DAVIES GETS HER KICKS
When the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) SeaDawgs, a minor league soccer
team, invited Laura Davies to play in their season opener last
Friday, the reigning LPGA Player of the Year jumped at the
chance. How fun, she thought, to make a cameo appearance in the
fledgling U.S. women's pro soccer league.
Two days before the game, however, Davies found out that the
SeaDawgs are a men's team. Nonetheless, she decided to take the
field. "Why not?" said Davies, who was in Myrtle Beach for the
Komen International, where she shot a five-under 283 to finish
13th, seven shots behind winner Karrie Webb.
Davies is widely known on the tour as a soccer fanatic. She grew
up in England playing the game with her older brothers and three
years ago hired a bulldozer crew to carve out a 60-by-30-yard
pitch on her estate in West Byfleet, England. There, Davies
often dons the red-and-whites of her beloved Liverpool team and
hosts her version of a garden party: six-a-side games in which
she can usually be found barreling hell-bent toward the opposing
team's goal. Davies describes her playing style as resembling
that of renowned English footballer Paul Gascoigne. "But with a
millionth of his skills," she says.
Davies played the first six minutes of the SeaDawgs' game
against the North Jersey Imperials, which attracted 2,227 fans,
including two dozen LPGA players and caddies who came to watch
despite temperatures in the 40s. "I was incredibly nervous," she
said afterward. "Basically I realized I was out of my depth. I
had no idea how good the players really were."
Her teammates, though, looked for her often. In the grand
tradition of wacky minor league promotions, SeaDawgs officials
offered $500 to any player who assisted on a Davies goal. Given
that the players make between $200 and $400 a week, it was not
surprising that Davies's teammates treated her as if she really
were Gascoigne. Playing forward, she touched the ball four
times--a high number for such a brief stint. On her third touch
she ran onto a perfect pass just outside the penalty box. "I
should have shot it right there," Davies says. Instead she tried
to set up a give-and-go. In the process, she unceremoniously
fell on her bum. ("The biggest cheer I got the entire game," she
says.) Myrtle Beach lost 4-1.
Although Davies says hers was a one-time appearance, she can
always make a comeback. Upon agreeing to play for the SeaDawgs,
she signed a contract that will keep her with the franchise
through 2000. Her salary: one dollar per year.
A HEARTWARMING RETURN TO THE EUROPEAN TOUR
Always appreciative of a good drama, the city of Cannes was
stirred by the comeback of David Carter of England, who, just
seven weeks after a lifesaving operation on his brain, shot a 62
on Sunday to finish second to Stuart Cage in the Cannes Open. In
mid-February the 24-year-old Carter bumped his head on a water
slide in South Africa, sustaining a slight concussion. He seemed
to have recovered. But two weeks later, on the eve of the Dubai
Desert Classic, two of his golfing friends, England's Iain Pyman
and Roger Wessels of South Africa, found him unconscious in his
hotel room. When doctors discovered fluid on Carter's brain,
they had to drill a hole into the top of his head to relieve
pressure and drain the fluid. "If nobody had found me in the
hotel, I would have been a goner," says Carter.
MONTY PLANS TO JOIN EXODUS TO U.S.
Colin Montgomerie insists that he will wait until November to
make a final decision on his plans for 1998. According to
several sources, however, the 33-year-old Scot has assured
officials at Callaway, the clubmaker he represents, that he
intends to play the PGA Tour full time next year.
By his words and actions Montgomerie has fueled the speculation
that he plans to leave the European tour. In the past the
four-time Order of Merit winner has said that he didn't want to
uproot his wife and two children from their home in England. But
this year, for the first time, he brought his family to live
with him in Orlando during his seven-week stay in the U.S. Also,
Montgomerie, whose earnings of $251,529 on the Tour this year
ensure that he will be fully exempt for '98, told The Daily
Telegraph last week, "I know I would improve if I played
regularly on the U.S. Tour. I'm a better player since I came
here at the beginning of March. I've learned an awful lot. For
one thing, the American short games are a lot tighter than ours."
Montgomerie, who has 12 European tour victories but none in the
U.S., burns to win a major championship. In 1994 and '95, he
lost playoffs for the U.S. Open and the PGA, respectively. And
at this month's Masters he performed well for two rounds but
finished 74-81 to drop from second to 30th. "Monty is after that
final bit of polish that will win him majors," says Nick Price.
