Sun, Jul 20, 2003 - Page 24 News List

S.K. Ho shows what Koreans can do

NY TIME NEWS SERVICE , SANDWICH, ENGLAND

In the sandhills of Royal St. George's, golf's newest name, S.K. Ho, was up there on the British Open leader board on Friday when Ernie Els was asked what he knew about Ho, a 29-year-old South Korean pro.

"Just," Els said with a smile, "that he has a shorter surname than me."

Ho also has a better 36-hole score than anybody else except Davis Love III, the leader at 1 under par going into the third round on Saturday. Only two strokes back with Thomas Bjorn, the Danish Ryder Cupper, after a 73 on Friday, Ho maintained the British Open's tradition of introducing previously little-known golfers to the world stage, especially to American television viewers.

So say hello to the golfer known here as Ho, not to be confused with Lu.

If you don't remember Lu, Lee Trevino will never forget him. When Trevino won the British Open in 1971 at Royal Birkdale, Lu Liang-huan, a Taiwanese pro in a porkpie hat, finished one stroke behind, but never again surfaced on the leader board of a major tournament.

Over the years, other names have suddenly appeared in the last groups on the weekend at the British Open, but some seemed to disappear just as quickly.

Like Simon Owen of New Zealand, who finished second to Jack Nicklaus in 1978 at St. Andrews. Or Gordon Brand of England, second to Greg Norman in 1986 at Turnberry. Or Mike Harwood of Australia, second to Ian Baker-Finch in 1991 at Royal Birkdale.

For that matter, Baker-Finch soon disappeared, too. He is one of ABC's television announcers here.

Then there's Jan Van de Velde, the Frenchman whose water-splashed triple-bogey 7 on Carnoustie's final hole in 1999 dropped him into a four-hole playoff with Paul Lawrie and Justin Leonard that Lawrie won. Van de Velde is a BBC television guest analyst here.

In addition to Ho, three other new names are among the leaders -- Marco Ruiz, a 28-year-old Paraguayan pro who has won twice on the South American tour; Ben Curtis, a 26-year-old PGA Tour rookie; and the South African Hennie Otto, the surprise first-round leader.

Who are these guys? What are they doing here? And where are they going?

Of course, this could be the start of something big. Some of the new names at past British Opens soon evolved into familiar names.

This story has been viewed 2419 times.
TOP top