- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2003

Steve Spurrier couldn’t ask for better weather conditions: temperatures in the 50s, a light drizzle, virtually no wind.

Too bad he was on the golf course instead of the football field.

“Good passing weather,” the Washington Redskins coach proclaimed after finishing his rain-abbreviated round at yesterday’s Capital Open Pro-Am.

A nice day to “pitch ‘n’ catch,” as the Ball Coach might say, but hardly a nice day to pitch ‘n’ putt — not that Spurrier seemed fazed by the conditions at the TPC at Avenel. He shot a solid 3-over 39 on the back nine and teamed up with tour pro Chris DiMarco and three other amateurs to tie for sixth place in the Pro-Am.

“I made a few pars [actually, six],” he said. “But from the white tees, that wasn’t too hard.”

Spurrier’s mantra on the football field is to air it out and go for the big play. He’s a little more conservative on the golf course, relying heavily on a strong short game to bail out his, uh, inconsistent driving.

Spurrier off the tee was a little like ex-Redskin Craig Jarrett on the punt — you never knew what you were going to get. Fortunately, Spurrier’s accuracy from close range was far better than any of the three kickers he brought in last season.

His best shot yesterday came on the par-4 16th, where he nearly holed out from a severe uphill lie from the greenside rough. He tapped in for par, but his nice play hasn’t left him disillusioned into thinking he stacks up with the tour pros.

“It’s called talent,” Spurrier said. “These guys on tour have talent. They can play the game.”

The Pro-Am pairing was special for DiMarco, a University of Florida grad and die-hard Gators fan. Both DiMarco and Spurrier had orange-and-green Gator head covers, though the coach carried a maroon-and-gold Redskins bag.

DiMarco remains loyal to Spurrier, no matter where he’s coaching.

“Oh yeah, I’m a Redskins fan,” he said. “Wherever he goes, I’ll be a fan. We’ll hopefully come up and try to get to some games this year.”

Avenel soaked

Dennis Ingram is praying for a dry weekend, though Avenel’s course supervisor knows that may be asking for too much.

“The course is on the verge of being unplayable,” Ingram said late yesterday morning as yet another round passed through. “We can’t take any more water. … We need three or four sunny, windy days just to get back to conditions where we could mow again, and I don’t see that happening before Sunday.”

Ingram said Avenel recorded measurable rain on 28 of 31 days last month, leaving the course saturated and making it difficult for he and his staff to keep the course up to PGA Tour standards.

“We have a full-time staff of 37 people and another 10-12 volunteers each day to take care of everything. Pumping water, squeegee, every technical tool to dry things out is at our disposal.

“Unfortunately, as of now, nobody’s designed a mower that floats.”

The forecast does appear to be favorable. Partly sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s are expected today and tomorrow, though there’s a chance of rain again on Saturday.

Chip shots

Davis Love III is far and away the hottest player in the field this week. In 11 events this season, Love already has won three times and finished second in another tournament. He’s tops on the money list with more than $3.7million to date, and has seen his world ranking jump from 10th to 3rd. He credits his success to a strong offseason back home in Georgia.

“I went back to fundamentals like Jack [Nicklaus] does every winter,” Love said. “I came out with a healthy, aggressive attitude this year, as opposed to just trying to make it through.” …

Unheralded Jeff Klein’s five-player team won yesterday’s Pro-Am, combining to shoot a 9-under 27 for the nine-hole event.

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