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Sutton: Info no big deal

By BOB HARIG

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 3, 2001


MIAMI -- The new ShotLink System that made a limited debut has caused controversy among some players and caddies because of the role they will be expected to play.

Hal Sutton doesn't understand all the fuss.

The new venture will allow fans to get all kinds of information about players and what they did during rounds. It will give exact distances of putts and shots and where balls landed in the fairway and just about every conceivable statistic anyone could imagine.

The hangup? Players fear distractions in trying to get information to volunteers who record. And caddies believe they should be compensated for giving the information.

"I cannot figure that out," said Sutton, whose 66 put him two shots behind Stewart Cink. "They are making more money than they've ever made. It will make us a better product, which will in turn sell for money, which we will then play for more money, and then they will make more money because they all work on commission.

"It does not take a rocket scientist to do the numbers. I think it is just shortsighted on their part. ... We ought to thank our lucky stars (rather) than sit around and gripe."

As for his tour colleagues, Sutton said: "All the guys need to work with it. Every system has a few flaws to begin with. When we get it all put together, we will like the end product. ... This is where the whole world is headed and we better be geared up for it."

JACK BACK AT AUGUSTA?: Despite a tee shot in the water at No. 18 for a bogey that led to a back-nine 39, Jack Nicklaus all but confirmed he'll play in next month's Masters.

"I am going to probably play," said Nicklaus, 61, who shot 73 and missed the cut by two strokes. "I can't imagine that I am not. I played here and I think I hit the ball reasonably well. I think I controlled my game decently. I'm just disappointed I didn't finish off today's last nine. I would have liked to have played four rounds."

The 36-hole cut came at 141, 3-under par, and 80 players made it.

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