Woods, golf's current sensation at 21 years old,

By Jeffrey Bair Associated Press Published:

Woods, golf's current sensation at 21 years old, and Arnold Palmer, still one of the sport's greatest names at 67, lost a charity skins event to Davis Love III and Tom Lehman. But Woods still felt like the winner.

"More than a torch was being passed. It's knowledge that's being passed on. I've had a chance to sit down with Arnie, and he's given me a lot of advice," said Woods, a six-time PGA Tour winner.

Love won a sand-wedge contest after Woods missed an eagle putt on the 18th hole Monday, giving the Love-Lehman combination a $15,000-$3,000 victory over Woods-Palmer. The money went toward the $750,000 Palmer said was raised for the Latrobe Area Hospital foundation in his hometown.

In a skins game, each hole, or "skin," is worth a certain amount of money. If no one wins the hole outright, the money accumulates until someone does.

"I'm going to have an inferiority complex for three days after this," Palmer said about playing with Woods, Lehman and Love, three members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team that will play in Valderrama, Spain, on Sept. 26-28.

Love's shot from the bunker on No. 18 at the par-72, 6,690-yard Laurel Valley Country Club stopped about 12 feet from the hole _ the closest to the pin among the foursome.

Woods, the Masters champion, played in his fourth charity event of the year at no charge as a favor to Palmer. Woods will be paid a reported $1 million to play in the Mystic Rock event in Farmington, Pa., from 1997-1999.

Palmer, who had prostate surgery in January, quipped with the other players and people in the gallery and recruited Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge to caddie for him for the last three holes.

The atmosphere was informal, and the players conceded short "gimme" putts to each other on every hole.

"It's like Christmas around here," Palmer said.

His short game remains strong, but on two consecutive holes his fairway shots hit the Golf Channel's camera tower and Heather Campbell, 15, a Woods fan and a high school golfer in Beaver County, Pa. She posed for a picture with Palmer after his second shot at the 11th hole hit her in the leg.

Woods said he liked the crowd, which at an estimated 7,000 was much smaller than crowds at PGA Tour events, especially those where he plays.

"The people here really appreciate a good golf shot," Woods said. "I've been to places where the crowd goes nuts even if the ball gets airborne.

"I tend to attract a lot of kids, and sometimes kids can have loose mouths," he said.

Love said western Pennsylvania deserves a regular event on the PGA Tour because its fans show strong support for exhibition events such as Monday's skins game and the annual Senior Tour event in suburban Pittsburgh.

"If there's an opening, I'm sure Pittsburgh will be on the top of the list," Love said. "It's a strong market."

 

Tiger Woods' impact since turning pro on Aug. 27, 1996 (All figures are based on worldwide events):

Tournaments _ 30

Victories _ 7

Winnings _ $2.91 million

Appearance Fees _ $1.2 million

Endorsement deals _ $95.2 million

Nike _ $40 million

Titleist _ $20 million

American Express _ $26 million

Rolex _ $7 million

Warner Books _ $2.2 million

(Plus other deals with Golf Digest and Sportsline.)

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Television

PGA Tour four-year TV Deal _ $650 million (up $325 million)

PGA Championship TV Deal through 2005 _ $ 36.4 million (up $18 million)

___

Tickets

Tournament ticket sales up 18 percent to 35 percent and concession and souvenir sales up 20 percent to 25 percent ($1,125,000 increase).

Nike golf apparel and footwear sales double to $120 million.

All course fees (greens fees, cart rental, etc.) _ $10 billion.

All merchandise (including $2.24 billion for clubs) _ $5 billion.

(A 1 percent Woods-based increase would be $150 million)

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