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Notes: Woods staying in Orlando to get ready for British

7/9/2003

Mark O'Meara is headed for Ireland for his usual
week of practice before the British Open. Jim Furyk also plans a
few days of links golf on the Emerald Isle with his father.

Tiger Woods?

He's staying home.

For the first time in five years, Woods will prepare for the
British Open by working on his swing in Florida. His home course at
Isleworth is being rebuilt, but the range is open.

Honorary member

Olympia Fields asked Jim Furyk to come by the
club for a reception last week when he was in town for the Western
Open.

Little did he know what was in store -- honorary membership at
the course where he won the U.S. Open for his first major.

''I just wanted to go down and kind of have a cocktail, speak
with the members,'' Furyk said Tuesday. ''It was a wonderful
gesture. It's always nice to go back to a place where you've played
well. But then to receive an honorary membership and really see
everyone come out like that was a lot of fun.''

Will he ever put his membership to use? After all, the U.S. Open
is booked through 2009, and it might be even longer before Olympia
Fields gets another major.

''I do like Chicago, I just don't spend that much time there,''
Furyk said. ''I would probably like to go in a little bit early
before the event, or stay a little bit after, try to play some
golf.''

Near amateur
The only thing more surprising than 14 teenagers
at the U.S. Women's Open was someone with a master's degree.

Hilary Lunke graduated early from Stanford and decided to enter
the master's program, setting her mind on being a lifelong amateur.
That changed when the USGA allowed players to go through tour
school and keep their amateur status if they didn't make it.

''I thought, 'That's a free swing in the batter's box.' If make
it, I can turn pro. If not, I'll go back to the original plan of
being an amateur,'' Lunke said.

She was four shots away from being an amateur.

Lunke shot 6-over 294 to earn conditional status in October
2001, and since the LPGA Tour season didn't start until spring, she
finished off her master's degree in sociology.

Despite playing only 10 tournaments last year, she was $7,198
short of earning her card by finishing in the top 125 on the money
list. Her amateur status gone, the real pressure was returning to
Q-school last year.

Those who aren't exempt have nowhere to play, because the
Futures Tour has its own qualifying tournament -- and it was the
same week as her wedding.

''I had the pressure of knowing if I missed the cut at Q-school,
I was out of golf for a year,'' Lunke said.

She made the cut by six strokes, then closed with a 70 to earn
full status by two shots. Nine months later, she became the U.S.
Women's Open champion.

Solheim watch
Kelly Robbins has played on five Solheim Cup
teams and is unbeaten in singles with a 4-0-1 record. She was
resigned to being left off this year's team that defends the cup in
Sweden -- until last week.

''I hadn't made a point all year,'' Robbins said, who was 15th
in the Solheim Cup standings going into the U.S. Women's Open. ''I
didn't think last year was going to be my last one, but I needed to
worry more about getting my game in order. This will help.''

She tied for second and moved up to No. 8 in the standings,
putting her in great shape to at least be a captain's pick.

Plus, the $272,004 she earned at Pumpkin Ridge -- the largest
check of her career -- moved her up to 15th on the money list and
earned her a spot in the $2.1 million Evian Masters later this
month in France.

''This was a big bonus,'' Robbins said.

Divots
The USGA has proposed a new test to measure the limits
for how far a golf ball travels. The test has been upgraded from
the 1976 standard to include a swing speed of 109 mph and a
titanium club instead of a wooden club. The coefficient of
restitution is .82, which is .01 under the limit. ... Mhairi McKay
was 9 under par for her first 35 holes at Pumpkin Ridge. She played
the final 37 holes in 11 over par. ... Padraig Harrington didn't
sound like the No. 9 player in the world last week at the European
Open when he said, ''I never expect to play well. I'm usually
surprised when I do.''

Stat of the week
For the first time since a playoff loss in
1992, Juli Inkster finished in the top 10 at the U.S. Women's Open
without winning.

Final word
''He told me it looks like a garden shovel.''
-- Hilary Lunke, on her husband's first impression of her 11-wood.