Wednesday, July 23
Price receives Payne Stewart Award


ATLANTA -- Nick Price was honored with the Payne Stewart Award on Wednesday, presented to players who shared the ideals of the two-time U.S. Open champion who died in a plane crash three years ago.

Nick Price
Price

Price, considered one of the nicest men on the PGA Tour, has won a British Open and two PGA Championships.

''Nick Price has earned this honor because of the way he has represented himself and the game throughout his career,'' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. ''He doesn't just talk about integrity, sportsmanship and giving back to others less fortunate. He applies those values in his own life.''

Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were recipients of the inaugural award in 2000, while Ben Crenshaw was honored last year.

Price competed against Stewart throughout most of his career, and he noted during the ceremony at East Lake Golf Club that he was born one day before Stewart.

Stewart also won three majors, including the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, just four months before his private plane flew uncontrolled across the country before crashing in a South Dakota field.

''He loved the limelight,'' Price said. ''We miss him a lot. There's a big hole in our tour.''

Price is a major supporter of the Harare Shelter for Destitutes in his native Zimbabwe, a program for 150 children who have lost parents to AIDS, or whose parents are blind. He also has established ''Hearts and Hope'' in West Palm Beach, Fla., a program that helps children who have lost a parent.

History lesson

Phil Mickelson has a new sponsorship deal with Ford, and he's proud to represent an American icon.

''Henry Ford was the first inventor of the automobile,'' he said. ''Ford has become an American institution itself.''

Mickelson was told that Ford didn't invent the automobile, but the assembly line.

''You're right,'' Lefty said. ''That you for helping me catch that.''

The reporter told Mickelson he learned that fact covering auto racing.

''I learned that in history,'' Mickelson said. ''And I forgot it, obviously.''

Soggy East Lake

For the third consecutive week on the PGA Tour, players might be allowed to lift, clean and place in the fairway.

The Atlanta area has received 15 inches of rain since mid-September, and East Lake was pounded by storms late Monday. Some of the fairways were so darkened by mud that players walked into the rough during the pro-am Tuesday to limit the damage.

PGA Tour officials won't decide until Thursday whether to allow players to touch balls in the fairway, one of the reasons scores have been so low the last three weeks.

''It's going to be amazing to see if they can actually get this course playable so we don't have to play lift, clean and cheat,'' Tiger Woods said, coining a phrase first said by U.S. Golf Association rules official Tom Meeks.

Mickelson won at East Lake in 2000 with a 13-under 267. In 1998, Hal Sutton won in a playoff over Vijay Singh after both finished at 6-under 274 in dry, blustery conditions.

Mickelson predicts a record score this week.

''You have to look at about 3 under being par, and realistically about 5 or 6 under par being what you should expect to shoot,'' he said. ''That would put the winning total around 20 under.''

Language barrier

Sergio Garcia is the latest European player to move to the United States, buying Ernie Els' old house at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla.

Asked if he has become Americanized, the 22-year-old Spaniard said, ''There's no doubt. My accent has already changed.''

If anything, Garcia said he has started to struggle with his native tongue, although he attributes that to playing on a primarily English-speaking tour on both sides of the Atlantic.

''The last six years I've pretty much been talking English everywhere, even Spain,'' he said. ''When you play a tournament, you're playing with European guys, and you usually speak English to them, unless they're Spanish.

''It got to a point where sometimes I know a word in English, and I can't get it in Spanish,'' he said. ''I just freeze.''









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