<
>

Players to Watch

8/12/2002

Age: 22
World ranking: 5.
Worldwide victories: 8.
Majors: None.
2002 Majors: Masters-8, U.S. Open-4, PGA Championship-T8
PGA Championship appearances: 2. Best finish: 2.
Backspin: Even though he's only a pup, Garcia is overdue to
win his first major championship. Top-10 finishes in every major
this year, and in the mix Sunday in five out of the last six. Has
increasing control of his game, and appears to have cut down his
waggles to single digits.

Age: 32.
World ranking: 2.
Worldwide victories: 22.
Majors: None.
2002 Majors: Masters-3, U.S. Open-2, British Open-T66.
PGA Championship appearances: 9.
Best finish: 2.
Backspin: Coming off his worst major performance in three
years, but that's to be expected at the British Open. He's back on
comfortable soil, where he can attack pins. He's due to have
everything go his way, although watch out for the 16th -- a pivotal
hole at Hazeltine, a pivotal hole in three of his major chances.

Age: 26
World ranking: 1
Worldwide victories: 39
Majors: Masters ('97, '01, '02), U.S. Open ('00, '02), PGA Championship
('00), PGA ('99, '00)
2002 Majors: Masters-Won, U.S. Open-Won, British Open-T28.
PGA Championship appearances: 5
Best finish: Won
Backspin: Don't buy into the theory that Woods will suffer an
emotional letdown with the Grand Slam no longer in the picture. A
major is a major. He figures he already has the slam, now wants
only to catch Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors. Hazeltine sets up
nicely for him. Like most any other tournament, a good week putting
will put him there Sunday.

Age: 32.
World ranking: 3.
Worldwide victories: 37.
Majors: U.S. Open ('94, '97), British Open ('02)
2002 Majors: Masters-T5, U.S. Open-T24, British Open-Won.
PGA Championship appearances: 10.
Best finish: T3.
Backspin: The '95 PGA was one of his greatest setbacks, but he
seems to be back on track after a gutsy victory at Muirfield for
his first major in five years. Has played solidly all year, and the
confidence from winning a British Open could make him a much more
difficult challenger in the final round.

Age: 46.
World ranking: 23.
Worldwide victories: 16.
Majors: None.
2002 Majors: Masters-MC, U.S. Open-T5, British Open-T8.
PGA Championship appearances: 21.
Best finish: T3.
Backspin: Once he got his eyes and his wrist straightened out,
has been playing like the Scott Hoch everybody knows and loves -- or
at least knows. Good play, bad shirt at the U.S. Open. Good play,
good attitude at the British. One of the most underappreciated
players of his generation, still very capable of winning his first
major.

Age: 30.
World ranking: 9.
Worldwide victories: 14.
Majors: PGA Championship ('01).
2002 Majors: Masters-MC, U.S. Open-MC, British Open-T22.
PGA Championship appearances: 6.
Best finish: T-10.
Backspin: Finally headed in the right direction: Made the cut
at a major this year. Game has been derailed most of the year, and
comes into the final major of the year having missed the cut at the
International. PGA is the only major in which he has never
seriously contended, although the way his year has gone, perhaps
he'll look at this like the start of his season.

Age: 38.
World ranking: 8.
Worldwide victories: 16.
Majors: PGA Championship ('97).
2002 Majors: Masters-T14, U.S. Open-T24, T-14.
PGA Championship appearances: 15.
Best finish: Won.
Backspin: A poor start to the year hasn't gotten that much
better, although Love has been at his best in the majors. Still one
of the best drivers in the game, can easily get into Sunday
contention and then hope there's a rainbow over Minnesota.

Age: 39.
World ranking: 10.
Worldwide victories:: 29.
Majors: Masters ('00), PGA Championship ('98).
2002 Majors: Masters-7, U.S. Open-T30, British Open-MC.
PGA Championship appearances: 10.
Best finish: Won.
Backspin: Missed the cut in the British Open for the first
time in 13 previous appearances, so all is not perfect in the world
of the big Fijian. His best finish in the PGA since winning in
Sahalee four years ago was a tie for 49th. Still, a great
all-around player who can be dangerous if he sees a few putts
disappear early in the week.

Age: 30.
World ranking: 7.
Worldwide victories: 5.
Majors: None.
2002 Majors: Masters-T5, U.S. Open-T8, British Open-T5.
PGA Championship appearances: 3.
Best finish: T-58.
Backspin: He and Garcia are the only players with top 10s in
every major this year. Has become Europe's top contender in the
majors, although showed a mental frailty at Muirfield by hitting
driver off the 18th tee in regulation -- onto the driving range. A
tireless worker, needs to be leading on the back nine to have a
chance.

Age: 34.
World ranking: 16.
Worldwide victories: 13.
Majors: None.
2002 Majors: Masters-T20, U.S. Open-T24, British Open-T37.
PGA Championship appearances: 4.
Best finish: T-9.
Backspin: Showed flashes of being a major championship
contender at the British, but was slowed by a 77 in the wretched
weather of Saturday. The burly cigar smoker is still a fearless
player and knows how to handle the pressure (beating Tiger in the
Match Play). The key for him is getting off to a good start.

