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Golf has more tales than Tiger

August 20, 2002|by AL DITZEL

Tiger this. Tiger that.

Is it me or does it seem the entire PGA Tour revolves around Tiger Woods? Some say it should. After all, the game has never been more popular since Tiger joined the Tour. And, hosts of tournaments will tell you that a tournament will make more money and be more popular if Tiger Woods plays.

But the game is not Tiger Woods and Tiger Woods is not the game.

Even Sunday, when unknown Rich Beem was winning his first major, it seemed that Tiger was on every announcers' lips.

And forget about poor Fred Funk, the former University of Maryland golf coach, who had the unenviable task of playing in the same twosome as Tiger on Sunday. Everything Funk did, it was compared to Tiger. Even on the first couple of holes when Funk played a stroke better than Tiger, all we heard about was Tiger Woods.

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He is the best golf player today and, someday, he might be the best golfer ever.

Still, I'd like to read and hear about some of the other golfers, and not in comparison to Tiger Woods. I don't want to hear that Tiger outdrove someone by 50 yards when the player hit a 240-yard drive right down the middle of the fairway and has a better shot at the green. I don't want to hear about a player making a super save for par in relation to what Tiger did to save his par.

Sure, there are times for comparisons. For example, what did Tiger shoot in the PGA Championship this weekend compared to Rich Beem. The 31-year-old, who used to sell cell phones, was better.

Beem made a huge 36-foot birdie on the 16th, just when eyes began turning to Tiger's charge. Beem played the course better and made the putts he was supposed to make.

Beem was better.

Let's hear that. Let's not hear that Tiger coulda or shoulda, let's hear what Rich Beem did. Let's hear that it's two wins in three weeks for the guy, who said he was unsure he had what it takes to win a major on Saturday but rejoiced when he did win on Sunday.

And, let's hear and read about the other golfers, as well. What happened to Justin Leonard? Did he lose concentration, as well as the lead, because he was paired with the tournament's best player this weekend or did his swing simply fail him? Let's hear about Funk, whose "dunk" on Friday propelled him into the second-round lead and how he managed the course all tournament long. And let us read why the PGA has had 12 first-major winners in the last 15 years.

Also, just for the heck of it, let's hear a little more about the LPGA Tour. I'm not just talking about Annika Sorenstam, who has had a better year than Tiger Woods while recording her eighth win on the season on Sunday, or Karrie Webb, who has already qualified for the LPGA Hall of Fame. Let's read about as many of the players, and not just the winners, but those who have a story worth telling.

I want to know who's in danger of losing his card or who needed a birdie on the last hole on Friday or Saturday to make the cut and what stories they have worth telling.

They must have some interesting stories, and not in comparison to Tiger.

Al Ditzel is a staff writer for The Morning Herald. His column apears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131 ext. 7520 or by e-mail at alfredd@herald-mail.com.

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