Jones proud of his Poipu Bay design
POIPU, Kauai » Poipu Bay Golf Course designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. was on hand for the skills clinic that preceded yesterday's PGA Grand Slam of Golf's pro-am.
He remains proud of his 7,123-yard creation along the ocean on Kauai's south shore.
"We followed the land and didn't come in with a preconceived idea," he said about the course that opened in April 1991.
"We preserved the heiaus and other environmentally important areas.
"And it's been so successful. The balls are being hit a lot longer now, but it's standing the test of time."
Jones doesn't want to see the course record of 59 by Phil Mickelson in 2004 go any lower.
"I would hope not," he said. "Because I'm on defense. That 59 was amazing, though, and he didn't hit as many fairways as normal that day. He was wild and in the rough, but not wild around the hole. His target that day was the hole, not the green."
Jones also discussed Tiger Woods' high rate of success here.
"He's comfortable with this particular course," Jones said. "He's told me himself that he can visualize his shots. He sees his own targets.
"The greens tend to spill off, so he plays to a target on the green.
"He has an advantage over a player like (Geoff) Ogilvy, who is playing the course for the first time."
and a friend (who didn't want his name published) bantered about tennis as Woods walked on to the fourth green during yesterday's pro-am.
"I'm in," Woods said to the friend, who suggested a rematch after losing 6-3 to Woods recently.
"Tiger's a casual golfer and a serious tennis player," the friend joked as Tiger putted out.
"Actually, he's a very good tennis player. He's got a good serve, a good forehand and a good backhand. And he doesn't like to lose."
Little big guy:
Seven-year-old Andrew Phillips
of Salem, Ore., had quite a thrill as Woods walked from the first green to the second tee.
"Tiger," Phillips shouted, trying to draw the star's attention.
"How ya' doin' big guy?" Woods responded from a few yards away.
"I was happy that he said it and I was excited, too," said Phillips, who is a youth golfer.
"We're probably more excited than he is," Phillips' mom added.
Prez starts right:
Newly-elected PGA of America president Brian Whitcomb
started his term off right by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt on the 209-yard, par-3 third hole while playing in Tiger's pro-am group yesterday.
"Of course, Tiger hit it in there for us," Whitcomb said.
Earlier, prior to the skills clinic, Whitcomb, who was elected to his new post Saturday, said, "What better way to start my presidency than by watching great golfers making great shots in this beautiful place."
Later, on the 573-yard, par-5 sixth hole, Hawaii Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona holed a 10-footer for eagle.
Once again, Woods was the set-up man with a 225-yard second shot to the green.
No new word:
The site of next year's PGA Grand Slam of Golf is still undecided, according to Julius Mason
, the PGA of America's media relations director.
Poipu Bay is in negotiations to bring the event back for a 14th consecutive year in 2007, but Las Vegas and Bermuda, and possibly other locations are also trying to host the tournament.
This year's Grand Slam is the 14th overall on Kauai. Poipu Bay (1994 through 2006) and the Kauai Lagoons Kiele Course (1991) have been the hosts.
Tyler in town:
Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Tyler Yates
and his wife were spectators yesterday.
"I'm enjoying this," said Yates, a Kauai High alumnus. "It's like an extended vacation. Not working, just relaxing."
He gave a synopsis of last summer's experience:
"I started off a little shaky, then settled in and got comfortable.
"Then, I struggled a bit with my command. But overall, I finished well for the year, especially after coming off shoulder surgery.
"The Braves are awesome, I had a great time and it's a great team, and I'm looking forward to going back to that."
Porter-King is in:
Lihue's Mary Bea Porter-King
, a co-founder and president of the Hawaii State Junior Golf Association, was sworn in on Saturday as one of six members of the PGA of America's Board of Directors at the organization's annual meeting in Kiawah Island, S.C.
Porter-King is a former LPGA Tour golfer.