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Odds & Ends from the Wacky World of Golf


Editor's Note: Some unusual activities happened on the world's golf courses in recent days. Let's take a look at a few of them.

Hack Ignites Fire

In attempting to hack his ball out of dry-grass rough alongside a course in Reno, a golfer started a fire that burned about 20 acres. The unidentified player knocked his ball into dry grass outside the course last week, officials said. When he tried to direct the ball back to the fairway, his club struck something that created a spark. The next thing he new, flames shot up and the inferno spread.

"He was totally honest about it," said Reno Battalion Chief Curtis Johnson. About 50 firefighters responded to the blaze. No buildings were damaged, and no one was injured.

Talk about an incendiary round.

More Errant Shots

Clive Seymour hit an awful drive on the opening tee in Newton Abbot, England, that turned out to be pretty good. The 72-year-old sliced his ball so badly that he got a hole-in-one - three holes away.

"I'm afraid slicing is one of my problems," the 24-handicapper told the Daily Mirror of London. "I really got hold of the drive but it went to the left, flew over some saplings and to the left of a big oak tree. I didn't see where it disappeared, but three lads on the fourth said it went straight in the hole.

"People are saying I've scored the world's first hole-in-the-wrong-one."

People Who Live in Glass Houses . . .

Homeowners who live next to golf courses are decrying the fact that duffers whose shots break their windows rarely offer to pay for the damages. The report was filed in the New York Times.

"Nobody leaves their business card in the broken glass," lamented Joe Jonas, who lives near a course in St. George, Utah. "The one time I did catch the guy, he gave me an address and phone number that turned out to be phony.

"He was playing in a church outing."

Jacklin Speaks Out on PGA Tour's Psychobabble

Tony Jacklin, the 62-year-old former Ryder Cup captain and past champion of the British and U.S. opens, was pleased when Argentina's Angel Cabrera won the U.S. Open a week ago.

"I was thrilled he won," Jacklin said while competing at the London Seniors Masters in Kent, England. "All this fantastic technology that's around, all these psychologists and swing gurus, and here is a guy coming out on top who smokes cigarettes and smashes the ball a mile.

"I hope some of these young golfers, although I'm not talking about the smoking now, can take something from this and realize the whole business [of golf] is being fed by all this rubbish. There is so much information out there these days, so many people on the periphery of the game trying to get heard, trying to make a living.

"There is nothing wrong with trying to make a living from the game but golf is a simple game. The core of it is not complicated," Jacklin continued with Tony Jimenez of UK Reuters.

"I was fortunate to play with Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and they all learned by watching other golfers," said the Englishman. "They questioned some things, for sure, but now they are given so much information, there are many opportunities for young people to go in the wrong direction.

"They (on the periphery) are all salesmen, all trying to sell you their story, their method, their thing. It's the most important thing happening today but you've still got to get the ball in the hole, hit it down the fairway. It's simple stuff."

Jacklin, who also plans to compete in next month's British Open and British Seniors Open, said the most important facet of Cabrera's first major victory was his self belief. "It's pure and simple, coming into the last nine holes of a major championship you must believe you can do it," he said. "Not who your coach is, or whether you swing the club this way, or that. It's about getting the job done."

Jacklin, who captained Europe's Ryder Cup team four times, said South African Gary Player was the perfect example of a player who achieved greatness largely because of his mental strength.

"I was with (former U.S. Ryder Cup player) Doug Sanders the other day. He told me that in the 1950s when Player had just arrived in America, he had told him he was going to win all the majors, and of course he did.

"Player was probably the single best example of mind over matter, of going out and getting the job done. He didn't have the ability to hit the ball that far, he was a small man, but he worked on his physique and became a champion."

Jacklin was also critical of the amount of tournament golf played these days. "A lot of these kids are burned out by 18," he said. "They have heard so much rubbish, they get bored with it.

"Jack (Nicklaus) said to me a year ago, 'If I was out here now, I'd get bored with it.' Jack used to play for two weeks, go off and do different things and then come back refreshed and able to focus on his game with enthusiasm. How can you be enthusiastic when you play 30-35 tournaments a year, hitting balls all the time, unless you're a robot?"