Raitt says bite cost him chance at Ryder Cup


LONDON -- A journeyman pro golfer whose finger was bitten by
a dog has filed a $1.5 million lawsuit, contending the injury seven
years ago ruined what would have been a world-class career.

Andrew Raitt told a High Court judge Monday the little finger of
his left hand was two-tenths of an inch shorter and lacked
sensation after the bite by an Alsatian at St. George's Hill Golf
Club in Weybridge.

Raitt, a 33-year-old assistant pro at the club, is suing the dog
owner. Raitt was bitten when he intervened in a fight between his
own dog Nikki and the Alsatian, named Zomba, in 1995.

Raitt told the judge his game steadily worsened since the bite,
costing him a chance to play in the Ryder Cup. At the time, he was
a club pro trying to get his European PGA card and playing local

Demonstrating with a golf club in the witness box, he said he
could no longer have a relaxed grip on the club, resulting in
''substantial loss of power, control and consistency.''

Zomba's owner Jeremy Lunn argues that the bite had nothing to do
with any change in Raitt's grip.

Raitt, an English schoolboy champion in 1986, turned pro full
time in 1994. He played three seasons full time on the PGA European
Tour (1999-01) and plans to play again next season on that circuit
after struggling in 2002.

He is ranked No. 320 on the European tour and contends the
injury has cost him $542,000 in past losses and $1.24 million in
future earnings.