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Golf briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 8, 2001

Mickelson ready to play after food poisoning

Phil Mickelson won't let a little food poisoning and a trip to the emergency room keep him from his weekend tee times.

After eating something he shouldn't have Monday -- the offending meal has not been identified -- the highest-ranked left-hander in the world (No. 3) will tee it up today in defense of his Buick Classic title.

Agent Tim McNulty said Mickelson, who finished tied for third with Olin Browne at last week's Pebble Beach Pro-Am, was feeling much better after receiving intravenous fluids. Mickelson missed Wednesday's pro-am but will start the tournament today in a threesome that includes Davis Love III, who won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday, and Steve Jones.

Mickelson won last year's Buick Invitational by four shots over Tiger Woods and Shigeki Maruyama. The victory ended Woods' PGA Tour winning streak at six tournaments.

EXPENSIVE AIRWAVES: The next PGA Tour broadcast agreements might be worth $1-billion over four years, a 54 percent increase, in part because of Woods' success, television executives and consultants said.

The tour's four-year agreements with NBC, CBS and ABC, worth a combined $650-million, expire after this year.

Tour officials seek another four-year pact. Network ratings for golf rose 9 percent in 2000.

NAACP TO DISCUSS BOYCOTT: NAACP leaders in South Carolina will discuss Saturday whether to boycott the April 9-15 Worldcom Classic on Hilton Head Island.

The NAACP began boycotts in January 2000 to force South Carolina to remove a Confederate flag from the State House. The flag was removed from the State House dome but was moved to a 30-foot pole on the State House grounds.

Steve Wilmot, tournament director for the Heritage Classic Foundation, said he doubted a boycott would affect the event. The foundation was close to selling all 125,000 tickets.

A NEW CLUB: Woods tested Titleist's new 975EFS driver this week and plans to use it today. The club is supposed to generate more club head speed. Woods also hopes it will help him hit the ball straighter.

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