A friend's advice may have been worth $450,000 to Ted Tryba.

Tryba, who won the St. Jude Classic by two strokes yesterday in Memphis, was in a group of six one shot off the lead heading into the final round, which had been delayed a day because of heavy rain Sunday.

He was practicing his putting before going onto the course when his friend grabbed him by the shoulders and told him: "Take your time out there--any time I felt a little rushed or I felt uncomfortable to just take a step back."

Clinging to a one-stroke lead at the tee on the 528-yard, par-5 16th hole, Tryba recalled the advice and stepped back from the ball. He then stepped up and smacked a perfect drive.

"I think it really helped me there because I hit probably the best tee shot of the week there," Tryba said.

From 234 yards out he hit a 4-iron about eight feet from the pin, then sank an eagle putt to go to 19 under. He stayed there and collected the $450,000 winner's check for his second PGA Tour victory.

Tryba's 265 total was two shots better than Tim Herron and Tom Lehman. Jose Maria Olazabal, whose closing 62 was the best of the week, and Kevin Wentworth were three back at 16 under.

Tennis

Seeds Announced

Australian Mark Philippoussis got the biggest break as Wimbledon announced its seedings with five-time champion Pete Sampras and 1997 champion Martina Hingis designated the No. 1s. The tournament begins Monday and ends July 4.

The big-serving Australian, who reached the quarterfinals last year at Wimbledon, but is ranked only No. 11 on this week's ATP Tour ranking, got the seventh seed at Wimbledon.

He leapfrogged four clay-court players ranked ahead of him. One of those, Chilean Marcelo Rios, withdrew with an injury before the seeds were announced.

Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam that varies from tour rankings in setting its seeding, because of the special problems of playing on grass.

After Sampras, the next five: Patrick Rafter, Australia; Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Russia; Andre Agassi, United States; Richard Krajicek, Netherlands; Tim Henman, Britain.

On the women's side, seven-time Wimbledon champion Steffi Graf was seeded No. 2 despite her No. 3 WTA Tour ranking. American Lindsay Davenport was seeded No. 3--she's No. 2 on the WTA list. After that, the next four seeds followed the WTA ranking: Monica Seles, Jana Novotna, Venus Williams and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. . . .

The International Tennis Federation will decide next month whether to increase the size of balls in an attempt to limit the impact of the game's biggest servers.

Concerned that the domination of servers on fast surfaces is diminishing interest in the sport, the ITF is proposing a two-year experiment with two new types of balls at tournaments starting next January. The organization will vote on the proposal at its July 5-10 meeting.

Andrew Coe, the ITF's technical head, said studies indicated that a ball that's bigger by up to 8 percent could provide a service receiver with more than 20 milliseconds of additional reaction time.

Baseball

Florida's 'Gator'

Bruce Aven is a short, bald, alligator-wrestling 27-year-old rookie part-time outfielder for the National League's worst team, the Florida Marlins.

Teammates call him Gator. They also call him amazing.

"He keeps coming through with clutch hits, even though he doesn't play every day," pitcher Alex Fernandez said.

Aven's season-long hit parade included a 4-for-5 performance Sunday with two home runs and four RBI to help Fernandez and the Marlins beat the New York Yankees, 8-2. That lifted Aven's batting average to .375 with 33 RBI, the most of any NL rookie, and seven homers. He has compiled the gaudy statistics in just 104 at-bats, a ratio that would produce 159 RBI in 500 at-bats.

So naturally when reporters clustered around Aven's locker after the game, they wanted to ask him about alligator wrestling.

The story of his visit this spring to Gatorland, a wildlife park near Orlando, becomes ever more popular with the media as his hit total rises.

"I've been fascinated with crocodiles and alligators," he said in his native Texas twang. "I learned so much about them that when I came to spring training, I wanted to go behind the scenes at Gatorland. I ended up getting on an eight-foot alligator. He was 145 pounds, and I'm 200, but when I was on his back, he dragged me a foot and a half before I could stop him."

Volleyball

Kiraly Nearing Top

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Karch Kiraly failed Sunday in his bid to become the career leader in pro beach volleyball victories.

Kiraly and partner Adam Johnson were eliminated in the semifinals by Brent Doble and Lee LeGrande and finished fourth in the double-elimination Hermosa Beach Open. Kiraly, 38, went into the three-day Association of Volleyball Professionals tournament hoping to pass Sinjin Smith's career record of 139 victories, which he matched two weeks ago in a Dallas tournament.

Auto Racing

Crew Member Released

A pit crew member, critically injured in an accident at the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, was released from the hospital.

Steve Fried, the chief mechanic for rookie driver Robby McGehee, was released Sunday, two weeks after the accident, said Leslie Smith, a spokeswoman for Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

The Mentor, Ohio, crewman was working in McGehee's pit early in the race when he was struck from behind by Jimmy Kite's car, which was hit by another car whose brakes had failed. Fried landed on his face and suffered head and chest injuries.

McGehee, who finished fifth and later was named rookie of the year, gave Fried his trophy two days after the accident.

Olympics

IOC Member Demoted

Olympic leaders have demoted one of their most popular colleagues after giving him one last chance--for a second time--to save his seat.

Phil Coles, a former Olympic kayaker from Australia known as the "Bondi Battler," was allowed to remain on the International Olympic Committee while being forced off the organizing committee for next year's Summer Games in his home town of Sydney.

The IOC executive board also stripped Coles of most of his official duties on the international panel and barred him from serving on commissions for two years for writing notes about his colleagues, some not very flattering.

In reprimanding Coles for "serious negligence," the board hinted that one more infraction would bring his expulsion, familiar language in Coles's case.

FootballGiants Release Two The New York Giants released veteran defensive backs Tito Wooten and Curtis Buckley, saying they had to make room under the salary cap to sign younger players. Losing Wooten will free a reported $1.1 million for the Giants and give the 27-year-old a chance to court other offers.

Soccer

U.S. Gets Opponents

The U.S. under-17 boys national soccer team, which includes four Washington area players, will face host New Zealand, Uruguay and Poland in the first round of the world championships in November. The draw for the 16 teams was held yesterday in Auckland.

Colleges

May Honored

Misty May, who helped Long Beach State to a perfect season and the volleyball national championship, was selected as the winner of the Honda-Broderick Cup as the nation's top college female athlete.

Locally

Mitchell, McCray Speak

Washington Redskins running back Brian Mitchell and Washington Mystics guard Nikki McCray will speak to students in Kaplan's Good Sports Athletic Scholars program today at the Kaplan Educational Center in Northwest Washington. The program provides low-income athletes from district public schools with SAT preparation and college guidance. Kaplan is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Co.

CAPTION: Ted Tryba watches tee shot at 14th hole in final round of St. Jude Classic. Tryba broke away from a group of golfers to win PGA event by two strokes.