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News & Tours

Kraft Nabisco: 3 DQ'd for missing pro-am times

RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIF. --- Not only is the Kraft Nabisco Championship a major with a pro-am -- as are all the LPGA majors except the U.S. Women's Open -- it is a major with two pro-ams. As if that doesn't annoy players enough, the normal buzz on the range at Mission Hills escalated to a barely contained roar Wednesday morning when three players were disqualified for pro-am violations. Past KNC champion Helen Alfredsson, Maria Hjorth and Shanshan Feng were sent packing for missing their pro-am tee times.

Alfredsson and Hjorth were both alternates and were not on the tee on time to serve as fill-ins for players who withdrew. Feng was scheduled to be in the pro-am and joined her group after it teed off but was told she was outside the five-minute grace period window. Alfredsson was on site and eating breakfast when she found out she was needed, hurried to join her group on the second hole but was told she was also too late.

All three appealed their case.

-- Ron Sirak

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News & Tours

Golf World/NGCA women's coaches polls (4/5 edition)

Here is the third spring edition of the Golf World/NGCA women's coaches' poll, which appear in the April 5 issue of the magazine.

Arizona State and Methodist remain the top-ranked squad in Division I and III, respectively, while Rollins takes over the No. 1 spot in D-II.


GW-NGCA women's polls (4-5) for web.jpg

GW-NGCA women's poll (4-5) for web D-III.jpgPolls conducted by the National Golf Coaches Association. Voting closed March 25, so results this past weekend's tournaments weren't included for consideration.

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News & Tours

Judge dismisses Giuliani suit against Duke

A federal judge Tuesday officially dismissed former Duke golfer Andrew Giuliani's lawsuit against the school and former Blue Devil coach O.D. Vincent.

Judge William Osteen Jr. ruled that offers to lure Giuliani to the Durham, N.C., school to play college golf did not constitute an "enforceable contract."

Giuliani had filed a suit in July 2008 in which he argued that Vincent, who took over the program after the death of longtime coach Rod Myers in 2007, did not provide notice before indefinitely suspending the then junior from the team early in 2008 and that Vincent manufactured accusations against Giuliani to justify kicking him off the team permanently.

Giuliani claimed that Vincent didn't have the authority to unilaterally suspend him and that Vincent offered no chance for Giuliani to defend himself. He also argued that Myers promised him an opportunity to compete and a right to use Duke’s athletic facilities, something Giuliani felt would be of help in pursuing a career as a professional golfer and something he was attempting to regain in the trial, along with monetary damages.

While the case was in litigation, Vincent separately stepped down from the coaching post to take a job in the athletic department at his alma mater, the University of Washington.

"We are gratified the court agreed that our coaches have the authority to dismiss a student-athlete from an intercollegiate sports team in circumstances such as those present in this case," said Michael Schoenfeld, Duke's VP for public affairs and government relations.


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News & Tours

Will Elin be there? You can bet on it (maybe)

British bookmakers are known for taking bets on just about everything, but they seem to be outdoing themselves on the issue of Tiger Woods and the Masters.

William Hill and Ladbrokes both offer the standard bet, Woods to win, the latest odds of which are 4/1. William Hill is offering 26 different propositions involving Woods and is considering 10 more, including whether wife Elin will be there.

Among the propositions already available: Whether he'll hit his opening tee shot in the fairway (4/9); whether his opening tee shot will hit a tree (5/1).

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

Seo strongly considers LPGA membership

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Hee Kyung Seo, the KLPGA member who won last week's Kia Classic in a runaway, says she's not sure she wants to join the LPGA, which she can now do based on her victory at La Costa. But the word is that she is considering making the jump a lot more seriously now, especially after learning that one of the major concerns she has -- qualifying for the KLPGA Hall of Fame -- is not as much of a problem as she originally feared.

To get into the KLPHA Hall of Fame, Seo needs to win 20 times on that tour. With 11 victories already at the age of 24 she is more than halfway there. And since as an international member of the LPGA she need only play 10 events a year to fulfill her tour obligations, it seems as if she can juggle both schedules rather easily.

