'Tiger looks different this year,' Ballesteros says in the September issue of Golf magazine. 'He is a very seasoned 27, not a baby anymore. He is understanding the things that happen to your body as you age. After an injury, you don't go 100 percent. Your mind is waiting for discomfort, and that changes your swing.'
Woods had knee surgery at the end of last year, then won three of his first four events upon his return. Still, Woods says he doesn't practice as long as he once did.
'When you are in your early 20s, you can take the violent swing,' Ballesteros said. 'It starts to get tough in your late 20s. The early 30s are more difficult, and it never gets easier.'
Among the regrets Ballesteros has about his career are turning pro at 17, not playing more in the United States and not taking better care of his body.
He exercises, swims and stretches to help his back, 'and I think it's a losing battle.'
'Gary Player knew how to care for his body, which is one big reason he, (Jack) Nicklaus and Sam Snead are the only ones to peak for more than 10 years,' Ballesteros said.
Most people would be thrilled to shoot their age in a major championship, especially when the number -- age and score -- is 81 at Turnberry.
Jack Fleck had reason to be remiss.
'I should have had a 75,' he said.
Fleck, the surprise winner in the 1955 U.S. Open in a playoff over Ben Hogan, posted his 81 in the first round of the Senior British Open two weeks ago.
That included a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 13th hole when he wound up in thick rough and didn't have the strength to chop it out. Then on the 16th, his approach caught the ridge in front of the green and slid down into Wilson's Burn, leading to a double bogey.
'I don't know what it was,' Fleck said. 'I just didn't have the coordination. The wind was strong, and I'm pretty thin. I think that had something to do with it.'
LPGA Tour players have been whispering for months that some fathers of Korean players might be guilty of improper coaching during tournaments.
Golf World reports this week that the LPGA has called a meeting at the Wendy's Championship in Ohio to discuss a series of accusations, including one that a father moved his daughter's ball from behind a tree.
LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaw told the magazine the meeting was 'to make sure they understand the rules and regulations of the LPGA and the rules of golf.'
Some players have complained that fathers stand behind greens as a directional marker, use hand signals to indicate the right club selection and offer advice in Korean -- all of which violates the Rules of Golf. Players can only receive assistance from caddies.
Votaw declined comment on the allegation that a father moved his daughter's ball.
'There are a number of issues that need to be addressed,' he said. 'That's why we're having the meeting. Many of these are 'he-said, she-said' situations with no corroborating evidence.'
CATCHING A FAMILY MOMENT
Rick Dempsey, World Series MVP in 1983 for the Baltimore Orioles and now their first base coach, moonlighted as a caddie on the Futures Tour last week.
It was a rare opportunity to work with his sister, Cherie Zaun, a former tour pro recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
Hunters Oak Golf Club owners used their private helicopter to get Dempsey from the course in Queenstown, Md., to Camden Yards, but it turned out to be a short week.
Zaun withdrew after nine holes of the second round because she had problems using the right side of her body to accelerate through her shots.
'It's like having half a body,' Zaun said. 'I'm still learning about what this disease is doing to me.'
Zaun, whose son Geoff was a catcher for the Florida Marlins when they won the '97 World Series, played on the LPGA Tour in 1976 and 1977. She now is a teaching pro at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale, Calif.
Ben Curtis was relatively unknown until winning the British Open, but he might not have been the most obscure winner of golf's oldest championship.
Bev Norwood, an IMG publicist who has edited the British Open annual the last 20 years, makes a strong case for David 'Deacon' Brown, who won at Musselburgh in 1886.
According to local legend, Brown was the town chimney sweep and a good golfer, having played the previous two Open championships at Musselburgh.
Because they had an odd number of players that year, tournament officials sought out Brown to complete a pairing. They found him hard at work and covered in soot, brought him to the links, gave him a bath and dressed him in clean clothes. He shot 79-78 and won by two strokes over Willie Campbell.
Brown gave up his trade for golf, emigrated to Boston and lost in a playoff to Willie Anderson in the 1903 U.S. Open. He was said to have earned enough to live comfortably, but lost most of his wealth in the 1929 stock market crash, returned to Musselburgh and died a year later.
Mark O'Meara is taking his 14-year-old son to work. He and Shaun have entered the Father-Son Challenge, one of the most popular silly-season events. 'Shaun and I have watched the event for the past several years and started looking forward to the day when we could play,' he said. 'This is the right time.' The tournament is Dec. 4-7 at ChampionsGate in Orlando, Fla. ... Grace Park surpassed the $1 million mark for the first time in her career. Park is only the seventh player in LPGA history to reach $1 million in a single season. ... Old Waverly Golf Club, where Juli Inkster won her first U.S. Women's Open, has been selected as site of the 2006 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Hank Kuehne's drives measure more than 300 yards 86.5 percent of the time. The PGA Tour average is 24.5 percent.
'If she could putt and chip like me, or I could hit it straight like her, you would have the best player in the world.' -- Seve Ballesteros, on Annika Sorenstam.
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