CALL FROM THE HALL: The ballot for the World Golf Hall of Fame is out, and unlike other sports halls, golf seems to forget its past. How else do you explain the exclusion of a player such as Macdonald Smith, who won 24 PGA Tour events, including three Western Opens when it was considered a major? Or Craig Wood, who won two majors among 21 victories? Or Denny Shute, who won three majors among 14 titles. Three players who are in the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am also deserve consideration: Hubert Green (19 wins, two majors), Lanny Wadkins (21 wins, one major) and Larry Nelson (10 wins, three majors). Nelson and Shute are the only three-time major winners from the 20th century not inducted. This year's results will be released in the spring.
NO PRESIDENTIAL PARDON: When Tiger Woods opened his learning center in Anaheim, Calif., two weeks ago, former President Bill Clinton was on hand to speak, an honor he performed in return for a round of golf with Woods. Woods made Clinton play from the back tees. "I'm twice his age and don't play that much," Clinton said. "He said, "You can play the (front) tees if you want. Otherwise, you can stand back here like a man and weep.' So I sucked it up. One hole I made a birdie and he didn't. And he beat me by 25 strokes."
"You check into the hotel and see you're booked for seven nights. But you know you might be leaving in a day or two. It's exciting for the fans. But you're on edge. And you're on edge the whole round."
- ERNIE ELS, on the Match Play Championship, which began Wednesday; he lost his first-round match
STAT OF THE WEEK
Neither Els nor Vijay Singh has made it past the second round of the Match Play Championship when it has been played at the La Costa Resort, where it will be for the last time this week.
- BOB HARIG, Times staff writer