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Golf's strongest connection to Winter Olympics isn't Tiger

By John Strege

At first glance, golf seemed to have only a tenuous connection to the Winter Olympics -- downhill skier Lindsey Vonn's boyfriend, Tiger Woods, and a few NBC/Golf Channel golf broadcasters, Dan Hicks and Steve Sands among them.

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A stronger connection is provided by former University of Wisconsin golfer Erika Brown, whose college coach was Dennis Tiziani, Steve Stricker's father-in-law and instructor.

For the third time, Brown, 41, is a member of the U.S. curling team, having competed (and finished fifth) in the Calgary Games in 1988 and in the Nagano, Japan, Games in 1998. She is a three-time U.S. Curling Association female curler of the year.

As for golf, Brown played for Wisconsin's Big 10 championship team in 1994, was twice the Wisconsin state high school champion, and won the Madison City Women's Championship in 1994.

Do the two sports have something in common other attempting to hit a target?

"Both of them [require] being able to repeat a motion over and over and make adjustments based on a particular shot and fine-tuning it," she said in this article at uwbadgers.com. "And then, they both take a long time. They're both slow, slow sports, with a lot of time to think. You have to manage your mental space during a round of golf or during a curling game, which can last about three hours."

She played four years at Wisconsin, but when golf and curling were in conflict, Tiziani, according to the story, deferred to curling.

Hicks, incidentally, is the anchor for NBC's coverage of alpine skiing, while Sands will be reporting on speed skating. Jimmy Roberts and Terry Gannon also will have roles on NBC, as will Vonn, who will be unable to compete as a result of a knee injury.

(Getty Images photo)

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