his latest
project, a golf version of the best-selling novel Naked Came the
Manatee, is no joke.
McCord says he is recruiting players from the LPGA, PGA and
Senior tours, each of whom will write a chapter, picking up
where the previous writer left off. Manatee, written by a
baker's dozen of Florida-based writers, including Dave Barry,
Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard, is itself a takeoff on the 1969
book Naked Came the Stranger, a novel with chapters written by a
group of New York writers.
So far McCord has signed up Phil Blackmar, David Duval, Brad
Faxon, David Feherty, Peter Jacobsen and Peter Kostis to write
chapters. McCord will round out a tensome of writers with
players from the other tours. Feherty will write the first
chapter in May. McCord plans to have the book finished by March
1998 and says he won't know what it's about until he is given
the first nine chapters and begins writing the 10th.
According to McCord, the authors will be given two instructions:
Read Manatee and do the writing yourself. "Let's face facts:
These people, including me, are golfers, not writers--but I have
written two books," says McCord. "Everybody says they have a
computer and can type. I hope none of them is lying."
GOLF IS THE HOUSE RULE AT THIS INN IN IRELAND
In 1992 Michael Rosney and his wife, Geraldine, bought Killeen
House, a 19-room country inn outside Killarney, Ireland. Because
both love golf and because Killeen is within an hour's drive of
six world-class courses, including the Killeen Golf Course, site
of the 1992 and '93 Irish Opens, they gave their pub room a
distinctive look by starting to collect golf balls. Over the
last five years, a few has turned into a lot. The Rosneys have
7,500 balls, all with different logos, covering the walls of
their pub. "There are two things in life you don't have to be
good at to enjoy," says Michael, 40. "One is sex, the other is
golf. This was a natural for us."
Since putting their first ball, which has a Coca-Cola logo, on
display on July 4, 1992, the Rosneys have added balls from,
among others, five U.S. presidents, the Secret Service, Trump
Tower, every major American professional sports team and Bryant
Guests contribute virtually all the balls. In 1995 a couple
exchanged a suitcase of balls for two nights room and board. One
new ball is worth a free pint of beer at the pub. Furthermore,
the Rosneys reward any guest who makes a hole in one at a local
course--there have been seven, including one by LPGA Hall of
Famer Pat Bradley--by tearing up the bill, popping a bottle of
champagne and sounding the inn's fire alarm. "A real fire can
wait," Michael says. "Here, golf rules the terrain."
BOB CHARLES REIGNS AS THE MOST SUPER SENIOR
Who's the hottest player in the world? If tournament titles are
the yardstick, the answer is Bob Charles, who has been quietly
dominating golf's least-known moneymaking machine, the Super
Seniors, for the last year.
Each week on the Senior tour there's a tournament within a
tournament: Players older than 60 are eligible to compete in the
Super Seniors. The winner is the low man after the first 36
holes. Compared with the main events, the prize money is
modest--purses are $100,000, with $18,000 going to the
winner--but if you win every time out, which Charles has in four
starts this season, the cash adds up. Last year, after turning
60 on March 14, Charles won five Super Seniors events, including
the MasterCard GrandMasters Championship and its $85,000 first
prize. That gave him $266,100 in Super Seniors earnings to go
with his $760,179 in regular earnings.
"The guys out here who are 65, 66 and 67, we're struggling
against the young boys who are 60 and 61," says 65-year-old Jim
Feree, who's tied for third on the alltime list of Super Seniors
winners with 19 titles. (Don January leads with 33, and Joe
Jimenez has 31.) "When I turned 60, I was among the guys making
a killing. Now I'm getting killed."
Charles sat out last week's Southwestern Bell Dominion, in San
Antonio, and Bruce Crampton was the Super Seniors champion.
"It's fun to win anything when you're 61," Crampton said, "even
if it's an argument with your wife."
THE SHAG BAG
Davis Love III had a bad weekend at the Players Championship, to
say the least. On Saturday, Love whiffed a wedge shot from the
deep rough by the 18th green. Then on Sunday, while taking a
practice stroke on the green of the par-3 17th hole, Love
inadvertently tapped his ball with the tip of his putter.
Instead of replacing the ball to its original spot and assessing
himself a one-stroke penalty, as rule 18-2 requires, Love simply
putted out from the new location and then assessed himself the
penalty. But not moving the ball back to its original spot
carries a two-shot penalty, so Love was disqualified for having
signed an incorrect scorecard. Too bad. If he had followed the
rules, he would have tied for seventh and made $105,438....
Among the items the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
seized from O.J. Simpson's Brentwood mansion last week: six golf
bags and 51 clubs.... With the $24,750 he won on Sunday for
finishing third, five shots behind winner Joe Daley, in the Nike
tour's Louisiana Open, Mark Carnevale set a Nike tour record for
reaching $100,000 in earnings in a season the fastest. He did it
in four events, seven fewer than previous record holder Joe
Durant needed when he established the mark last year.... The
LPGA, like the PGA Tour, is cracking down on slow play, though
the LPGA is taking a tougher approach than levying fines. Donna
Andrews drew a two-stroke penalty in the second round of the
Dinah for taking too long on an approach shot.... The European
Ryder Cup committee turned down Seve Ballesteros's request to
have the number of captain's selections for his team increased
from two to four. "It's a pity that the selection procedure
can't be altered," Ballesteros said. "But now that the case is
closed, we can look forward to a great match--and I am positive
that Europe will win."
THE BOOK ON GOLF
What used to be a slow trickle of golf books has turned into a
torrent in recent years. Everybody, it seems, from Tour players
such as Davis Love III with his upcoming Every Shot I Take to
goofballs like Leslie Nielsen, who wrote Bad Golf, My Way, has
gotten in on the act. We asked the GOLF PLUS Professors, our
panel of the game's top teachers, to name their favorite book on
golf, excluding the ones that they had written. The results
revealed two things: Some of the classics have stood the test of
time, and our Profs' ideas about books are as varied as their
theories on the swing.
TITLE, AUTHOR VOTES
FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF GOLF, Ben Hogan 3
ON LEARNING GOLF, Percy Boomer 2
LITTLE RED BOOK, Harvey Penick 2
GOLF IN THE KINGDOM, Michael Murphy 2
THE GOLF MACHINE, Homer Kelly 1
THE ONE-MINUTE GOLFER, Ken Blanchard 1
WINNING GOLF, Larry Nelson 1
THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE, Koming Koming 1
THE FULL SWING, Jack Nicklaus 1
HOW TO FEEL A REAL GOLF SWING, Bob Toski 1
GOLF FOR LIFE, Nick Faldo 1
KOMING KOMING, Bob Rotella 1
Percentage of woods actually made of wood purchased by U.S.
golfers in 1996, according to a poll of amateurs conducted by
the Darrell Survey.