Seo, who is in the field this week at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, need only look at the LPGA schedule to see how easily she can juggle the two tours. The next LPGA event isn't until April 29 in Mexico and between the Kraft Nabisco and June 10 there are only three LPGA tournaments. Seems like plenty of opportunities to work in some KLPGA stops.

One thing is certain: Extremely helpful LPGA types are explaining the situation to Seo. Don't be surprised if an announcement by her that she wants to accept LPGA membership is made sometime n the not too distant future.

-- Ron Sirak

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News & Tours

Guilford Hall of Fame coach Jack Jensen dies at 71

Received word today that Jack Jensen, coach of the Guliford men's golf team for the last 33 years and a member of the Golf Coaches' Association of America Hall of Fame, died on Sunday after the Quaker golf team returned from a weekend tournament. The school did not release a cause of death for the 71-year-old who twice coached Guilford to NCAA D-III titles (2002 and 2005) as well as an NAIA crown (1989).

JensenTrophies_000.gif"Jack was a beloved mentor for hundreds of students for many years," said Guilford president Kent Chabotar in a statement. "He touched so many lives in a positive way as a teacher, coach and friend, and he is held in high esteem by generations of Guilford alumni."

A family visitation will be held tomorrow from 6-9 p.m. in Alumni Gym on Guilford's Greensboro, N.C., campus. A memorial service will be held Thursday at 2 p.m. in Ragan-Brown Field House on campus.

Besides overseeing the golf teamf, Jensen was also an accomplished basketball coach, coaching the Quakers for 29 years until 1999. Among his players was future NBA star M.L. Carr, who was on the Guilford team in 1973 that won the NAIA hoops title. (Jensen thus coached four of the five team that have won national championships in any sport at Guilford.)

The college demonstrated its feelings for Jensen in February 2002, when it renamed its basketball court for him during ceremonies that also saw the retirement of the jerseys of Carr and two other Jensen protégés who played in the NBA—World B. Free, another member of the 1973 championship team who played in the 1980 NBA All-Star Game, and Bob Kaufman, who played professionally before serving as coach and general manager at Detroit.

Guilford's Peter Latimer shot one-under-par 71 and a nine-under 207 to win his school-record fifth medalist title on Sunday at the Marine Federal Credit Union Intercollegiate at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Latimer helped Guilford to sixth place among 32 teams with a three-day 874.

Among the golfers Jensen coached were Lee Porter, who spent six years on the PGA Tour. Jensen was inducted into the GCAA Hall of Fame in 2008.

“As great a coach as Jack was, he was an even greater person," said Tom Palombo, director of athletics and current men's basketball coach at the school. “It is an honor to have been at Guilford with him and to talk with him every day. He knew a lot about basketball and a lot about people. Being able to share ideas about teaching and coaching was very special. He will be greatly missed.”

Jensen, a member of Wake Forest’s 1960-61 Atlantic Coast Conference championship basketball team, joined the Guilford athletics staff in 1965 as assistant men’s basketball and head track and field coach.

His basketball teams compiled a 386-392 record, including six 20-win seasons during the 1970s, while his golf program qualified 26 times for national tournaments.

Photo courtesy of Guilford College
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News & Tours

Els sticking with caddie platoon despite wins

ORLANDO -- Fresh off his second victory in as many starts, Ernie Els planned to fly to Augusta National GC today for a quick refresher and to introduce his caddie to the storied layout before heading to Texas for the Shell Houston Open.
 
Sure, countryman Ricci Roberts has been to the Masters with Els nearly 20 times, but Roberts, who has caddied for Els in his consecutive victories at the CA Championship and Arnold Palmer, won't be on the bag when Els seeks to attain the one golfing prize he covets more than any other: a green jacket.

els_roberts.jpg
 
No, former NHL player Dan Quinn, who caddied for Els earlier this year, is getting the call for the year's first major, even though Roberts and Els are clearly on a hot streak.
 
"Yeah, I'd like to take Dan up there tomorrow and just show him around a little bit," Els said Monday after his nervy two-stroke victory over Kevin Na and Edoardo Molinari at rain-drenched Bay Hill Club. "I've been there so many times. I know a lot of guys said I should take Ricci, but we have made a decision. I've spoken to Ricci and Dan about it, and they are happy, and we'll stick with it."
 