"He sees that the conditions in America can give him that."
Says Montgomerie, who has not missed a cut in six Tour events
this year, "I'm possibly the most consistent player in the
world. But while consistency buys me nice homes and cars, it
doesn't always win titles."
For the European tour, losing its top money winner, particularly
so soon after defections to the U.S. by Nick Faldo and Jesper
Parnevik, would be a severe blow. Ian Woosnam is also making
loud noises about playing in the U.S. next year, and young stars
like Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and Lee Westwood have
announced they will try to earn Tour cards at Q school in the
fall. With Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer struggling and
Jose Maria Olazabal recovering from a serious foot disorder,
Montgomerie has been the only truly elite player in the world
based in Europe. This paints a bleak picture for a tour that in
the late '80s claimed parity--even superiority--to the PGA Tour.
And that picture will only get worse if the U.S. beats Europe in
September's Ryder Cup.
THE SHAG BAG
Athletic marketing's present met its future at the Merit Club in
suburban Chicago on Sunday when well-heeled Nike clients Tiger
Woods and Michael Jordan played their first round together.
Neither Jordan nor Woods, who attended the Chicago Bulls- New
York Knicks game the night before, disclosed their scores....By
coming in 20th in the Komen, Annika Sorenstam finished out of
the top 10 for only the second time in eight starts this year.
But Annika's younger sister, Charlotta, tied for 10th with a
nine-under 279....Nick Faldo followed up his poor performance in
the Masters with a 74-75 at Hilton Head, missing a second
straight cut for the first time since the Memorial and the U.S.
Open in late May and early June of 1994....Similarly
discouraging was the performance of Woody Austin, who became so
frustrated with his effort on the greens at Hilton Head last
Friday that he banged his putter against his head five times,
bending the shaft. Austin was forced to finish the round putting
with a wedge and ended up with a six-over 148. The 1995 rookie
of the year has missed the cut in his last nine starts....Jeff
Brehaut won the Nike Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic in Gautier,
Miss., by six strokes over Tom Scherrer. During the pro-am
before the tournament, Brehaut nearly withdrew after falling out
of a moving golf cart and twisting an ankle. "I could barely
walk," said Brehaut. "When I did it, I was more embarrassed than
hurt."....Ladbrokes, a British bookmaker, accepted a $320 wager
from an unidentified gambler and set the odds at 50 to 1 that
Woods would be elected president of the U.S. before his 50th
birthday in 2026. "He's broken all kinds of records for golf,"
says Ladbrokes spokesman Simon Clare. "Maybe he could break
records for being president--the first black, the youngest."
Tigermania has gripped the Internet, where at least 11 World
Wide Web sites are dedicated to Masters champion Tiger Woods.
Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd, by contrast, have one apiece.
Our favorite Woods site, called the Unofficial Tiger Woods Web
Page (www.geocities.com/colosseum/2396/tiger.html) has
cyberspace standards like photos and stats, but also features
the Tiger Woods School Report Cheat Sheet. On it are several
fascinating, little-known facts about Woods, such as his
seventh-grade GPA (3.86) and his waist size (28), that students
can use in papers. Here are some other prominent pages.
Ray Floyd www.rayfloyd.com The only site in this group that's
truly interactive. Guests can get answers to questions about
their golf swings.
Tiger Woods pages.prodigy.com/boshk/woods.htm In a post-Masters
poll, 51% said Jack Nicklaus was the best player ever, while 29%
voted for Tiger.
Jack Nicklaus www.nicklaus.com Site has high production values
but not much interactivity--sort of like the man himself.
Arnold Palmer palmer.sportsline.com/ Palmer may be golf's king,
but he's a serf in cyberspace. One of only two Palmer Web sites,
it's pretty mundane.
John Daly www.gripitandripit.com Site administrators might want
to consider a redesign--one of the guest areas is called The
Helen Alfredsson www.algonet.se/ gulthus/helen/photoald.htm
Disappointingly bland considering Alfredsson's colorful
Michelle McGann www.geocities.com/wellesley/2526/ Little more
than stats and photos, but Mariah Carey's Hero plays while you
The weeks Greg Norman spent at the top of the World Golf
Ranking before being unseated on Sunday by Tom Lehman, whose
fourth-place finish at the MCI Classic vaulted him ahead of the