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News & Tours

Clearview Golf Club: A legacy without a future?

Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio, is a national treasure (literally: it's on the National Register of Historic Places), as was its founder, William Powell, the first African-American to design, own and operate a golf course in the U.S. Powell, died on Thursday at 93. The course is his legacy, though for how long?

Four months ago, a Stark County judge upheld a zoning board decision to allow Buckeye Industrial Mining to mine coal within 370 feet of the Clearview Golf Club. "It is going to cause a problem," Powell's daughter Renee Powell told at the time. "First of all, there is going to be runoff. It is going to cause a lot of damages that won't be able to be repaired on the golf course. It is not just water, (but) acid."

Potentially, it could put the course out of business, Ken Guenther, executive director of the Ohio Golf Course Owners Association said on Wednesday.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

'God wanted people to know the mark that he left on this nation'

William Powell was a golfer of not inconsiderable skills that generally were worthless at the time for no other reason than this: He was an African-American. When Powell returned from honorable service in the European theater in World War II, the PGA's Caucasian-only clause kept him from pursuing a playing career. Undeterred, Powell set about forging a career in golf in another manner. He built a course.

Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio, opened with nine holes in 1948 to became the first course in the U.S. designed, owned and operated by an African-American. The course, now on the National Register of Historic Places, became his legacy. Powell, 93, died on Thursday afternoon in a hospital in Canton from complications from a stroke he suffered on Sunday night.

Only this month, Powell was honored by the PGA of America, which presented him its Distinguished Service Award.

He is survived by his daughter Renee, a PGA of America member and former LPGA player. "My father made a mark," she told the PGA of America. "And I believe that God wanted people to know the mark that he left on this nation."

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

William Powell: 1916-2009

William Powell, who was the first African-American to design, own and operate a golf course in the United States, died Thursday afternoon in a Canton, Ohio, hospital after suffering a stroke. He was 93.

ADD: Powell had suffered a stroke on Sunday night and had been in intensive care since.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

'I looked like a clown'

Golfers stereotypically and often unfairly (John Daly a notable exception) are considered sartorially challenged, which made this quote stand out.

It came from the Dutchman credited with foiling an attempt of a Nigerian man accused of attempting to detonate explosives on a jet bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.

The Dutchman, Jasper Schuringa, had his clothes confiscated by federal agents, who wanted to test them for explosives, this Detroit News story reports. To replace the clothes, they took him to a PGA Tour Shop at Detroit's Metro Airport and bought him a new outfit.

"I looked like a clown," he said.

He wasn't playing to the stereotype, we're happy to report, just commenting on the size of the offending clothes. "The trousers were so big I had to hold them up," he said.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

And to close out the decade ...

Or for you folks who don't believe the decade is actually over, how about to close out the 2000s. Either way, with less than a day remaining, I thought I'd get my thoughts for the best D-I college players of the decade out before the ball drops.

One ground rule: a player has to have played the majority of his/her career in the 2000s for me to make them eligible. That's why Georgia Tech's Bryce Molder isn't on my list ... only played 1 1/2 seasons in the 2000s.

As always, disagree if you like but let me know who you'd pick instead.

Rhys Davies, East Tennessee State, 2003-07
    3x 1st-team AA, 71.23 avg., 10 wins, three-time conference POY
Matt Every, Florida, 2002-06
    3x 1st-team AA, 06 Hogan Award, 72.04 avg., 4 wins
Rickie Fowler, Oklahoma State, 2007-09
    1st-team AA both seasons before turning pro, 08 Hogan Award
Bill Haas, Wake Forest, 2000-04
    3x 1st-team AA, 04 Nicklaus Award, 9 wins, 70.94 avg. (69.0 as senior)
Billy Horschel, Florida, 2005-09
    3x 1st-team AA, 2x SEC POY, 71.73 avg., 5 wins
Dustin Johnson, Coastal Carolina, 2003-07
    2x 1st-team AA (1x 3rd-team), 3x Big South POY, 72.11 avg.
Brock Mackenzie, Washington, 2000-04
    2x 1st-team AA (1x 2nd-team & HM), 71.65 avg., 4 wins
Hunter Mahan, USC/Oklahoma State, 2000-03
    2x 1st-team AA (1x 2nd-team), 03 Nicklaus Award, 2x Big 12 POY
Troy Matteson, Georgia Tech, 1998-2003
    2x 1st-team AA (1x 3rd-team), 02 NCAA medalist, 71.91 avg., 5 wins
Ryan Moore, UNLV, 2001-05
    2x 1st-team AA (1x 2nd-team & HM), 04 NCAA medalist, 05 Nicklaus Award
D.J. Trahan, Clemson, 1999-2003
    2x 1st-team AA (2x HM), 71.4 avg., 5 wins 02 Hogan Award, 02 ACC POY
Camilo Villegas, Florida, 2000-04
    3x 1st-team AA (1x 2nd-team), 2x SEC POY, 71.21 avg., 8 wins

