Stories for March 2004
Saturday, March 27
Need any more evidence that golf has gone global? At the Honda Classic, your champion was an American who toiled for years in Japan. A week later at Bay Hill, the leader heading into the weekend was a powerful little Japanese man who plays in America. He competed in Saturday’s final pairing alongside an Irishman – but alas, they were upstaged that day by an Aussie.
Golf’s annual rite of spring – the Masters – is right around the corner, and the tournament is very much on the minds of the game’s top players. Some of them are lucky enough to be in the elite, limited field – and those who aren’t have one week to do something about it at the lucrative Players Championship.
Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin are collaborating on a new golf course design called The Concession. The name commemorates the historic gesture at the 1969 Ryder Cup when Nicklaus conceded a 3-foot putt to Jacklin in the final match at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England.
Barona Creek Golf Club, 25 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, owes its ranking on Golfweek’s America’s Best Modern Courses to the design team that created the course in the late 1990s.
Joe Gibbs used to be called crazy. Now people routinely call him a visionary. So it goes for the entrepreneur who dreamed up The Golf Channel, nursed it through some difficult times and ultimately turned it into one of the cable industry’s biggest cash cows.
The list of candidates for men’s freshman of the year is a short one. College golf is being dominated by upperclassmen. In all, 21 of the top 25 players in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings are juniors or seniors, and only three are freshmen.
Tom Purtzer shot 67 to Morris Hatalsky’s 68. Purtzer followed his opening round with an even-par 71 and was caught by Hatalsky, who shot 66 Saturday. Purtzer finished at 15-under 198 to win $240,000.
With her competitors fading and wilting in the stiff winds and 97-degree heat during the final round of the Safeway International, Annika Sorenstam turned it up a notch with a 2-under-par 70 that made her one of only four players to break par March 21.
John Daly was steadily climbing the leaderboard at the Bay Hill Invitational Sunday, a solid closing round well in his grasp, but his final four holes would be a roller-coaster ride that would make the nearby Orlando theme parks envious. His status on the board sunk along with his golf ball in the famed Devil’s Bathtub fronting the 18th green.
Campbell’s bank account has gotten fatter, but not much else has changed. He still depends on the same high draw and projects the same aloof manner. In years past, just as he did Sunday, other than his almost effortless play, Campbell did little to draw attention to himself.
Chad Campbell, 29, has played in every Podunk minor league imaginable and has excelled at every level, and now this quiet star on the rise is beginning to turn up the volume on the PGA Tour. On March 21, two days after he played alongside tournament host Arnold Palmer at the Bay Hill Invitational, the pair met up again, this time as the King slipped the traditional champion’s blue blazer over Campbell’s broad shoulders on the 18th green.
Huffy Corp. has hired Kirk Peglow to be the new general manager of Tommy Armour Golf. Peglow, former vice president of sales at Wilson Golf, will oversee sales, marketing and product development.
Unlike his whirlwind tour of the United States last year, Australian Nick Flanagan has a much more structured swing of the States in mind this time around. It’s a trek that began this past week at Bay Hill, his first PGA Tour event.
Nike Golf, gaining traction across-the-board in golf’s key product categories, reported its third-quarter sales increased 23 percent, chipping in to parent Nike Inc.’s success in the period.
Arnold Palmer will return to the golf course where he won the U.S. Amateur 50 years ago, joining two dozen other U.S. Amateur champions to raise money for an education program.
LPGA golfer Rosie Jones has publicly acknowledged she is a lesbian and has entered a sponsorship agreement with a travel company that caters to a gay clientele.