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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Friday, September 3, 1999



GOLF WATCH

Grand Slam should
make a change for Tiger

LET'S hope the PGA of America can square things away and make sure that Tiger Woods competes in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf at the Poipu Bay Resort in November.

Woods will join Mark O'Meara as the U.S. representatives in the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Nov. 18-21. The dates conflict with the PGA Grand Slam, Nov. 16-17.

Since the World Cup's in Asia, you can bet Tiger wouldn't miss it for the world and his mom, Kutilda.

So it behooves the PGA of America to do some fast shuffling. Certainly, TBS would hate to see the PGA Grand Slam being held without the world's No. 1 golfer.

Look for the $1 million Grand Slam event featuring golf's four major winners to be held after the World Cup.

The worst-case scenario would have Davis Love III, the first alternate based on points, joining Masters' champion Jose Maria Olazabal, U.S. Open champion Payne Stewart and British Open winner Paul Lawrie on Kauai.

No offense, Davis, but let's hope it doesn't come down to that. The PGA of America-sponsored event needs its PGA Champion, and especially if it's Tiger.

CHARITY BEGINS AT A GOLF COURSE

Reader Howard Lee, who helped to chair Maryknoll School's eighth annual "Fore" golf tournament, was stunned to learn how many such events are held each year in Hawaii.

He originally estimated about 50 a year. He thought it was grossly under estimated, and Lee is right.

"I would say there are at least 100 golf benefits a year," said Mel Nagata, director of golf at the Waikele Golf Club.

Waikele alone had 19 such benefits, according to Nagata.

Pearl Country Club led all golf courses with 31 fund-raising tournaments this year, and has already booked 29 in 2000.

Is this a great way to raise money or what?

It is. But Lee worries that maybe it's too much of a good thing.

"Perhaps, there is a need to have a focal point for these events to add a semblance of coordination so that the poor vendors, contributing players, sponsors and golf courses are not 'hit' all at the same time," he said.

As many golfers as there are locally, the plethora of benefit tournaments surely must be taxing the pool of players.

Companies who donate prizes are also feeling it.

"I get about three or four requests a week. I can't do everybody," said Greg Gomes, president of Webco, a manufacturing sales and distribution company, which donates to around 25 golf benefits a year.

Gomes runs a highly successful golf benefit annually for the St. Louis Education Foundation. The latest at Hawaii Prince raised $100,000.

SAYONARA, YASHIMA-SAN

Hawaii golf will lose one of its staunchest supporters in Masayoshi Yashima, who leaves this month after 14 years as general manager of the Pearl Country Club.

Yashima has been assigned to the Honda Kaihatsu Kogyo head office in Tokyo.

"I made many friends and became accustomed to the local lifestyle. I will miss the islands and its people," Yashima said.

He was instrumental in making Pearl Country Club available for local club play on weekends in contrast to many other local courses, which catered to Japanese visitors, especially when they were paying premium prices for green fees.

Akira Kawaguchi has replaced Yashima as Pearl's new general manager.



Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.
bkwon@starbulletin.com



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