- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 29, 2002

OWINGS MILLS, Md. The friendly conditions at Caves Valley Golf Club yesterday made contenders again out of a number of players whose opening rounds left something to be desired. Bruce Fleisher was not one of them.
Fleisher, the 2001 U.S. Senior Open winner, followed up his 5-over par round Thursday with a 4-over 75. His 151 total was not good enough to make the cut.
"It's very difficult to smile at this point in time," Fleisher said. "I played miserably, there's not a whole lot more I can say about it. It was a lousy two days.
"Absolutely no excuse," he added.
It's hard not to allow him at least one, though. A doctor's visit two weeks ago revealed potential symptoms of prostate cancer. Fleisher is scheduled to undergo more tests next week.
"I'm going to hopefully get that straightened out this coming week," Fleisher said. "I think once that passes by, and if I am fine, I can move on."
He's had to bear other less serious burdens as well. Fleisher has spent his free minutes this week gathering autographs for a celebrity cookbook that his wife, Wendy, helped put together. The book features recipes and stories from some of the Senior PGA Tour's biggest names, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino.
"I think getting autographs for the cookbook played more in my mind than actually playing golf," Fleisher kidded.

Starts and stops
The 10 groups whose opening round was cut short Thursday by thunderstorms finished yesterday morning. Among those players was Tom Kite, who had just chopped his second shot on 17 into a bunker when the siren sounded Thursday, calling play.
"I tossed and turned a little bit thinking about that one, particular shot all night last night," said Kite, who ended up bogeying the hole.
Kite was thankful the USGA timed the restart so the groups could start the second round soon after wrapping up the first. Not everyone had nice words for the tournament officials, however.
Allen Doyle, who bogeyed his final two holes of the first round before carding a 69 in the second round, thought the postponement could have been avoided. He criticized the snail's pace that slowed much of the opening round to a crawl. It was a complaint of many players on Thursday, including Jim Thorpe, who had an early starting time.
"I don't think they realize the pace of play [Thursday] was just absolutely atrocious," Doyle said. "There were guys that teed off after us on the back nine that finished. But I've got to come back out and play 17 and 18, and go bogey, bogey. You couldn't find someone here that gave a [darn] to complain to, which I won't, because it ain't going to do any good."

Say it ain't so, Arnie
For the second day in a row, Palmer got off to a fine start, parring four of his first five holes. But also like Thursday, that start gave way to a string of double and triple bogeys, most of them on the course's par-3 holes. Palmer, the 1981 champion, shot 85 and finished at 167 for his two rounds missing his fourth straight cut at the Senior Open.
Of course, none of that mattered to the loyal legions assembled at 18. They treated Palmer to the warmest ovation of the tournament as he played his final hole. Afterward, Palmer spent 10 minutes signing autographs for his minions.
"If it hadn't been for the fans and just some of my own principles, I wouldn't have even finished," Palmer said. "But I've not [yet withdrawn from a tournament], so I would still have a clean record on that one."
Palmer, 72, said he has made commitments to appear in a handful of upcoming tournaments, but not much after that.
"That will be it, I'm afraid, unless something strikes me," Palmer said.


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