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By Compiled by Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 24, 2000


Q : A lot of appearance money seems to prevail on some tours. How does it work? What is the amount? Who gets it?
Leo Welsh, Clearwater

A: Appearance money--paying a player a fee to play in a tournament--is not allowed on the PGA Tour, but it occurs frequently around the world. Tournaments hope that getting a name player will bring a big return at the gate. The amount varies by player and could be influenced by other perks, such as travel expenses. For example, Tiger Woods received a reported $1-million to play in Germany this year. Because of his U.S. Open and Birtish Open victories, his price probably has gone up. For other players, the fee might be considerably less but still lucrative enough for them to make the trip. Players still can collect prize money, depending on their finish.

Q : What are the qualifications to get into the British Open? A lot of names in the field I did not recognize
Al Marzullo, Hudson

A: Among other things, the Open Championship gives exemptions to the top 50 players in the world rankings and to the leading money winners on the European PGA Tour, which explains why some of the names were unfamiliar. The tournament also has 36-hole open qualifying at four sites on the Sunday and Monday before the event. More than 40 players got into the field that way.

Q : You are playing in a foursome and all four players are on the green and about to putt. They are coming from different directions, and nobody is in the line of another player. Is it necessary that all the balls be marked before the first player can putt
Joe Mistretta, Palm Harbor

A: According to Mark Russell, a rules official for the PGA Tour, marking a ball typically is a matter of etiquette unless the ball is in the line of another player. "There is nothing in the rules that says you have to mark," Russell said. But according to Rule 22, a player can ask that a ball be marked if he believes it is in his line. The player whose ball it is may elect to putt out rather than mark. In the example given in the question, Russell said, it would be reasonable for a player to ask the others in the foursome to mark.

Q : I was looking at some of the scores from the American Junior Golf Association events. These kids are shooting pro scores. What are the yardages these kids are playing from? Are they regulation courses?
John Crone, St. Petersburg

A: According to Mark Stevens of the American Junior Golf Association, the yardages of courses vary. Typically, for girls the courses measure around 6,000 yards. For boys, they will go up to 6,900, with the average around 6,700. In other words, the courses are not short. "These kids are amazing," Stevens said. "A lot of our juniors play amateur events and do quite well. The lengths of these courses they play at the next level is nothing new to them."

Q : Can you tell me about Robert Landers, who played on the Senior PGA Tour for a couple of years. Where is he, and what is he doing?
Ernie Cochran, Clearwater

A: Landers became something of a folk hero when he came off his Texas farm to qualify for the Senior PGA Tour in 1995. Landers practiced by hitting thousands of balls in a cow pasture. He never was able to sustain enough success to keep his senior tour card. Years ago, Landers suffered a mild heart attack. Senior tour officials say Landers still resides in a small town outside of Fort Worth and occasionally tries to qualify for senior events on Mondays.

Who's Hot

What more can you say about Tiger Woods? As Nick Faldo put it, "He's so hot, his shorts are on fire." With his PGA Championship victory, Woods has 7 victories, 3 seconds, 1 fourth, 1 fifth, a tie for 11th, a tie for 18th and a tie for 23rd.

Who's Not

Mark Brooks won the last PGA Championship at Valhalla, also in a playoff, over Kenny Perry. And he hasn't been the same since. Brooks has not won a PGA Tour event since. He missed the cut at this year's PGA Championship.

Quotable

"He has better flexibility than anybody. He works out harder than anybody. He hits the ball farther than anybody. He putts better than anybody. And he wants to the the best player who ever lived. I think that pretty much explains it."

-- Tom Watson on why Tiger Woods is golf's best player

Tiger Woods: by the numbers:

  • With 22 victories, Woods leads all active players not on the Senior PGA Tour.

  • With five major championships, Woods trails just 12 players. He is tied with James Braid, J.H. Taylor, Byron Nelson, Peter Thomson and Seve Ballesteros. Next up: Nick Faldo and Lee Trevino, with six each.

  • With 15 victories in the past two seasons, he has passed the multiple-season marks of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Johnny Miller. Nicklaus totaled 14 wins in 1972 and 1973; Palmer won 14 times in 1962 and 1963, and 13 times in 1960 and 1961; Miller won 12 times in 1974 and 1975.

  • With a season scoring average of 67.86, he would better the mark of 68.33 set by Byron Nelson in 1945, the year he won 11 straight tournaments and 18 overall.

    If you have a golf question you would like answered, please call the St. Petersburg Times Ask Us Golf Line at (727) 892-2365. After your question, you must leave your name, phone number and town of residence. We will pick several of the best questions and answer them in an upcoming edition.

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