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The 2003 Hot List

RED RAIDER GOLF COURSE, slated to open in September, is Tom Doak's latest. Texas Tech alum Jerry Rawls put up $8.6 million to bankroll a course in Lubbock for the Tech golf team. Rawls's goal: to build "the best collegiate golf course in the country." Doak has done more than give it the old college try. But beware: If you see hoops coach Bob Knight, do not hit into his group. (806-742-4653)

THE NORMAN COURSE at Red Sky Golf Club, opening this summer, completes the Colorado resort's double-barreled debut. Last year's opening shot was a Fazio track. This 7,500-yard test serpentines past crags, gulches and meadows. (800-404-3535, redskyranch.com)

A tightly wound bundle of talent and nerves, the San Diego muni-course star nearly won twice last year, only to self-destruct in bursts of club abuse, OB balls and F-bombs. Still, the raw rookie racked up $1.4 million in 2002 earnings. Jonathan Byrd won the Rookie of the Year award, but some insiders say the winless (so far) Perez, 27, has more game. "I'm not an angry person," he insists, yet there's reason to think he is bent on revenge.

In December 2001, moments after winning his Tour card, Perez stood near the last green at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. Ty Tryon was the big story that day. Perez, the miffed Q-school medalist, lit a cigarette and grumbled. "The head pros at all the country clubs around San Diego, they wouldn't let me play," he said. "Oh, you've got to be on Tour first! Well, now I'm on Tour, and I'll never play their places." Powder-keg Perez will bag his first win in 2003. In a perfect world, Tommy "Thunder" Bolt would be there to throw him the trophy.

It's been said that beating Tiger Woods would take the talent of Phil Mickelson and the steely discipline of Jack Nicklaus. Which got us wondering how such a player would look.

PHIL MICKLAUS would be a sandy-haired, long-driving wedge artist with an occasional weight problem, due to his bearlike metabolism and subcutaneous fat. Alternately fabulous and hopeless in the majors, he hates it when Ohio State and Arizona State play in the Rose Bowl.

Morph the easy action of Ernie Els and the bubbly personality of Sergio Garcia and you get ELS NIÑO, an international star with a bit of a Tiger complex and the funniest accent you ever heard.

Squeeze Duffy Waldorf, Tim Herron and Dr. Gil Morgan into Snow White's favorite golfer, DUFFY LUMPY DOC. The country-club set, however, prefers cheering for DAVIS HOWELL IIIIII.

Michelle Wie plus Ben Hogan?Meet THE WIE ICEWOMON, a grizzled teen phenom with the raw power of youth and the Wee Icemon's inner drive—by Godfrey, he/she's awesome!

And since somebody's got to call the action, we played Frankenstein in the booth and created the irreverent JOHNNY McCORD. Unfortunately, he's a TV star with a face made for radio.

"Gone are the days of watching a list of names, waiting for a score to change," says Steve Evans, the PGA Tour's info guru. With Tourcast, which costs $9.95 a month, fans can track every shot by every player within a heartbeat of real time. Clicking on Tourcast hooks you into more than 100 spotters, scorers and stats crunchers. The spotters measure every drive and use thirty-six survey-grade lasers to pinpoint putting distances down to the inch. An instant after a player hits his ball, you'll see a "shot trail" zip across Tourcast's map of the hole he's on. "You'll know where his ball is before he does," says pgatour.com general manager Craig Gibson, "and you can drill down for stats nobody else has." Not just driving distance and greens in regulation, but numbers even Evans has only begun to ponder.

"Last year, Sergio Garcia was the most accurate player on Tour from the right rough," Evans says. "But he ranked 141st from the left rough. Why?I doubt even Sergio knows. We also found that some players are deadly on four- and five-foot putts, but outside five feet they're not even average. This stuff is going to change the way we see the game."


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