The rejuvenated Els, who turned 40 in October, has decided to retain his two-caddie system despite his recent success with Roberts. Els made three par-saving putts of 6 feet or longer in the four holes he completed Monday to win his 18th PGA Tour title and move up to No. 7 in the world rankings.
 
Roberts was a key to Els managing to hang on after he let a five-shot lead through 12 holes Sunday slip away with a double-bogey and bogey on his last two holes before nearly three inches of rain began to douse the Championship Course at Bay Hill Club.
 
"I just told him this morning to take a couple of deep breaths and stay focused, because remember that you're leading," Roberts said before taking a drag on a cigarette outside the scoring trailer after Els posted a 1-under 71 and 277 total. "He just nodded. He had to remember that he was still two shots in front, with just four holes to go. I told him, 'They have to come and get you. So just make them.' He should have buried them by seven shots, but we still got it done."
 
Roberts and Quinn split all the earnings between them, but Roberts is up 2-0 in victories and the golfing cognescenti rightfully wonders whether it's wise for Els to switch now.
 
"You know, I don't think anybody can tell me anything more about Augusta than I already know," the Big Easy argued. "I've had local caddies take me through there. I've had everybody take me through there. So I know exactly where everything goes."
 
Roberts isn't inclined to disagree with his boss and friend.
 
"We are rolling; that's one way to look at it," Roberts allowed. "The other way to look at it is that I've been with him [at Augusta] almost every time that he's been there except the odd year or two when we split. Maybe something new might change it. With this other guy, maybe Ernie has to do a little more thinking, and that actually might help him. I don't know. Only time will tell.
 
"But the decision is made, so what is there left to talk about?"
 
Roberts said he will be back on the bag two weeks after the Masters when Els travels to an event in Korea, and he expects to work with him through the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach GL.
 
In the meantime, he'll watch Els from home and collect half of whatever Quinn earns in his two-week stint. Regardless of who is handing Els the clubs, Roberts knows one thing for certain. Els is a changed golfer these days, but not a new man, per se.
 
"This is how I remember his game back in 2003," Roberts said. "This is how he played, how he putted. If he'd have played like this last year, we'd have won four or five times. It's fun to see. I think this is as good as he's ever been."
 
--Dave Shedloski

(Photo by Getty Images)
 


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Courses & Travel

Matty G's Mail Bag

--Ocean Course Wins, 8&7

From Gary Slatter of Canouan, AL: Matty G, I'm sorry your game can't handle the Ocean Course. It is truly one of the greatest courses in the USA!

Gary, No one is more sorry my game can't handle the Ocean Course than I am. Although, if my game could handle that course, in those conditions, I'd be on tour. Thank you for the note.


--Eeni Meeni...

From Adam Scott of Fort Frances, ON: Matt, My wife and I are taking a trip down to Central Georgia, North Florida and Southern South Carolina in the next six weeks. Due to other committments on the trip, I will only get to play one course. I've been trying to knock off as many top 100 courses in the USA, and wonder which one you would recommend: Harbour Town, Ocean Course at Kiawah or  the Stadium Course at Sawgrass?  I'm leaning towards Sawgrass just so I can say I played the island green. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Adam Scott. (No, not that Adam Scott.)

Adam, Simply because your name is Adam Scott, and I think the '04 Players was the last time we heard from the young Aussie with such promise, I'd say you should follow your gut-go to Sawgrass. Besides, you'll need both your gut and some glory for all three of those finishing holes. Have fun and let me know how it goes.


--My Hero

From Joseph Urban of Philadelphia: Matt, I am currently in the US Army and will be returning from my deployment in Iraq in July or August. I am looking for a nice vacation destination to take me and my wife for our long needed reunion. All I want to do when I return is play golf; but there's one problem--SHE DOESN'T PLAY! I really need your help finding a place to go that I might skip off for a few hours a day to play, and she wont be stuck watching morning infomercials on TV. Remember the economy isn't too good right now so be gentle. I'm also willing to travel just about anywhere. Much Thanks. Joe

Joe, First of all, thank you for your service to our country (not to mention some perspective). While I scout golf courses and resorts from state to state, flirting with beverage cart girls and missing three-foot birdie putts, you risk your life to defend our freedom. I offer you my prayers for a safe trip home, my sincere appreciation for what you do, a firm digital handshake, and some suggestions of places that might work with you and your domestic dilemma.

