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A walkout blacks out tight round

The Tour Championship was knocked off television Saturday when ABC's technicians' union staged a 24-hour walkout to protest disciplinary action against a worker who drew a cartoon depicting Disney head Michael Eisner as Scrooge McDuck.

Disney is the parent company of ABC. The National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, the union that called the strike, has been working without a contract since March 31.

Final-round coverage will be shown as planned today with Davis Love III, Brad Faxon, David Duval and Bill Glasson tied for the lead.

Mark Johnson, a shop steward in New York, was suspended for two weeks without pay. The union asked first that the suspension be reduced to one day, then asked for arbitration.

When ABC refused both the union invoked its right to call a 24-hour grievance walkout, according to Anthony B. Capitano, president of Local 16 of NABET.

"They challenged it and they paid for it," Capitano said.

Meanwhile, after two days of ideal playing conditions, wind whipped across the Champions Golf Club at gusts of more than 20 mph in the third round. Suddenly, just breaking 70 became a great score and the PGA field bunched up.

"It was a struggle out there today," Love said. "The wind was totally different. It was really hard, not the same as yesterday."

Eleven players in the field of the top-30 money winners were within four strokes going into today's final round, well within striking distance for the $720,000 first prize in the season-ending event.

If Love wins first prize and Tiger Woods finishes 11th or worse, Love would win the money title with $2.08-million. Woods shot 75 and was at 212, alone in 19th place.

A victory here also would be Love's third this year, including the PGA Championship, and would give him an outside shot at player of the year honors in voting by PGA Tour members.

VOLVO MASTERS: Colin Montgomerie is the clear favorite to capture his record fifth straight PGA European money title after the third round of the $1.6-million tournament in Jerez, Spain.

The 34-year-old Scot used three birdies on the last four holes to fight off challenges from Bernhard Langer and Darren Clarke, his two contenders for the title.

"Yes, the champagne is on ice now," Montgomerie said after posting 71 for 9-under-par 207 at the 7,024-yard, par-72 Montescastillo Course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

"It's certainly looking better than it did when I nearly missed the ball on my fifth shot at the 16th yesterday, " he said.

If Montgomerie wins the money title, he would add the $256,000 bonus pool to his $982,000 earnings. Langer is second at $910,000, and Clarke is third with $748,000.