TOM WATSON andBill Murray each broke through at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am at the TPCTampa Bay, but it was a case of something old and something new. Murray,playing with his regular straight man, Scott Simpson, tried the latter. Hecharged $50 a pop to professional autograph collectors seeking his signature onCaddyshack glossies and posters. At the awards ceremony he turned over hiswad--$900--to Jan Horn, the founder of the Clearwater charity Blooming Placefor Kids. It was the first time Murray and Simpson had won a pro-am togetherafter dozens of tries. The 57-year-old Watson, invigorated by his fine play atPebble Beach the week before (19th overall, second in the pro-am), looked likehis former self, carving shots in a Tampa wind that at times was arctic to gethis first win in Florida in 94 pro starts in the state. Jay Haas, who is 0 for105 in Florida, finished second. No word on whether Haas will sell autographsthe next time he plays there.... Watson will skip this year's British Open atCarnoustie to attend his daughter Meg's wedding, which means that by the timethe event returns to Carnoustie, Watson will be too old to play at the courseat which, in 1975, he won the first of his five Open titles.... In his 54thyear as a pro, Gary Player achieved a first during the Outback: He waspenalized two shots for being late to his second-round tee time. Play wasdelayed 90 minutes for frost, and Player misunderstood the timing of therestart. Said Player, who shot an 80 for the day and 240 for the tournament,"I have no one to blame but myself." Has Player learned nothing? Youcan always blame the media.... Perhaps Player could take a lesson from ArnoldPalmer, who has always known how to work the press and continues to innovate inthat area. When a writer who recently finished a golf book asked Palmer toprovide a promotional blurb, Palmer said yes, but the publisher would firsthave to make a $1,000 donation to the charity of Palmer's choice. Maybe allthose writers who've penned glowing stories about the King for the last 50years should've asked for a something up front, too.... Lee Trevino, 67, hasbeen stuck on the sideline as he recovers from surgery he had on Dec. 28 inDallas to repair a torn left rotator cuff. He hopes to be back for the ToshibaClassic, March 9--11.
• PAT PEREZ (nineunder, 275) and Anthony Kim (eight under, 276) finished in the top 10 at theNissan, which means they automatically qualify for the next week's event,usually a plum perk for a struggling player. But the top 64 players will beteeing it up in the Match Play this week, so Perez (left) and Kim get a freepass to the inaugural Mayakoba Classic near Canc√∫n, Mexico, an event theyalmost certainly would've gotten into anyway.... Players preparing for theMayakoba didn't know what to expect, but Bill Haas had one thing figured out:"I'll drink bottled water."
• WOODS BABY NAMEOF THE WEEK Hogan Bracket.
• For AccentureMatch Play coverage, go to SI.com/golf.
February 26, 2007
KEY STAT -1
Phil Mickelson's score on his final 25 holes at Riviera after going 15 under onthe first 47.
"Anyone up for another Battle at the Bridges?"--MY SHOT, PAGE G16
One Shot with Geoff Ogilvy
One tournament you'd most like to win (nonmajor)?
One course you'd want to play?
One CD you'd take to a desert island?
Led Zeppelin II
The Charm School
Lawrence of Arabia
One movie that should win the best-picture?
Little Miss Sunshine
One way in which you're a big nerd?
White socks, black shoes
One dumbest question you've ever been asked by themedia (current batch excluded)?
After ending with a triple bogey and a double bogey atSawgrass one year, someone actually asked me, "Are you disappointed in yourfinish?"
One thing you'd save from a fire?
My daughter [Phoebe, born Oct. 10]
In 2006 you won the Accenture Match Play and the U.S.Open. What's the one most important thing you learned about yourself?
One thing you've been dying to get off your chest?