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The 2003 Hot List

MONTAGE RESORT & SPA in Laguna Beach, California, provides yoga on the beach and a pair of fine Tom Fazio layouts at nearby Pelican Hill. (888-715-6700, montagelagunabeach.com)

THE RITZ-CARLTON SPA at Grande Lakes in Orlando features fruit-inflected pamperings designed by the industry's only full-time citrus consultant. Cure your slice at Greg Norman's Ritz-Carlton Golf Club. (800-576-5760, grandelakes.com)

THE WESTIN KIERLAND RESORT & SPA in Scottsdale offers treatments starring the agave plant. After a Blue Agave Paraffin Wrap, you'll be calm and moist enough to play twenty-seven holes at the Kierland Golf Club. (480-624-1000, westin.com)

If the local-color trend catches on, every spa—like every golf course—will be refreshingly different from every other. We can only hope nobody builds one in Transylvania.

Tiger Woods is better than you think. Hobbled last year by a painful left knee, he had off-season surgery, then began 2003 in epic fashion, hitting an impossible four-iron shot on his way to victory at the Buick Invitational. In March, fighting food poisoning, Woods won at Bay Hill by eleven shots. That was his third win in four tries—his hottest start ever. It was also his fourth career double-digit victory. Nobody else since 1990 has even one double-digit win. Moral: We have only begun to fathom the depth of Tiger's talent.

Michelle Wie: The tall Hawaiian hammer got an exemption to the first women's major of the year and played her way into the last group on Sunday. She's thirteen. Someday she'll be ready for the Tour—the men's Tour.

Philip Francis: Four-time junior world champ Francis, 14, was winning eight-and-under events at age four. The Phoenix phenom can go to Q-school in 2007 and join the Champions Tour in 2039.

Jack Patrick Lindsay: The left-handed "Tiger Cub" from Holtsville, New York, outdrove Regis Philbin on TV when he was still in Pampers. Now six, he's a consistent striker who'll gain distance as he grows. Today he socks 125-yard drives—not bad for a forty-five-pounder.

With pros getting ever more selective about which events they deign to enter, tournament officials are vying to tempt them with ever-better enticements. "From the moment players reach their lockers or hotel rooms, they are showered with freebies," says Tour watcher Art Stricklin. "Pro golfers get free long-distance calls, lavish dinners, tickets to baseball or NBA games, plus the occasional spin on a NASCAR track or in a corporate jet."

Events like the EDS Byron Nelson Championship—where champions get monogrammed bathrobes and stationery at the Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas, and everyone gets peanut butter and banana sandwiches—are starting to seem quaint. At the Las Vegas International, players get free show tickets for headline attractions on the Strip. The Funai Classic at Walt Disney World gives golfers and their families tickets to the Magic Kingdom. At the Phoenix Open, pros get half-price hotel rooms, Diamondbacks or Suns tickets, concert tickets, and a choice between a $1,000 gift certificate or $500 in cash. As Rick George, tournament director of the HP Classic of New Orleans, puts it, "Our tournament is only as good as the players we have." George offers players a helicopter fishing trip—a chopper chauffeurs them to and from the driving range—plus a cooking clinic for Tour wives hosted by Emeril Lagasse.

Justin Leonard has a partial-swing waggle. Chris DiMarco and Karrie Webb do, too. But nobody does it like Mike Weir, whose pre-shot move was a key to his turnaround this year. Not a nervous tic À la Sergio Garcia, Weir's waggle is a half-swing practice move that triggers his full swing. Two years ago, he quit the habit and sagged from eleventh to seventy-eighth on the money list. Now the waggle's back, and so is he.


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