Friday, March 28, 2003

Veterans gang up on Woods

Haas, Mediate, Tway, Kendall share lead

The Associated Press

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Tiger Woods hit tee shots to the left, approach shots to the right and eventually moved out of the way for an older generation of leaders at The Players Championships.

That's Players - plural.

Jay Haas, Rocco Mediate and Bob Tway, all in their 40s, showed there was more than one player in The Players Championship on Thursday, sharing the clubhouse lead at 4-under 68 in the rain-delayed first round at golf's first big event of the year.

Also at 68 was Skip Kendall, the youngster in the group. He's 38.

Woods was a 2-year-old appearing on the Mike Douglas Show when Haas competed in his first Players Championship in 1977. In swirling winds and under the threat of rain, Haas showed no signs that he was one year away from joining the Champions Tour.

He might change his mind.

"I guess if I've played this well for the whole year, I might think differently," Haas said. "It's a nice problem to have."

Woods had his own problems.

Coming off an 11-stroke victory at Bay Hill last week, he spent most of the morning playing from ankle-deep grass. Woods rallied over the final few holes for an even-par 72.

"Just trying to get to even par would have been a heck of an accomplishment considering the way I was hitting it today," Woods said. "I'm very happy to end up where I was."

Overnight showers drenched the TPC at Sawgrass, and a batch of afternoon thunderstorms finally suspended the first round with 68 players still on the course.

They will return at 7:30 a.m. today.

KRAFT NABISCO: Annika Sorenstam stood on the first tee, felt the wind whipping from the right and wondered why the fairway seemed so narrow.

A few hours later, her competitors were wondering how to keep Sorenstam from running away with the first LPGA major championship of the season.

Sorenstam shot 4-under 68 to take a two-shot lead over Karrie Webb and three others after the first round of the Kraft Nabisco.

"You expect Annika to do that," said Laura Davies, one of those at 70. "It would be a little more worrying if she wasn't on the leaderboard. You'd wonder if something was wrong."

Patricia Meunier-Lebouc was also at 70, along with Michele Redman. Eight players were tied at 71.

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