TUESDAY  | APRIL 23, 2019
by Dan O’Neill

The Zurich Classic is next up on the PGA Tour, and you no doubt had the calendar marked. Maybe not.

But you have to give the New Orleans-based tournament props for trying, abandoning the conventional stroke-play arrangement and going to a team format. As author/speaker John Maxwell has said, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.” Who doesn’t want to see the Zurich Classic grow, right?



by Gary Van Sickle

Paul Azinger remembers when he and Payne Stewart flew in for the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open. They were on the tarmac at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee when they bumped into Tiger Woods, who had just arrived after winning the U.S. Amateur for a third straight time.

This was going to be Woods’ PGA Tour debut.

“Tiger was turning pro, and Payne was trying to talk him into staying amateur so he wouldn’t pick our pockets clean,” Azinger said, laughing. “I remember Payne telling Tiger, ‘You should definitely stay in college, man.’ No chance. It was ‘Hello, World,’ baby.”


The inevitable No. 1 player in the world
I said last November that, if they calculated Tiger Woods’ position in the Official World Golf Ranking by using his actual number of rounds played rather than the arbitrary minimum of 40, he would have been second even back then (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Nov. 29, 2018).

Do the calculation now and he is a very clear top, at 11.8 against the next two below 10. As I pointed out, those guys competing for first place had better make it quick, because it won't last as he gains points in the 14 events he is short.


Charged: In a reputed scheme to use stolen identities to profit from the sale of Masters tickets, four members of a Texas family, the Associated Press reported. Stephen Michael Freeman of Katy, Texas, was charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and identity theft in a 2013-17 effort to cheat the lottery system that Augusta National Golf Club uses to distribute tickets.



Number of years that the Zurich Classic of New Orleans will have been contested as a team event when play begins Thursday at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La. In 2017, the tournament was the first official team event on the PGA Tour in 36 years, since the Walt Disney World National Team Championship.




Golftec has opened a retail store in Pleasanton, Calif., the company announced. The site, at 4247 Rosewood Dr. No. 16, offers golf lessons and club-fitting services in a 2,100-square-foot center that includes four teaching/practice bays and a putting/warmup bay.


The 1757 Golf Club in Dulles, Va., has hired Cathy Kim onto its teaching staff, the club announced. Kim, a PGA professional, had served as the director of player development at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.


Club Champion has opened a retail store in Virginia Beach, Va., the company announced. The site, at 4625 Virginia Beach Blvd., offers club-fitting and custom club-building in a 3,000-square-foot facility with TrackMan launch monitors and a SAM PuttLab fitting system.


KemperSports will play host to the Largest Cinco de Mayo Golf Fiesta at participating KemperSports-managed courses during the weekend of May 3-5. The event will include numerous contests and promotions, with prizes that include a five-day, four-night stay at one of three Vidanta Resorts in Mexico.


Troon has introduced the Troon Card Summer Test Drive promotion for Arizona and California, the company announced. The cards feature discounted golf rounds at Troon-managed courses in Arizona and California.


Akshay Bhatia will return to Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, S.C., this week to defend his title in the Sage Valley Junior Invitational. The April 25-27 event will feature 54 of the world’s top junior golfers, including Bhatia, 17, of Wake Forest, N.C.


PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., announced a flash sale for the next week. Discounts of 25 percent on rooms and 10 percent on select golf and spa packages will be available for bookings made by April 28 for stays April 28 through Feb. 13.


Winners of three tournaments on major professional tours in the U.S. wore cleated shoes, PrideSports announced. The winners of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage, the Champions Tour’s Mitsubishi Electric Classic and the Web.com Tour’s Robert Trent Jones Trail Championship wore shoes with replaceable cleats.


Arcis Golf has acquired Dominion Golf Group's portfolio of clubs, the Dallas-based company announced. Three clubs in the Austin, Texas, area – Onion Creek Club, River Place Counry Club and Twin Creeks Country Club – plus Lantana Golf Club in Dallas and Dominion Country Club in San Antonio become part of Arcis Golf's group. The additions raise Arcis' portfolio to 65 courses in 14 states, including 18 in Texas.


April 25-27
Junior boys: Sage Valley Junior Invitational

Sage Valley GC, Graniteville, S.C.

April 25-28
Women’s amateur: Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific

The Royal Club, Hokota, Japan

Web.com: Dormie Network Classic

Briggs Ranch GC, San Antonio

European: Trophee Hassan II

Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco

LPGA: Hugel-Air Premia L.A. Open

Wilshire CC, Los Angeles

PGA Tour: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

TPC Louisiana, Avondale, La.

April 26-28
Champions: Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

Top of the Rock and Ozarks National, Ridgedale, Mo.

Symetra: Murphy USA El Drado Shootout

Mystic Creek GC, El Dorado, Ark.

Men’s amateur: Terra Cotta Invitational

Naples (Fla.) National GC

April 27 - May 1
Women’s amateur: U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball

Timuquana CC, Jacksonville, Fla.

May 1
Industry: National Golf Day

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