St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Golf

Optimism high event will go on

By BOB HARIG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 20, 2003

LUTZ -- Among the many topics sure to be discussed by PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem in a mandatory meeting with Champions Tour players Wednesday night was the status of the Verizon Classic.

This is the last year of the communication company's title sponsorship of the 16-year-old tournament, and there has been concern about finding a new title sponsor.

"I've got to believe with the strength of the tournament, the support we have locally, the quality of the golf course, the fields we get, the weather, everything, we will be able to figure out a way to continue," Finchem said in a session with reporters. "The challenge is to get through the rest of what has been a longer-than-assumed recession. Sponsorship is difficult right now."

Finchem said it was possible for the tournament to go on without a title sponsor.

"We're going to look at a lot of different possibilities," he said. "We're having a lot of conversations right now. ... I'm always one who thinks the glass is half full. But I do believe here that there are just too many good things. We'll get it worked out. I couldn't be more positive about it, except if I had a title sponsor I could announce to you. Short of that, I'm very positive."

Finchem also was to meet with representatives of Pro Links Sports, the marketing company that runs the tournament.

"We all feel like we're going to get something done," said Hollis Cavner, a co-owner of Pro Link Sports. "I'll be shocked if we don't have something pretty quick. They are putting on a full-court press to get this done."

LEARNING FROM TV: Doug Tewell, the defending Verizon Classic champion, is among a large group of Champions Tour players who moved to the circuit after doing television work. Others who went from the booth back to the course are Lee Trevino, Jim Colbert, Bob Murphy, Bill Kratzert and Gary Koch.

Tewell, who won here last year by a stroke over Hale Irwin, worked for the Golf Channel for three years. He said the experience was invaluable -- for his own game.

"Those three years changed the way I approach golf tournaments," said Tewell, who has six Champions Tour victories after winning four times in a 20-year PGA Tour career. "I got to see it every week. I was out there feeling it, understanding it. You understand that you don't have to be perfect to win. I always had this thing that you had to be perfect to win. But you don't."

PUTTING MAGIC: After Palm Harbor's Jay Overton shot 63 Saturday in Naples using one of his putters, Bobby Grace was getting a lot of interest in his model on the practice green this week. Called the "Amazing Grace," the triangular-shaped, milled aircraft aluminum putter was getting plenty of looks.

Grace of St. Pete Beach has been a long-time designer of putters. The key to this model, he said, is all the weight is in the back of the putter, which makes for a more forgiving clubhead. The putters retail for $250.

PRO-AM: In Wednesday's pro-am at the TPC of Tampa Bay, Tom Purtzer shot the low score with 7-under-par 64. His team was the lowest with 19-under 52. Purtzer's amateur partners were Brad Boice, Tom Britten, Martin Hainey and Gil Thelen. The Champions Tour is making a weekly $5,000 donation to benefit junior golf. The donation will go to the First Tee of Tampa chapter.

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

Grand Prix
  • Jourdain ready to move to the front
  • Best part of Prix for VIPs: It's free
  • Sitting out and not in a car is hard on driver
  • What do they really drive?

  • Golf
  • Age no factor for Irwin; it's victories he counts
  • Optimism high event will go on
  • Nissan Open challenge for Woods
  • Nissan Open challenge for Woods

  • College basketball
  • Raiders' Sharp gets win No. 500
  • Streaking Memphis powers past Louisville

  • Season on the bubble
  • Salukis watch

  • NFL
  • Meeting focuses on hiring minorities

  • College football
  • USF, UCF decide to delay series

  • Baseball
  • Turmoil in home nation keeps Abreu grounded
  • Flaherty happy to cede flash to team
  • Bechler had a history with heart ailments

  • NHL
  • Senators rebound to beat Devils after blowing a three-goal lead

  • NBA
  • Orlando trades Miller, Humphrey to Memphis

  • Sailing
  • Shifting winds force Race 4 postponement

  • In brief
  • Tyson vs. Etienne gets green light

  • Motorsports
  • Cup teams anxious for next race

  • Preps
  • A Tigers win here won't be so easy
  • Injury keeps champ grounded
  • Hernando squeaks into semis
  • Celebration can wait, Anders' Rams still busy
  • UT's Sargeant gives a boost off the bench
  • Boca Ciega rallies to win
  • St. Pete Catholic receives a lesson

  • Bowling
  • Couch falls to 1st-time winner

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report

  • Rays
  • Rays give their pitchers a hand
  • Roster battle gets under way

  • Bucs
  • Bucs won't take drastic steps to keep Jackson
  • Bears may look at King

  • Lightning
  • Striking while hot
  • Gary Shelton: Owners, it's time to ante up


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts