Pro golf amateurs
Letters to the Editor
Published February 29, 2004
Sunday, I flipped to the Sports section to see if amateurs Beaven Smith and Dennis Murphy made the cut at the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am; then I read the tournament-related articles.
I was happy to see Beaven made the cut but disappointed to read Gary Shelton's Stars not out this weekend. No, Kevin Costner, Bill Murray and Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady were not among the celebrities, but this was the first year of a tournament that almost had no sponsor.
I felt sick thinking of all the work that must have gone into getting this tournament going: all 900 volunteers who worked three days not to see celebrities but for the real winner, charity!
I must admit I was skeptical about having fun at a Champions Tour golf tournament with amateurs playing, but I went to the first round anyway to watch Wayne Levi. I watched all 18 holes Friday and saw spectacular shots from pros Levi and Allen Doyle but just as many from the amateurs. Smith birdied many holes, including the tough 14th. My skepticism was quickly erased; no complaints about the pro-am format from this Champions Tour fan since its beginning in 1980.
Mr. Shelton, I wish you were around the two shining stars I saw without the aid of a telescope, amateurs Beaven Smith and Dennis Murphy.
-- Patricia Eastman, Clearwater
A waste of time, money
I would like to thank you for writing what many people were thinking (Stars not out this weekend, Sunday). I purchased two weekly badges and took some time off work. The Sunday before the Outback Pro-Am was to start, I received the list of "celebrities." Needless to say, I was not thrilled by any means. I showed up Wednesday and Thursday for this "star-studded event," where I managed to see a glimpse of Hercules on Wednesday. That was the highlight of my week at TPC. My brother who used the other badge went only on Saturday and left before the day was over. More than $100 in weekly badges were used three days, not because we didn't want to go but because there was not much reason to go.
I flipped back and forth a few times to see what was going on Sunday at TPC via the Golf Channel. I noticed something I considered odd even for a golf tournament: The 18th green grandstands were basically empty.
The week before I went to Naples, where they had a celebrity senior event. There were several football Hall of Famers, baseball Hall of Famers and, of course, Jack Nicklaus. They had plenty of people running around even on Wednesday while they charged $15 a ticket. Part of the reason was because they had better celebrities at this nonhyped event and because they didn't charge the patrons $25 for a one-day admission ticket Wednesday and Thursday, as the Outback did. I honestly felt like I was misled by the tournament and spent money wastefully.
-- John Knutson, Hudson
No grand prix is city's loss
Thanks to Tom Begley I won't be flying to St. Petersburg to attend the grand prix in May (City loses out on Grand Prix, Thursday). Think about how much money I won't be putting into your local economy as a result. Thanks, Tom. What did you win with your position? Your community owes you.
-- Dave Wood, Sisters, Ore.
Lightning, stop whining
I could not believe it when I read Jay Feaster's complaints (Feaster vows to keep roster intact, Tuesday) that only 85 percent of the tickets are typically sold at each Lightning game.
Perhaps he would not feel this way if the team took down the banners that hang from the ceiling at the Times Forum reminding him of the NHL attendance records set when the team played at the old Thunderdome (now Tropicana Field). Given how well the Lightning has drawn this year, I believe his remarks show exactly what a greedy mogul the owner is by acting like a crybaby because his team has not been able to squeeze every last dime that it could from this operation this year.
This team would be better off hiring an experienced public relations person to deal with the media who could accent the positive things that have developed over the past few years and help get fans excited for the playoffs. This would also allow the crybabies (Feaster and William Davidson) more time to count their much-needed dimes.
-- Chip Hanna, Tierra Verde
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[Last modified February 29, 2004, 01:15:11]
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