Tiger Woods makes it look easy, finishing near the top in so many tournaments. His charge Sunday at the Byron Nelson Classic, with a final-round 63, came up one shot short, but still gained him his 16th top-five finish in his past 19 PGA Tour events.
Of course, it is not nearly so simple, not even for the best players in the game. Safety Harbor's John Huston is ranked 20th in the World Ranking and has five PGA Tour victories, his last coming in 1998. The chances to win are rare.
That's why Huston left Dallas a bit annoyed with himself. He entered the final round tied for the lead with Davis Love III. He finished tied for fourth with Woods, a shot out of a playoff, after shooting par 70. Jesper Parnevik defeated Love and Phil Mickelson in the playoff.
But Huston needed three back-nine birdies to pull within a shot. He struggled early, playing the first 10 holes in 3 over par.
"Certainly everybody likes to take advantage of their opportunities because it doesn't come along often enough for most of us," Huston said Wednesday from Fort Worth, where he is playing in this week's Mastercard Colonial. "If I played decent, got off to a good start, I probably would have won. I'm sure Davis says the same thing. It probably wouldn't have been close if either one of us had shot a score like the others were shooting."
Nonetheless, it was Huston's fifth top-five finish of the year. And he is 17th on the PGA Tour money list with $757,917.
Still, trophies are elusive.
"I'm disappointed I didn't play better," he said. "I didn't play well from the very start the last day. Whether you win or not, sometimes that's not much under your control. But I thought I would play better than I did."
HELP ON THE WAY: Swing coach Butch Harmon reportedly receives a seven-figure fee annually from Woods. That helps explain why Harmon took a red-eye from his home in Las Vegas late Saturday to meet with Woods on Sunday morning in Dallas and help him with some posture problems.
Before Woods left for the first tee, Harmon patted him on the back and said, "See you on the driving range before the playoff."
Woods, his posture problem apparently fixed, almost made Harmon's words come true as he nearly erased a seven-shot deficit.
EXTRA WORK: Three straight PGA Tour events have gone to sudden-death playoffs, with Robert Allenby defeating Craig Stadler in Houston, Carlos Franco defeating Blaine McCallister in New Orleans and Parnevik defeating Love and Mickelson. The last time three straight events were decided in playoffs was in 1966 at Greensboro, the Masters and Tournament of Champions.
WORKING WEEKEND: For the first time in some two years, Ben Crenshaw made the cut in a PGA Tour event. He had missed 24 straight since the 1998 Buick Classic. "I don't know whether to have champagne or puke," Crenshaw said.
TOURNAMENT UPDATE: Tickets are on sale for the Tampa Bay Classic, the PGA Tour event to be played Oct. 19-22 at Innisbrook's Copperhead course. Tickets are $30 for daily admission and $60 for a weekly badge. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or the tournament office at (727) 942-5566. The tournament is also looking for volunteers and for pro-am participants. For information, call the tournament office. Largo's Bob and Sylvia Hagerman were the winners of a Trip of a Lifetime contest they entered while attending the 1999 JCPenney Classic. They will attend the British Open at St. Andrews in July. The contest also selected 10 other winners to receive tickets to the Tampa Bay Classic.
_ Information from other news organizations was used in this report.