Monday, March 23, 2009

Sergio's Headed Back To Town

Before the PGA Tour tees off at Arnie’s place and during a break in the NCAA tournament, let’s take a tour of The Front Nine.
1. SERGIO, CAMILLO COMMIT
The field for the Quail Hollow Championship continues to improve with Sergio Garcia, Camilo Villegas and Robert Karlsson the latest top players to add their names to the official commitment list.
With the three latest additions, the tournament – April 27-May 3 at the Quail Hollow Club – has 10 of the top 20 players in the latest world rankings.
Others include Padraig Harrington, Jim Furyk, defending champion Anthony Kim, Paul Casey, Steve Stricker, Stewart Cink and Adam Scott.
Tournament officials expect other top-20 players to officially commit in the coming days. Tiger Woods is not expected to announce whether he will play until perhaps the Friday before the event begins.

2. ONE STOP SHOPPING
To give ticket-buyers another option, the Quail Hollow Championship will have a kiosk open in SouthPark Mall starting today, offering tickets in a variety of packages.
It’s the first time the tournament has had a kiosk in the mall. The kiosk will be open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday.
The tournament has been a sellout in each of its first six years and is expected to be sold out again this year.
“The economy has affected us some,” said Kym Hougham, executive director of the tournament. “We’ve seen a change in our buying patterns.
“We felt we needed to do something different, plus people can save $10 on the shipping. We’re not going to put our heads in the sand and think everything is fine.
“By the time the tournament comes around, we’ll all be pleasantly happy.”

3. THE NEXT SHARK ATTACK
For all the anticipation surrounding Tiger Woods’ return to Augusta National in two weeks, there will also be a swirl of attention around Greg Norman’s return to the Masters, where his heart was broken so many times.
Norman hasn’t played in the Masters since 2002, before several substantial changes were made to the course. He played a practice round at Augusta National last Wednesday and during a conference call with reporters on Friday, Norman spoke about the dramatic differences in the course he played seven years ago and the one he’ll play in two weeks.
“I can tell you the golf course is 7,700 yards since I last played it…so there is a dramatic difference to the golf course. I was absolutely shocked to tell you the truth,” Norman said.
“You hear about the changes. You don’t really see them on television. These younger players have nothing to relate to what happened 20 years ago. They just sit back and play it, okay, this is the way it’s always been.
“But there’s phenomenal changes, right from the very first hole. The tee is now back where the old putting green was when I was played there. So the thought of driving over the bunker on the first hole is gone.
“I had 176 yards into the green (last week)…back in the old days it was 120 yards. So there’s 50 years just on the first tee shot alone.”

4. ANNIKA, THE MOM
In case you’ve haven’t heard, Annika Sorenstam announced last week that she and husband David McGee are expecting their first child later this year.
One of the reasons Sorenstam cited for stepping away from competitive golf after last year was her desire to start a family.

5. WHO SAYS HE WAITS UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE?
For all the carping Tiger Woods gets for waiting until virtually the last minute to commit to PGA Tour events he plays in, he’s eight months ahead in committing to play in the Australian Masters this year.
But it has created a controversy.
According to published reports, Woods will receive a $3 million appearance to play in the event outside Melbourne.
The tricky part is one-half of the $3 million comes from taxpayer dollars.

6. ALMOST NEW AGAIN
The par-5 18th hole at Wild Dunes’ Links Course near Charleston, one of the Carolinas’ most recognizable holes for two decades, is close to being whole again.
The hole was lost to beach erosion last year but has been rebuilt with design work by original architect Tom Fazio. It has been grassed and, if the weather cooperates, the 500-yard ocean-side hole could be back in play before June.

7. STAYING YOUNG
Pinehurst Resort and U.S. Kids Golf have extended their relationship through 2013, meaning the popular U.S. Kids Golf World Championship will continue to be played at the resort the next five years.
The tournament annually draws more than 1,000 players from more than 40 different counties each August.
A teen championship and a parent-child tournament will be included in the agreement, which Pinehurst officials hope will enhance the role of youth golf.

8. THE LIST
Golfweek magazine’s list of the top 10 courses available for public play in North Carolina:
1. Pinehurst No. 2
2. Pine Needles
3. Linville Golf Club
4. Leopard's Chase
5. Tobacco Road
6. Mid Pines
7. Pinehurst No. 4
8. Pinehurst No. 8
9. Southern Pines Elks
10. River's Edge

9. THE LAST WORD
“(I’m) doing pretty well considering I had a leg amputation.” – Fred Funk, on rumors he lost his leg due to complications from a staph infection related to knee surgery last year. Funk kept both legs but spent weeks dealing with the infection that hospitalized him for a time.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This tournament does not "Make it or Break it" based on Tiger Woods. It is a top level tournament that REAL golf fans appreciate. I guess the sooner he makes a committment the sooner the hospitality staff can order 40's for the vending tents.

Anonymous said...

When will Ron Green Jr. stop blowing Tiger?

Sean said...

Gee, big shock that the racist/classist post was made anonymously.

4handicap said...

The frist two posters are the idiots who stand behind you at a golf tournament yelling "you da man" and other moronic comments. Stick witht the tractor pulls you toothless rednecks.

Anonymous said...

Better yet 4handicap (sure) why not make tractor pulls have more racial diveresity. A minority tractor pull program, that would make you happy?