Julian Puts Masters Week in Perspective

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- An otherwise weird week at Augusta National included a somber, heart-wrenching moment before the Masters even began.
 
Jeff Julian, who is dying of Lou Gehrig's disease, accepted the Ben Hogan Award from the Golf Writers Association of America. It goes to a player who remains active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness.
 
The 41-year-old Julian played seven times on the PGA Tour last year, even as his condition worsened.
 
He lost his ability to speak in November, and he has lost so much strength in his arms and legs that he had to stop playing golf shortly before he came to Augusta for the award.
 
Tiger Woods, accepting his player-of-the-year award for the fourth straight time, paid tribute to Julian and Bruce Edwards, the caddie for Tom Watson who recently was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
 
'The toughness they show really inspires me to do more with my life,' Woods said at the Wednesday night dinner.
 
Woods had already left when Julian stepped to the podium, his hands shaking as he tried to wipe away tears.
 
A crowd of about 400 fell silent when Julian typed letters into his hand-held computer, then held it to the microphone as the computer spoke the words.
 
'Tiger mentioned my name. I made it.'
 
Julian, showing humor in the face of a disorder that progressively robs the body of voluntary muscles, continued to punch away at his computer.
 
'You would think a person who can't speak would have a relatively short speech. But no such luck.'
 
The speech indeed was short. His regular computer was damaged on the trip. Overcome with emotion, Julian eventually gave up on the hand-held device and used sign language that his wife, Kimberly, translated.
 
Julian had a ticket to attend the Masters on Thursday, his only time to see Augusta National. By the time he arrived, however, the first round had been postponed by rain, and the gate he was supposed to enter had already closed.
 
Julian never made it to the golf course.
 
Tracking Tiger
 
Despite not winning a third straight Masters title, Tiger Woods continued to show his dominance in the majors.
 
His 6-under 66 in the third round was the 19th time that Woods has shot the low score of the day in a major championship. He now has played 100 rounds as a pro.
 
Nine of those rounds gave him at least a share of the lead in the tournament, and three increased his lead. In 2000 and 2002, Woods shot the low score in at least one round at each of the four majors.
 
Is it any wonder Woods won eight of his first 25 majors?
 
Jack Nicklaus didn't have as many low rounds in the majors at this point in his career. Nicklaus finished with 40 low rounds in the majors for his career, but only 13 after his first 100 rounds as a pro.
 
The best performance for a single major was J.H. Taylor in the 1900 British Open, where he became the only player to have the best score in all four rounds.
 
Woods came close. In the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, he had the best score in three rounds. Ernie Els shot a 68 in the third round, three strokes better than Woods.
 
Sponsorship Woes
 
The economy is making it tough on companies who sponsor tour events.
 
Williams, a diversified energy company in Tulsa, Okla., has pulled out as title sponsor of its LPGA Tour event at Tulsa Country Club. Williams has agreed to meet its $2 million obligation for this year's event in September.
 
It also wants out as presenting sponsor of the Target World Challenge, Tiger Woods' end-of-the-year silly season event at Sherwood Country Club. Williams was the title sponsor of that tournament until last year.
 
Kemper Insurance, meanwhile, withdrew as title sponsor of the PGA Tour event Tuesday.
 
Major Doings
 
For the third time in the last three years, Phil Mickelson closed with a 68 in the final round of a major championship and came up short.
 
Not only does he remain the undisputed 'Best Player Never to Win a Major,' Mickelson is closing in on another title -- most top 10s without winning a major.
 
His tie for third at the Masters was the 17th time he has finished in the top 10, tying him with MacDonald Smith at No. 2 on the all-time list.
 
Ed Dudley holds the record for most top 10 finishes - 19 - among players who have never won a major. Seven of those came at the Masters, just like Mickelson.
 
Jim Furyk (fourth at the Masters) and Jeff Maggert (fifth) also continue to move up the charts. They each have 12 top 10s in the majors.
 
Surprisingly low on the list is Colin Montgomerie, who missed the cut at Augusta. He has only eight top 10s in the majors.
 
Quitting Time
 
Chris DiMarco was the only player who failed to return Saturday morning to finish his second round at the Masters.
 
DiMarco, the 36-hole leader in 2001, opened with a 10-over 82 and was 6-over par for the second round when darkness suspended play. He told Brad Faxon and Stuart Appleby he would not be coming back.
 
'I'm going to have to play dumb on this,' DiMarco told The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun. 'I didn't know you don't withdraw from Augusta. I've never withdrawn from a tournament in my life. It just didn't seem like it was worth it, to tell you the truth.'
 
DiMarco left early Saturday morning to attend his son's baseball game in Orlando, Fla.
 
DIVOTS: Sergio Garcia signed a deal with TaylorMade last year said to be worth as much as $7 million a year and include an agreement for him to play the Maxfli ball. The contract is being tweaked because Garcia switched back to the Titleist ball last month. ... Tiger Woods will break ground Wednesday in Santa Ana, Calif., on his learning center. The project includes a 35,000-square-foot education center at H.G. Dad Miller Golf Course, where Woods played as a kid. ... Mark Frost has won the 2002 U.S. Golf Association International Book Award for 'The Greatest Game Ever Played.'
 
STAT OF THE WEEK: Mike Weir is leading the PGA Tour money list, the first time since 1999 someone other than Tiger Woods has been No. 1 coming out of the Masters.
 
FINAL WORD: 'It looked more like a phone number on my card than a golf score.' -- Jeff Maggert, who had a triple-bogey 7 and a quintuple-bogey 8 in the final round of the Masters.