Notes Kite Better Now With Driver Worse in Short Game

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TOLEDO, Ohio -- Tom Kite won 19 times on the regular tour, including a U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 1992. But he says in some ways he is a better player at age 53 than he was 25 years ago.
 
I wish that I had the golf swing 25 years ago that I have right now, Kite said. I wish I had the conditioning 25 years ago that I have right now. I think I would have won a lot more tournaments.
 
Of course, he did a lot of things better as a junior than he now does as a senior.
 
Obviously, I did a lot of great things with the short game back then that really carried me and saved me an awful lot from my wedges and my chipping, my bunker play and my putting, he said. That part of my game is not as sharp as what it used to be.
 
WINNING WAS MORE FUN
 
Golf is a funny game that can never be figured out logically, Jim Colbert was saying. Colbert is 62 now. When he was in his early and mid- 50s he won more than $1 million three times. But since then times havent been so good. Last season he dropped to 60th in the money rankings and he thinks quite often about quitting the tour life.
 
When youre playing well ' and I dont care what level youre talking about ' youre living the easiest life there is, he said.
 
But it can be the worst life, too. When youre playing bad, its like youll never be able to win again. Its probably the same in any sport. When things go bad, they really go bad.
 
JUST RELAX
 
Memo to all you hackers who are invited out for a casual round with a pro ' dont be so hung up on winning.
 
Thats the message of Bruce Fleisher, who has just about stopped playing with the amateurs at his home in the Miami area because of it.
 
I will tell you whats sad in my life, he began. When I go home, I choose to play by myself.
 
And the reason being (that) when I do play with a group of guys, they are always trying to beat you. And I am tired of that. I want to go home, relax, and have fun playing. I want to shoot 80 and not give a damn. But Im not allowed to, in my own mind.
 
MOVING TARGETS
 
The fairways at Inverness dont have a lot of good angles from the tees, says Fuzzy Zoeller.
 
Every golfer is different, said Zoeller. But its just like sighting on a rifle. When you sight a rifle, you like to look at your target in order to get the gun shooting straight.
 
When I stand on the tee, Im not getting a great feel of where I am supposed to be and where I am supposed to aim at. I dont know why that is. Certain golf courses are like that.
 
FASTER, FASTER!
 
The greens at Inverness have steadily gotten quicker until they are nearly 13 feet on the Stimpmeter. By contrast, members normally play the course at 10 to 11. The weather conditions ' temperatures in the 90s with the heat index in the 100s ' have combined to make them very slippery.
 
Tom Meeks, the USGAs director of rules and competition, said the greens are right where we want them ' a little scary.
 
More of the same weather is predicted Wednesday, but Thursday the area is supposed to have a 30 percent chance of rain. That should make the greens somewhat slower, but the weekend is predicted to heat back up.
 
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