Amanda Blumenherst, Duke, 2005-09
    3x 1st-team AA (1x 2nd-team), 3x Nat'l POY, 71.67 avg., 12 wins   
Maria Hernandez, Purdue, 2005-09
    3x 1st-team AA (1x HM), 09 NCAA medalist, 3x Big Ten POY, 13 wins  
Katherine Hull, Pepperdine, 1999-2003
    2x 1st-team AA (1x 2nd-team), 03 Nat'l POY, 73.52 avg., 7 wins
Liz Janangelo, Duke, 2002-06
    4x 1st-team AA, 03 Nat'l POY, 7 wins
Tiffany Joh, UCLA, 2005-09
    2x 1st-team AA (1x 2nd-team & HM), 07 Pac-10 medalist, 08 Pac-10 POY
Stacy Lewis, Arkansas, 2004-08
    3x 1st-team AA, 07 NCAA medalist, 2x SEC medalist, 10 wins
Charlotte Mayorkas, UCLA, 2001-05
    3x 1st-team AA, 04 Pac-10 POY, 5 wins
Azahara Munoz, Arizona State, 2005-09
    2x 1st-team AA (2x 2nd-team), 08 NCAA medalist, 2x Cummings Award
Virada Nirapathpongporn, Duke, 2000-04
    4x 1st-team AA, 02 NCAA medalist, 02 ACC POY, 5 wins
Stacy Prammanasudh, Tulsa, 1998-2002
     4x 1st-team AA, 3x WAC POY, 10 wins
Lorena Ochoa, Arizona, 2000-02
    2x 1st-team AA, 02 Nat'l POY, 12 wins in 20 college starts
Alison Walshe, Boston College/Tulane/Arizona, 2004-08
    2x 1st-team AA, Conf. medalist in 3 conferences
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News & Tours

Northern Trust: Entertaining without entertainment

Northern Trust intends to entertain its clients at the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles in February, but it will do so while scaling back on the kind of entertainment that drew the ire of Congress last year, the Financial Times is reporting.

The company's parties that included musical entertainment from Sheryl Crow and Earth, Wind & Fire became a lightning rod for criticism from Congress for entertaining so lavishly after t had accepted government money in the Troubled Assets Relief Program.

"We're not having any live entertainment," Rick Waddell, chairman and chief executive of Northern Trust told the Financial Times. "It's going to be more of a traditional hospitality event. We've pared our budget back."

The bank "clearly misjudged the political environment," Waddell said, while noting that politicians "were looking for targets."

Northern Trust has repaid the bailout funds it received.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

'Barack Obama's dangerous obsession with golf'

So says the subhead in this column by Michelle Cottle in the New Republic. Cottle is calling for him to ditch the game.

One might surmise, however incorrectly, that she's calling for him to do so based on the criticism he has absorbed for the rounds of golf he's played in Hawaii in the aftermath of an attempt to blow up an airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.

Instead, Cottle is asking him to give up what she calls "a dying game" for the sake of fulfilling his promise of "change we can believe in." She writes:

"Its venerable White House history notwithstanding, golf is a dubious pastime for any decent, sane person, much less for this particular president. Why would a leader vowing to shake up Washington--to alter the very nature of politics--sell his soul to a leisure activity that screams stodgy, hyperconventional Old Guard?"

One sign of where she was going appeared in a tease to the column. It read: "Barack Obama Has an Idiotic Obsession, and It Is Golf."

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

This day in history

On Dec. 30, 1975, Tiger Woods was born in Cypress, Calif. He turned 34 today.

For the record, Jack Nicklaus turned 34 on Jan. 15, 1974. He did not win a major championship that year, but won two the following year and six total over the rest of his career. Woods at 34 has 14 majors. Nicklaus had 12.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

Questions: 10 for '10

1. When will Tiger Woods return?

Remember, it doesn't really qualify as "an indefinite break" unless he misses the San Diego Open that begins on Jan. 28. He would not have played before then under any circumstance.

2. Can PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem keep sponsor money flowing?

Tournaments without title sponsors (there are two in January alone) were once the norm. But that was when Arnold Palmer was still winning PGA Tour events.

3. Is Ernie Els' reign as an international star over or is it just taking an indefinite break?

Els hasn't won since March of 2008 (the Honda Classic) and has fallen to 17th in the World Ranking.

4. Is the Rory and Ryo Show ready for prime time?

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, 20, and Japan's Ryo Ishikawa, 18, are ninth and 30th in the World Ranking, respectively, and the two most exciting young players in the game.

5. Is Michael Sim as good as advertised?

Geoff Ogilvy called him "the next great Australian player." Sim, 25, played the Nationwide Tour in '09 and earned a battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour. He also has risen to 44th in the World Ranking.

6. Will Lee Westwood parlay his best year into something better?

The winner of the Order of Merit on the European Tour, Westwood has yet to win a major championship.

7. What will Michelle Wie do for an encore?

Wie, 20, enjoyed a breakout year in '09, winning the Lorena Ochoa Invitational and starring in the Solheim Cup.

8. Will Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas remain missing in action?

In '09, Villegas fell from seventh to 23rd in the World Ranking, Kim from 11th to 24th. Neither won a tournament.

9. Will Padraig Harrington's swing changes begin to pay off?

After winning two majors in '08, he didn't win in '09, though after the British Open he had six straight top-10 finishes.

10. Is stardom a formality for America's two most heralded rookies, Rickie Fowler and Amanda Blumenherst?

It seems that way. Fowler tied for seventh and lost in a playoff in his first two PGA Tour starts as a professional. Blumenherst won first stage of LPGA qualifying by six shots, tied for fifth in the CVS Pharmacy LPGA Challenge, then won the final stage of LPGA qualifying by two shots.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

Ryo's American tour

Kyodo News is reporting that Japan's Ryo Ishikawa will play up to six tournaments in the U.S. in the run-up to the Masters, potentially an early-season boon to the PGA Tour, given his rising celebrity and world ranking. Already Japan's best player, Ishikawa, only 18, is ranked 30th in the world.

Last year, Ishikawa played three U.S. events prior to the Masters -- the Northern Trust Open, the Transitions Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

He no doubt will play the two World Golf Championship events (the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the WGC-CA Championship) and presumably would play the Northern Trust Open and the Arnold Palmer Invitational again.

-- John Strege

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