Golf: Kite has his goals in sight

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AS PART of being America's Ryder Cup captain last year, Tom Kite had a video put together as a compilation of all his 12 players hitting great shots.

It did not help them win at Valderrama, but it did make Kite realise how well he would have to play when he went back to competing against Tiger Woods, Justin Leonard and the others at the Masters.

"I try to remind myself of how good a player I am and should be," said the 48-year-old Texan, who was runner-up in last year's Masters, although 12 strokes behind Woods.

When this year's tournament began yesterday Kite immediately birdied the 400-yard first hole. However, he made no progress, reaching the turn on level par. Kite cuts an unfamiliar figure these days. Gone are the glasses after laser surgery earlier this season, and he is matter of fact about the operation, happily offering a detailed account.

"They make a horizontal cut on the cornea almost all the way around, then flap that back," he explained. "Then they hit the inner layer with the laser and lay the cornea back over.

"After 20 minutes I had 20-20 vision in both eyes - it's amazing stuff," he said. "No pain, nothing. You're totally awake while everything's going on. And now it helps me on the course because I don't have any distortion and see things so much clearer."