Golf: Woods heckled by fan with gun

Click to follow
A SPECTATOR who heckled Tiger Woods during the Phoenix Open at the weekend was arrested after police discovered a handgun concealed in a bag he wore around his waist, PGA officials revealed yesterday.

The fan was identified by police as Brian Murphy, 40, of Phoenix, who had been following the final threesome of Woods, tournament winner Rocco Mediate and Harrison Frazar during Sunday's final round. Police said Murphy was yelling at Woods and using abusive language. He continued to do so even though he was told to quieten down by a plainclothes police officer.

"The guy... started using abusive language and then lunged at the officer," Scottsdale police spokesman Doug Dirren told the PGA. "The guy was yelling, `What are you going to do? Arrest me?' and the officer had to subdue him by putting him on the ground."

Murphy was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct. Woods was apparently not aware the man was armed and at no time did he brandish the weapon in any way, police said.

Mediate won the $3 million (pounds 1.8m) tournament by two shots from Justin Leonard. Woods finished three behind the winner.

Mediate conquered his nerves and two of golf's most dangerous finishers, shooting an unspectacular par-71 which was enough to seal victory. He started six strokes ahead of Tiger Woods and seven ahead of Justin Leonard going into the final round and managed to maintain the lead despite Leonard closing to within two shots and Woods three. Leonard carded a final-round 66, matching the best of the tournament on a tough Scottsdale course. Woods shot 68.

It was Mediate's third title in 13 years on the US tour. He also won the French Open in 1992. His first victory was at Doral in 1991 and he followed that with victory at Greensboro in 1993 before back surgery interrupted his run of success. He returned to the American tour under a special medical extension in 1996, and crowned a successful year with a sixth-place tie in Phoenix that allowed him to regain full playing privileges.

The winner's purse of $540,000 - double what Mediate won at Greensboro - boosted him to third in the order of merit. David Duval, who earned more than $1m while winning his first two tournaments, failed to capitalise on the 66 he shot on Saturday and was never in the picture. He struggled to his second 74 of the week and finished up at one over par.