Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Friday, August 20, 1999

U.S. Ryder Cup team
already gets its perks

I won't beat a dead horse any further, but the American golfers wanting to be compensated for playing in the Ryder Cup will all be showing up for the exclusive NEC Invitational next week at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.

That tournament - the second of three stages in the World Golf Championships - is limited to only those who made the 1999 Ryder Cup team and last year's President's Cup.

The winner gets $1 million, and even finishing dead last pays at least $34,000 in official money. Those are the perks for making the Ryder Cup team.

That also gives each player in the event an edge in the money race to qualify for the Tour Championship - and more money at the exclusion of others who didn't make the Ryder Cup team. You'd think that would be more than enough money to make them happy.

Notice, too, that none of the Europeans have been complaining about playing in the Ryder Cup for nothing but pride and country. And they're representing different countries, not just one as the Americans are.

SERGIO'S DREAM GIRL: Not that I'm envious of Sergio Garcia, mind you. But at 19, he not only has game, he has dame.

Besides being the youngest golfer in the history of the Ryder Cup, Garcia will partner with another teen-age sensation, Anna Kournikova, in a mixed doubles tennis match against Ernie Els and Steffi Graf in a tennis tournament in Miami next March. All four are sponsored by Adidas.

"This is a dream for me," said Garcia. "Anna is the someone I have always wanted to meet."

GEE, ITO HONORED: The Golf Media Association of Hawaii will honor the memory of the Star-Bulletin's Bill Gee and Monte Ito of the Advertiser in a benefit golf tournament to raise money for college scholarships in their names.

Gee was a golf writer for the Star-Bulletin, and Ito for the Advertiser. Both were inducted in the Aloha Section PGA Hawaii Golf Hall of Fame.

The tournament will be held at the Coral Creek Golf Course Oct. 1. The format is a two-person team with one and two bestball. Entry deadline is Aug. 28.

For more information, telephone Tom Haynes at 239-2301 or Norm Guenther at 625-9860.

The GMAH, founded September of last year, has more than 60 media members, including a dozen from the mainland.

Haynes is the organization's president, while Guenther, editor/publisher of Hawaii Golf News & Travel, is secretary-treasurer.

Lee Prochaska, editor of the Aloha Section PGA's Hawaii Golf Magazine, is vice-president.

EVERYMAN'S GAME: Golf used to be an elitist game when it was exported from Scotland. Not any more. But that doesn't mean that the elite can't still play it.

Hence, a unique tournament was born and the Ko Olina Golf Club will host one of its regional stops next Wednesday.

It's called the Jaguar CEO Tour. Only company CEOs, presidents and chairmen of the board need apply - or can enter.

HOW TO FEEL OLD: It seemed as though it was only yesterday that Tom Shaw won the 1972 Hawaiian Open.

I was reminded of how long ago it was when Shaw recently won his fourth Senior PGA Tour's Super Senior event - a 36-hole tournament within a 54-hole tournament for those 60 and over.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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