Golf notebook: USGA scraps Public Links, adds new event
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The U.S. Golf Association is adding its first championship in more than 25 years, getting rid of the U.S. Amateur Public Links in favor of a U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship to meet what it says is a trend at the state and regional level.
The Four-Ball Championship — one tournament for men, one for women — will start in 2015.
Adding these two tournaments means the end of two others, however. That includes the U.S. Amateur Public Links, which dates to 1922 and has a list of winners that includes Trevor Immelman, Tim Clark and Brandt Snedeker. Also being abandoned is the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links, where Michelle Wie made history in 2003 at age 13 as the youngest winner of a USGA championship for adults.
USGA vice president Thomas O'Toole Jr. said the better-ball format for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship should lend to more exciting golf. He also said it was gaining in popularity, with more than 150 tournaments using the format in state and regional competitions last year.
The USGA said there would be no age restriction for teams in the Four-Ball Championship, and that players do not have to belong to the same club, or even come from the same state or country. There will be 36 holes of stroke-play competition — counting the better score of the two players on each hole — before the field is reduced to 32 teams for the fourballs format in match play.
The U.S. Amateur Public Links is the fourth-oldest USGA event, and the winner gets an invitation to the Masters. It was created to provide a championship for amateur golfers from public courses, because at the time, the U.S. Amateur was only for players from USGA member clubs.
The last time the USGA added a championship to its roster was in 1987 with the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championship.
Australian PGA moved
The PGA of Australia will move the venue of its PGA Championship, which was overshadowed last year by the billionaire resort owner's decision to position a giant robotic dinosaur outside the clubhouse and post unusual signage around the course.
PGA of Australia chief executive Brian Thorburn announced Monday that the tournament would be moved away from the Sunshine Coast region where it has been staged since 2000. The venue for the 2013 tournament has not been disclosed.
Thorburn said a “lack of flexibility of dates ... and signage matters” prompted golf's national governing body to seek alternatives to the resort owned by mining magnate Clive Palmer.
The contract with the resort had been in jeopardy since the 26-foot mechanical T-Rex nicknamed “Jeff” — placed between the ninth green and 10th tee — generated international headlines and plenty of jokes. Palmer agreed to turn off the movement sensors on the dinosaur so it didn't flip its tail or open its mouth for a menacing roar during the tournament.
He also put up more than 60 signs around the golf course to promote his business interests. Some of those signs were in the landing areas on the fairways and forced organizers of the championship, which dates to 1905, to mark those areas “ground under repair” during the tournament.
Faulk to host event
Pro football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk has been picked to replace Drew Brees as host of a celebrity golf tournament.
In December, Brees and his foundation sued tournament organizer David Miller and his firm, Integrated Sports Marketing, in San Diego Superior Court, saying he cheated benefactors of the foundation out of thousands of dollars he kept for his company.
Last month, Miller filed a motion seeking to have the suit by the New Orleans Saints quarterback dismissed.
Faulk played at San Diego State before starring in the NFL.
Some proceeds from the tournament will go to the Junior Seau Foundation and the Marshall Faulk Foundation.
The tournament is scheduled for May 16-19 at La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad.
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