Pinehurst isn't exactly cheap, but it's a special place and it's a resort that has specific military discounts. You'd enjoy a standard 10 percent discount off any discounted rates, 20 percent off year-round standard packages, and 30 percent off of spa treatments, Sunday-Thursday, year round.

Might I suggest the "Pinehurst Romance Package"? The standard rate is $399 per couple and it includes a night of lodging, breakfast, champagne and either flowers or chocolate covered strawberries in your room. With the military discount, you'd pay $359. (I'd be happy to help cover some of your golf.)

Another good option is "Fairway Furloughs" at Doral Golf Resort in Miami. Active, reserve component, and retired service members get green fees, including carts, for $69 after 3 p.m., seven days a week. (Regular price is $95 to $175.)

If you stay overnight, service members get the government per diem rate (currently $152, but changes seasonally), which includes breakfast, complimentary Internet, and discounts at restaurants, retail outlets, and the spa — plus a 20-percent discount on green fees at the resort’s five championship courses.

A few more suggestions: Ross Bridge on the RTJ Trail has a great spa for your wife and plenty of good golf to keep you busy. Barton Creek in Austin might be hot in August, but I like that place. I also loved Madden's on Gull Lake in Minnesota, Hotel Hershey in Pennsylvania or Sun River in Oregon. San Diego is very military friendly. It's also my favorite city, other than New York, and there are several options for you out there. The Lodge at Torrey Pines might be a good fit for your needs. My guess is they all have some form of discounts for military; and if they don't, they should.

If you're ever in New York, please let me know. I'd be honored to treat you to a round and a beer at Bethpage Black.

--Matty G.

Do you have a question you'd like answered on this blog or in the magazine? Send it to: www.golfdigest.com/contact/mattyg
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News & Tours

Golf World players of the week: March 22-28

MEN
John Catlin.jpegJohn Catlin, New Mexico
Two down with two to play in the deciding match against USC’s Martin Trainer at the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship, the freshman won the last two holes at Ritz Carlton GC outside Tucson, then beat Trainer on the 19th hole to give New Mexico a 3-2 team win.

Catlin drained a snaking 35-foot putt along a ridge on the 18th green to square the match and force sudden death. On the first playoff hole, Trainer hit his tee shot off the fairway and in the desert and had to punch out while Catlin hit his approach shot 30 feet from the hole.

After Catlin rolled his birdie putt 8 inches past the hole, Trainer conceded the putt, ending the match and giving the Lobos the title. "Coming down the stretch I was committed to hit quality golf shots and I did it," Catlin said. "It feels great, especially knowing how much it all meant for the team."

WOMEN
Lindy Duncan.jpgLindy Duncan, Duke
The freshman from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was the only player to break par at the Liz Murphey Collegiate, shooting a three-under 213 at University of Georgia GC in Athens, Ga., to earn the individual title by eight strokes. It was her first college victory. She also propelled the Blue Devils (25-over 889) to a 21-stroke team victory over Alabama.

"I had a plan going into each day, and it was really windy the first two days," said Duncan, who shot a 70-72-71. "I wanted to hit a lot of greens, the greens there are very undulating, but I just had confidence in my putting to know that I could 2-putt, and I putted really well."

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News & Tours

He knows greatness...up close

ORLANDO -- Reporters are paid to ask questions. Ask enough and bad questions are inevitable -- but still serve a purpose.

Then there was this exchange from Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

A reporter from the United Kingdom asked a PGA Tour rookie paired with Scotland's Colin Montgomerie in the third round if he, "felt he were in the presence of greatness."

The rookie was Sam Saunders, grandson of Arnold Palmer and two-time club champion at Bay Hill Club where he grew up under the tutelage of the legendary player. Saunders just smiled politely and then offered a polite answer. "He's done a lot of great things, and he's a great player, and he's meant a lot to the game."

(LONG PAUSE)

An American writer followed up. "Would it be safe to say you're used to being in the presence of greatness?"

"Uh, yes," Saunders, holding back a laugh, said with a tone that suggested, "No, duh."

--Dave Shedloski

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