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Woods aims at rare triple

By BOB HARIG

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 7, 2000


You wonder, how much more is there for Tiger Woods to accomplish this year?

He has won three major championships, the first player since Ben Hogan in 1953 to do so. He's won eight PGA Tour events for the second year in a row. He leads Phil Mickelson on the money list by more than $4.3-million. But Woods does have something to play for at this week's Canadian Open. He can capture a rare "triple crown," one often overlooked when reviewing the greatest golf achievements.

Woods has the opportunity to join Lee Trevino as the only players to win the open titles of Britain, the United States and Canada in the same year.

That would be quite impressive, but Trevino's was more so. The Merry Mex did it in a period of five weeks.

In 1971, Trevino claimed the U.S. Open title in an 18-hole playoff over Jack Nicklaus at Merion Golf Club. Two weeks later, he won the Canadian Open at Quebec's Richeliu Valley Golf & Country Club, defeating Art Wall Jr. in a sudden-death playoff. A week later, it was on to the British Open at Royal Birkdale, where Trevino took the title by one shot over Lu Liang Huan.

The Royal Canadian Golf Association retroactively awarded Trevino a so-called Triple Crown prize, and a $25,000 bonus.

Although the circumstances are far different for Woods -- the Canadian coming some two months after he captured the British Open at St. Andrews -- the atmosphere in Canada is that of a major championship.

This is Woods' first appearance since he captured the NEC Invitational and within hours of his commitment last week, all 150,000 tickets were gone. It is the first sellout among the 22 Canadian Opens played at Ontario's Glen Abbey Golf Club.

"I can't describe it," tournament director Bill Paul said. "It's just overwhelming. He's like Pele and (Muhammad) Ali and (Michael) Jordan. People just want to be near him and see history."

VENTURI RETIRING: CBS analyst Ken Venturi apparently has decided to call it quits. His often-rumored retirement was reported last week by Golfweek. Venturi, 69, who lives at Marco Island, has not decided whether he will work a handful of events for CBS next year, as the network would like. Venturi, the 1964 U.S. Open champion, has worked as an analyst since 1968.

"I've wanted something to do the last couple of years after (wife) Beau died, but now it's time for me to go home," Venturi said.

SARASOTA LOSES SENIORS: The LiquidGolf.com Invitational, played at the TPC-Prestancia in Sarasota the past five years, no longer is on the Senior PGA Tour's schedule. LiquidGolf has decided to sponsor the event in Atlanta.

"For right now, it's done," said tournament director Bob Burris of Octagon Sports, a marketing company that also runs the Naples senior tour event. "I thought I had someone to take it, but I couldn't get them to pull the trigger so quickly. But we can get the date back."

Tampa's Verizon Classic (formerly GTE Classic) will be the third of three Florida event. It will be played Feb. 16-18 at the TPC of Tampa Bay.

TOUR RUMBLINGS: The Tampa Bay Classic has received recent commitments from two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen and Safety Harbor's John Huston. The tournament is Oct. 19-22 at the Westin Innisbrook Resort. ... Donald Trump's course in West Palm Beach, Trump International, reportedly is being considered for the 2003 World Match Play Championship. If it happens, the Honda Classic in Fort Lauderdale could lose its dates.

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

PGA Tour

WHAT: Canadian Open.

WHEN: Today-Sunday.

WHERE: Oakville, Ontario.

COURSE: Glen Abbey Golf Club (7,112 yards, par 72).

PURSE: $3.1-million.

WINNER'S SHARE: $558,000.

TV: 4-6 p.m. today-Friday and 5-7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, ESPN. NOTES: Hal Sutton beat Dennis Paulson by three strokes last year. Rory Sabbatini won his first PGA Tour event, taking the Air Canada Championship in Surrey, British Columbia, Sunday by one stroke over Grant Waite. Jim Ferrier (1950-51) is the last player to win back-to-back Canadian Open titles. With a victory, Tiger Woods will become the first since Lee Trevino in 1971 to win three national championships in the same year. He won the U.S. Open and the British Open earlier this year.

LPGA Tour

WHAT: Betsy King Classic.

WHEN: Friday-Sunday.

WHERE: Kutztown, Pa.

COURSE: Berkleigh Country Club (6,197 yards, par 72).

PURSE: $800,000.

WINNER'S SHARE: $120,000.

TV: 2-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Golf Channel. NOTES: Mi Hyun Kim won by one stroke over Jenny Lidback, Helen Dobson and Beth Daniel last year. Laurel Kean, who won a two-hole playoff for the final spot in the field, won the State Farm Rail Classic in Springfield, Ill., by six strokes Sunday. 1999 rookie of the year Kim does not have a victory during the 2000 season. There are only three weeks left to qualify for the Solheim Cup team.

Senior PGA Tour

WHAT: Comfort Classic.

WHEN: Friday-Sunday.

WHERE: Indianapolis.

COURSE: Brickyard Crossing (6,798 yards, par 72).

PURSE: $1.25-million.

WINNER'S SHARE: $187,500.

TV: 2-4 p.m. Friday, 3:30-5 p.m. Saturday, ESPN; 3-6 p.m. Sunday, Ch. 28. NOTES: Gil Morgan shot 15-under 201 to beat Ed Dougherty by two last year. Larry Nelson won his second straight tournament, taking the Foremost Insurance Championship in Ada, Mich., Sunday by three over Dave Stockton. Morgan has surpassed the $1-million mark all four of his full seasons on the tour. No player has won the event with a round above par. In the last six years, only 1998 winner Hugh Baiocchi started the final round in the lead and held on to win.

European PGA Tour

WHAT: European Masters.

WHEN: Today-Sunday.

WHERE: Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland.

COURSE: Crans-sur-Sierre, Alpine Course (6,846 yards, par 71).

PURSE: $1.6-million.

WINNER'S SHARE: $265,000.

TV: 9 a.m.-noon today-Sunday, Golf Channel.c NOTES: This is the first event that will count toward qualifying for the 2001 Ryder Cup. Lee Westwood eagled No. 15 and won by two over Thomas Bjorn last year. Bjorn won the BMW International Open in Munich, Germany, Sunday by three over Bernhard Langer, who has not won in more than three years.

Other tournaments

BUY.COM TOUR: Tri-Cities Open, today-Sunday, Meadow Springs Country Club, Richland, Wash.

EUROPEAN SENIORS TOUR: Ordina Legends in Golf, Friday-Sunday, Crayestein Golf Club, Holland.

JAPAN GTO: Suntory Open, today-Sunday, Sobu Country Club, Chiba.

JAPAN LADIES TOUR: JLPGA Championship Konica Cup, today-Sunday, Liberal Hills Golf Club, Fukushima.

USGA: U.S. Mid-Amateur, Saturday-Thursday, the Homestead, Hot Springs, Va.

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