Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Nostalgia, not skills, drives cart decision
By BOB HARIG
Published March 14, 2006
For years, the Champions Tour has wrestled with what it wants to be: a nostalgia tour, or a truly competitive circuit with the best 50-and-older players vying for the trophy.
Officials like to say it is a mixture, but last week's action by the Champions Tour Division Board to rescind a ban on golf carts suggests that it is more about putting the names of the past in front of the public - even if it means they must ride - than putting the best players in the tournaments.
That's fine, but the tour should forget about selling itself as anything more than an exhibition.
The cart ban had been a highly divisive issue among players for the past two years. It was put into effect in 2005 at the urging of Champions Tour president Rick George , who believed it presented a cleaner look for spectators and for those watching on television. And he's right.
It also suggested that those players who were in the best condition would prosper and that perhaps as players got older, they would be weaned out. No carts suggested the tour wanted to be more about competition than nostalgia, that it didn't necessarily want an aging Chi Chi Rodriguez or Lee Trevino in tournaments just for the sake of having them there. No carts meant that some of the older stars no longer would be able to cut it.
And what's wrong with that?
Who ever said the Champions Tour owed anyone a place to play forever?
The greats of the game have a window of opportunity, and when it passes, other greats get to step in. No carts simply helped speed up the evolutionary nature of sports. Even in senior golf, there is a point when the skills are no longer good enough to compete.
But there was a bunch of grumbling about the cart ban. A vocal minority wanted them back. And they pushed for it and won back the right to begin riding again at the end of this month.
(Carts won't be back at all tournaments. The five major championships along with the season-ending Schwab Cup Championship still prohibit them. So will tournaments in which pro-am rounds count as part of the competition, which includes the area's Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am.)
Having carts available is good for older players who still are exempt due to their position on the career money list. But it's bad for players without a name who are looking for a chance but get bumped by those older players.
And making it even harder on the upstarts is a new rule that will go into effect next year that will essentially eliminate the Champions Tour qualifying tournament as we know it. Instead of those players earning seven full exempt spots on the tour, with six more partial exempt positions, a group of 35-45 players who make it through Q-School will only have the right to qualify on Mondays. More spots will be made available to Monday qualifiers, but they'll have to do it weekly.
That makes it easier for the old guard to hold on to their spots, tougher on the no-names.
Fine. But don't sell it as anything else.
FUTURES TOUR: The second event of the season on the developmental Futures Tour is this week at Summerfield Crossings Golf Club in Riverview. The Greater Tampa Duramed Futures Classic is a 54-hole event that begins Friday and has a purse of $70,000, with $9,000 to the winner. Australian Sarah-Jane Kenyon , who won last year's title at East Lake Woodlands, will defend her title.
AROUND GOLF: Annika Sorenstam successfully defended the first of 10 LPGA Tour titles from 2005 Sunday at the MasterCard Championship in Mexico. It was her 67th career LPGA Tour victory, but too bad golf fans could not see it live. When the Golf Channel went on the air, Sorenstam had already put the finishing touches on the victory. ... Tampa's Ryuji Imada , who shared the first-round lead at the Honda Classic, finished tied for 13th, his best of the season. He earned $106,333 to push his season earnings to $237,119, 72nd on the money list. ... Seminole's Brittany Lincicome had a rough final round in Mexico, shooting 84 to finish last among those who made the cut. Through three events, Lincicome is 45th on the money list with $17,770.