Count Jerry Kelly among the players who felt that more of the PGA’s big names should have adjusted their schedules to participate in the Byron Nelson Championship. Only two of the top 10 players were in field for the tournament named for the late legend. “It’s not a business of being sentimental. It’s a business of trying to win as many tournaments as you can,” he said.
Conan O’Brien loves to take celebrities, throw their photos in the hopper and see what Photoshop spits out as the probable likeness of their offspring. So imagine what the redheaded comedian would do with this twosome: Tiger Woods, on his way to being perhaps the greatest golfer of all time, paired up with Michael Jordan, arguably the best basketball player in history. Never happen? Think again. The dynamic duo was together Wednesday for a pro-am, their first round together in a competition. (Think there were any side bets?)
You can always tell the preparations for the U.S. Open are beginning when the courses get tougher. No more of those dart-throwing greens in Arizona, where the absence of trees and water usually result in scores that more resemble a bad high school football team’s rushing yardage (-28). This week at the Quail Hollow Club and next week at The Players Championship bring more of the all-around game into play.
One of the unsung stars of the LPGA Tour should be favored to post her first win of 2007. Cristie Kerr, who had a quick start last year and made this event her third win of the season, is looking for a reversal of fortunes. Kerr didn’t win again after carding a second-round 61 — the best round on tour all year. She has just one top-10 finish in six events this year, so this would be the perfect place to get this year kick-started.
THIS WEEK’S TEE TIMES
EVENT: Wachovia Champ-ionship
WHERE: Charlotte, N.C.
COURSE: Quail Hollow Club, par 72
DEFENDING CHAMP: Jim Furyk
EVENT: SemGroup Champ-ionship
WHERE: Broken Arrow, Okla.
COURSE: Cedar Ridge Country Club, par 71
DEFENDING CHAMP: Christie Kerr
EVENT: FedEx Kinko’s Classic
WHERE: Lakeway, Texas
COURSE: Hills Country Club, par 72
DEFENDING CHAMP: Jay Haas
EVENT: Fort Smith Classic
WHERE: Fort Smith, Ark.
COURSE: Hardscrabble Country Club, par 70
DEFENDING CHAMP: Darron Stiles
EVENT: Italian Open
WHERE: Milan, Italy
COURSE: Castello di Tolcinasco Golf and Country Club, par 72
DEFENDING CHAMP: Francesco Molinari