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No escape from the heat

By BOB HARIG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 20, 2002

PALM HARBOR -- With temperatures climbing into the low 90s and a heat index of 105, Thursday was no fun for caddies at the Tampa Bay Classic.

The PGA Tour relaxed its rules and did not require caddies to wear bibs with their players' names. Still, several had trouble.

Tournament director Gerald Goodman said six caddies were treated for heat and/or dehydration and given intravenous fluids. Terry Travis, who caddies for Brandel Chamblee, could not complete the round.

Doctors Joe Fitzgerald, Robert McPhee and Andy Shuck managed a group of paramedics on site and will remain throughout the the tournament at Westin Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead Course.

The heat wasn't easy on the players, either. Clearwater's John Huston, who shot 69, has played in plenty of hot weather, but Thursday was particularly difficult, he said.

"At least we get to wear long pants," he said, joking about the PGA Tour's policy that does not allow players to wear shorts. "Days like this really make you question that whole deal.

"It was very uncomfortable. I couldn't stand still. When you're playing, there's no shade. No shade by the fairway, no shade by the green."

APPRECIATING THE VIEW: Doug LaCrosse wasn't happy with his 79, but he was glad for the experience. The longtime Tampa amateur, who turned pro last year and tried but failed to earn an exemption on the senior tour, received a sponsor's exemption this week.

Last year LaCrosse qualified on Monday but didn't get to play for the first time as a pro because the tournament was canceled after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Although he planned to try to qualify for the Senior PGA Tour event in Raleigh, N.C., this week, LaCrosse was glad to get the call to play.

"Playing with Paul (Claxton) and Gary Nicklaus, you get to see how good these guys really are, up close and personal," LaCrosse said. "There are some things I will pull away from there that are positive that I need to work on and improve on. Overall, it was a great experience."

WELCOME BACK: Making his first tour appearance in six months after getting mononucleosis, Orlando's Ty Tryon shot 2-over 73. He bogeyed his first two holes, then settled down.

"I felt pretty comfortable," said Tryon, 18, the youngest rookie in tour history. "All in all it was a good day. I'm excited just to be back out here. I felt like a regular pro going about this job, which is how it should be."

Tryon played with Casey Martin and Bryce Molder, players who have their own issues. Because of a degenerative condition in his right leg, Martin has trouble walking and is allowed to use a cart in competition. Molder was born with an undersized left hand and no left pectoral muscle. Martin shot 72, Molder 75.

"It was a great group to play in," Tryon said. "They are both great guys. We all had our own little story out there."

BROTHER ACT: Brad Bryant, a part-time tour player, was pleasantly surprised with 68.

"And I'll probably still be the high man in our condo," he said.

That's because his brother, Bart, was on his way to 66. Bart had one hole left after the first round was suspended because of lightning. Both are in the top 10. But another brother tandem did not fare as well: Brenden Pappas shot 71, and Deane Pappas had 79.

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