Golf is a taxing sport, even if you aren't preoccupied with the Internal Revenue Service.
The IRS is sure to be interested in the $81,000 Bob Tway won on a two-hole sudden-death playoff over Masters champion Bernhard Langer today in the Andy Williams Open.
But that wasn't bothering the first-time winner after the rain-shortened 54-hole tournament.
"It's an undescribable feeling," said Tway, who earned $164,023 as a tour rookie last year.
"You play all your life and work endless hours for a moment like this, and sure enough it finally came. I'm just pleased to death. I may not need a plane to get to Hawaii (the next stop on the tour)."
But Langer, who earned $48,600, wasn't flying too high.
His problem -- he wants to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra taxes -- arises from his status as a West German citizen. Under new IRS rules, if he stays in the United States more than 122 days this year, he will face a stiff tax bill here as well as in West Germany.
The issue is further complicated by a PGA requirement that a player appear in 15 tournaments to keep his tour card. Langer doesn't think he can make 15 tournaments in 122 days and hopes the IRS will soften its stance.
But he was not deterred, as he fought for the title, by concerns that it might add to his tax liability.
Going into today's final round, Tway, a three-time all-America at Oklahoma State, was tied with Danny Edwards, one shot behind Larry Mize. Langer was one of 24 players within three shots of the lead as the final round began under sunny, breezy conditions, which contrasted with the rain and cold that wiped out Saturday's play. That was the first rained-out round in the tournament's 35-year history.
"The names were flip-flopping all around on the leader boards," said Tway, who kept an eye on the competition. "I pay attention to the boards because I like to know where I stand and how my buddies are doing."
Tway said he was hoping to finish at 14-under-par and take his chances that he could win with that total. As it turned out, he would have won by two shots in regulation if he had reached his goal.
But the tournament's third playoff in three years developed as Tway bogeyed the 17th hole and parred the 18th when a 30-foot birdie putt slid six feet past the hole.
If he had missed that six-footer, Tway would have forfeited a chance to tie Langer, but his nerves appeared solid as he gripped the putter.
"I've been in a situation like that (with a short putt) thousands of times," he said. "You tell yourself, 'Step up, keep your head down and just stroke it.' "
The playoff matched the relatively inexperienced Tway against a man who had won the 1985 Masters and 17 tournament victories on six continents.
Tway won the tournament with a par on the par-three 16th, the second hole of sudden death. Langer missed a five-foot putt for par that would have extended the match.
"This win probably will do more for Bob than it would have for me," Langer said graciously.
"The 68 I had today easily could have been 65 or 66. The ball was pretty much under control, and I only hit one or two bad shots."
Such was not the case for Mize, whose hopes for a second career victory were ended by a final-round 75.
He wasn't alone among the numerous long shots who had a chance at victory. One by one, they fell out of the lead in a sorrowful sequence: Mize, Edwards and Paul Azinger. And more than a dozen others within striking distance also faded.
For Tway, however, it was a day that could help him become a force on the tour.
"This opens so many doors -- the Tournament of Champions, the Masters, and so many other possibilities," he said. "They say the first win is the biggest and makes the others easier."
For Langer, the more relevant issue is in the hands of the IRS.
"I would be taxed on worldwide income in the U.S. and Germany if I stayed in this country more than 122 days," Langer said. "And I think that's unfair. I hope they will review it."