THREE Australian players face a $US5000 ($7000) fine and 12-month ban from the Asian Tour for teeing up in the inaugural OneAsia Super Series tournament, the China Open, which will conclude later today. OneAsia, backed by the Australian PGA and the Chinese and Korean golf associations, has been accused of hijacking events by the Asian Tour, which has threatened to impose the sanctions on members of its tour if they play OneAsia events. But the threat does not affect all Asian Tour members; European and Chinese players who are members have been given a release to play the China Open at the Beijing CBD International course. The three Australians among the 15 players who have defied the Asian Tour are Chris Gaunt, who played so well at home late last year, Jason King and Ashley Hall, but four others – Tony Carolan, Terry Pilkadaris, Scott Barr and Darren Beck – all withdrew. Ben Sellenger, the Australasian Tour commissioner who heads the new series, is confident OneAsia will grow to become the third major tour behind the US and European versions. Of those who have defied the threat of sanctions, he says: "They see the strength of opportunity as greater than the threat." SHARK’S SILVER LINING
Greg Norman left Augusta disappointed after missing the cut, but with his head held high. Time will not erase his bad memories of the US Masters but he does have a few mementos at home to remind him of the good times, including 16 crystal goblets, a pair for each of the eight eagles he’s scored, five crystal vases for low round of the day and, of course, three runner-up trophies which are a silver medal and silver salver. UNKIND CUTS
Adam Scott first broke into the top 20 in the world rankings in September 2003 when he won for the first time in the US at the Deutsche Bank Championship, and he remained there until the past two weeks. Scott, who got to No.3 two years ago, has dropped to 26th despite declaring that he is fully fit after a series of injuries, the most recent of which was dislocating his knee in the surf on the Sunshine Coast last November. He began the year promisingly in the US, finishing tied second in the Hawaiian Open in January but has missed the cut in his past three events, including last week’s US Masters. He has not broken 70 since Hawaii. SHANK THANKS
And, finally, a giant thank-you to US Masters champion Angel Cabrera from all us hackers. He proved even the best can shank a ball, which is exactly what he did on the eighth at Augusta last Sunday.