Age: 35.
World ranking: 6.
Worldwide victories: 7.
Majors: PGA Championship ('01).
2002 Majors: Masters-T36, U.S. Open-T45, British Open-83.
PGA Championship appearances: 5.
Best finish: Won.
Backspin: Went from first-to-worst in the British Open, and
hasn't contended in any of the majors this year. Hasn't won this
year either, which is not to say the season has been a total waste.
Has won over $2 million and has had a couple of chances. Pride
alone should give this talented, all-around player a decent chance
at Hazeltine.

Age: 38
World ranking: 83.
Worldwide victories: 4.
Majors: None.
2002 Majors: Masters-DNP, U.S. Open-3, British Open-T47.
PGA Championship appearances: 10.
Best finish: 3.
Backspin: Streak of consecutive majors played ended at 38 when
he failed to qualify for the Masters. A sneaky good player in the
majors, has had a couple of good chances in the PGA and has been
playing very well this summer.

Age: 45.
World ranking: 11.
Worldwide victories: 41.
Majors: PGA Championship ('94), PGA Championship ('92, '94).
2002 Majors: Masters-T20, U.S. Open-T8, British Open-T14.
PGA Championship appearances: 18.
Best finish: Won.
Backspin: A resurgent year, with a victory at Colonial and
solid play in all three of the majors. Was limited by the length at
Augusta and Bethpage, played well in the howling wind and rain of
Muirfield. If he gets his putter going, look out.

Age: 43.
World ranking: 35.
Worldwide victories: 7.
Majors: British Open ('96).
2002 Majors: Masters-MC, U.S. Open-T45, British Open-MC.
PGA Championship appearances: 9.
Best finish: T-10.
Backspin: Nothing to suggest he'll be a factor at Hazeltine,
but he's probably the most famous Minnesota native in the field,
which should count for something. Plus, there's no better stage to
tell Curtis Strange what he thought about being left off the Ryder
Cup team (without airing his complaints to a magazine columnist).

Age: 31.
World ranking: 38.
Worldwide victories: 5.
Majors: None.
2002 Majors: Masters-MC, U.S. Open-T37, British Open-T2.
PGA Championship appearances: 5.
Best finish: T-4.
Backspin: Lackluster play most of the year until he nearly
pulled one out at Muirfield, getting eliminated from the playoff
after four holes. Probably took participation in the majors for
granted, but smelling victory should awaken this talented Aussie.

Age: 32.
World ranking: 12.
Worldwide victories: 8.
Majors: None.
2002 Majors: Masters-MC, U.S. Open-MC, British Open-MC.
PGA Championship appearances: 7.
Best finish: T-6.
Backspin: Chalk up the MC at the Masters to recovering from a
virus that caused vertigo. The weekend off at the U.S. Open? His wife
was close to having their first child. The British Open? Being a
first-time father. Seriously, this guy can play no matter what his
swing looks like. PGA has a history of first-time major winners.

Age: 34.
World ranking: 26.
Worldwide victories: 2.
Majors: None.
2002 Majors: Masters-DNP, U.S. Open-T68, British Open-T69..
PGA Championship appearances: 3.
Best finish: MC.
Backspin: One of the great stories among first-time winners on
the PGA Tour this year. He played like a veteran in winning at
Riviera, and finished strong to win in Memphis. Would fit the
profile of a PGA winner who had a great year that no one really
noticed until he had the Wanamaker Trophy (see Bob Tway, Mark
Brooks).

Age: 33.
World ranking: 4.
Worldwide victories: 15.
Majors: U.S. Open ('01).
2002 Majors: Masters-2, U.S. Open-MC, British Open-T8.
PGA Championship appearances: 5.
Best finish: T-37.
Backspin: Overshadowed fellow South African up until Ernie Els
won the British Open. Still, must be considered one of the premier
players in golf. Has struggled a little bit after finishing second
in the Masters, but his game returned to form at Muirfield.

Age: 32.
World ranking: 22.
Worldwide victories: 11.
Majors: None.
2002 Majors: Masters-T14, U.S. Open-T16, British Open-T5.
PGA Championship appearances: 5.
Best finish: T-22.
Backspin: A better player than Shingo Katayama (T-4 in PGA last
year), only without the silly hat. Became the first Japanese player
with two PGA Tour victories at Nelson Classic, and has been solid
in the majors this year, playing in final group at Muirfield.

Age: 42.
World ranking: 20.
Worldwide victories: 4.
Majors: None.
2002 Majors: Masters-MC, U.S. Open-T45, British Open-DNP
PGA Championship appearances: 11.
Best finish: 2.
Backspin: The only active player with at least 10 appearances
in the PGA Championship who has never missed the cut. An underrated
player in many aspects, particularly as a ballstriker. Lost a
chance to win the '96 PGA when he butchered the 18th hole in
regulation at Valhalla. Could quietly sneak into contention.

Age: 45.
World ranking: 121.
Worldwide victories: 23.
Majors: Masters ('98), British Open ('98).
2002 Majors: Masters-MC, U.S. Open-MC, British Open-T22.
PGA Championship appearances: 19.
Best finish: T-4.
Backspin: Hard to call a two-time major winner a darkhorse.
Much easier when he's 45 and hasn't won in four years. Tied the
major championship record with a 63 at last year's PGA in Atlanta,
and has been swinging the club very well. Could sneak one in here.