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Strange has fond memories of Snead

5/28/2002

The Memorial Tournament was one time Curtis Strange didn't mind
missing the cut. It allowed him to go with wife Sarah to Sam
Snead's funeral.

Strange was very emotional when talking about Snead's death
Thursday night, and for good reason. His father served a brief
stint under Snead at The Greenbrier some 40 years ago, and Strange
grew up worshipping that sweet swing.

Jack Nicklaus still has 11 more major
championships than Tiger Woods, but the Golden Bear says he never
had Woods' practice habits.

"He probably has as good a work ethic as anybody I know as it
relates to the game,'' Nicklaus said last week. "I had a good work
ethic, but not as good as his. I never really tried to eliminate
any of my shortcomings ... with my short game.''

Then again, Nicklaus never felt like he had to work on his short
game. At his best, he says, he usually made every putt inside of 10
feet.

"So why in the world worry about having to chip it real
close?'' Nicklaus said. "That was sort of a stupid approach, but
that was my approach. It kept my from not having to get too precise
with everything. It allowed me a little freedom.''

Besides, his results weren't all that bad.

"I first met him when I was 6 years old,'' Strange said. "Sam
was my family's hero forever. My brother (identical twin Allen) and
I tried to model our swings after Sam for 18 years until we got to
college. I remember when we were about 13, we'd be hitting balls
and watching each other. We'd say, 'Does it look like Sam?'

"Even now, I tell my boys, 'If Sam doesn't do it, it's not good
for you.' ''

Along with his record 81 victories on the PGA Tour, Snead was
remembered as the first great athlete to play golf, so limber he
could kick the top of a door frame even when he was in his 80s.

Strange believes that's one reason Snead was go good for so long
_ a winner in six decades, a major championship contender at age
62, the first man to shoot his age (67) on the PGA Tour. He also
won 17 times after turning 40.

"That flexibility helped him when he became older,'' Strange
said. "He was enormously long, and he was probably one of the best
pitchers of the golf ball. He was the best from 50 yards and in
that I've ever seen.''

Strange still has some tangible memories of Slammin' Sam.

A year ago, he asked all the past Ryder Cup captains to write a
letter to Strange's team before the matches were postponed. Strange
put them together in a leather-bound book, with the letter on one
side of the page and that captain's team photo on the other.

Along with a letter, Snead sent Strange all the crests from the
sports coats he wore at the Ryder Cup -- seven as a player, three as
a captain.

Strange is considering donating the crests to the Virginia
Sports Hall of Fame.

All for Monty

Golf Digest, which has spoken out against
discrimination, slow play and the lack of caddies, is on a new
crusade.

Be Nice to Monty.

Along with an essay in the June edition denouncing those who
heckle Colin Montgomerie, the magazine says it will distribute
25,000 "Be Nice to Monty'' buttons to spectator at the U.S. Open
in New York.

Montgomerie has been a favorite target for jeers in the United
States, and earlier this year threatened to come stopping to
America.

Charity drive
The PGA Tour is giving $500,000 to the "New
York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund,'' with
check presentations to be made at the tour's three New York-area
events.

The tour established a fund to support the relief efforts for
victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Donations came from the
tour, players, tournaments and sponsors.

Furyk willing to skip British Open

Jim Furyk has not missed a major since he tied
for 13th in the 1995 PGA Championship, but he's prepared to sit out
this year's British Open at Muirfield.

His wife, Tabitha, is due with their first child on July 3.

"I definitely would like to see two wins at Muirfield,'' he
said after winning the Memorial at Muirfield Village. "But if the
baby is late, then I'm not going over.''

Furyk plans to play the U.S. Open on June 13-16, but everything
after that depends on the delivery.

"If everything is fine and on time, I'll be at the British.
"I'm not going to have the best preparation, but that's not really
all that important.''

Rose's bloom is short-lived
The bloom faded quickly for 21-year-old Justin
Rose.

After he finished one stroke out of the playoff in Germany won
by Tiger Woods two weeks ago, Rose shot up to No. 62 in the world
and at the time was the highest-ranked player from England.

"I thought, 'Well, on paper, there is no better player than me
in England right now,''' Rose said last week. "Millions of people
play golf. I guess it's quite an achievement.''

It didn't last long. Nick Faldo proceeded to finish in a tie for
fourth at the Volvo PGA and improved to No. 62, seven spots ahead
of Rose.

Divots

  • President Bush declared a golf cart valued at $7,101
    as a gift from close friend Ben Crenshaw in a financial disclosure
    statement filed with the Office of Government Ethics. Laura Bush
    listed a $375 Judith Leiber compact, also a gift from Crenshaw.

  • No one has a worse identity crisis on the PGA Tour right now than
    Dennis Paulson. Fans at the Memorial kept calling him Carl Paulson
    (they're not even related), and others referred to him as Frank
    Lickliter.

  • For the first time since Matt Kuchar at the Honda
    Classic, the winner at a PGA Tour event did not come from the final
    group.

  • Meredith Duncan has been awarded the Dinah Shore Trophy
    from the LPGA Foundation. Duncan was selected based on her
    academics, leadership, community service and for winning three
    times at LSU.

    Stat of the week
    Despite snow flurries in the area early in
    the week, the LPGA Tour made it through a tournament without
    weather delays for the first time in a month, dating to the Longs
    Drugs Challenge in northern California.

    Final word
    "I'm the only one left.''
    -- Byron Nelson, who was born in the same year (1912) as the late Ben Hogan and Sam Snead.