Sports Watch

Bill Kwon

By Bill Kwon

Friday, March 12, 1999

Carpenter new driving
force for Mercedes

THE Mercedes Championships has a new driver with Kim David Carpenter being named the new tournament director. The question, though, is what's the deal with Mark Rolfing, whose baby is the Mercedes Championships?

After all, if it weren't for Rolfing, the event wouldn't be held at Kapalua.

Not to worry, says Rolfing.

"I'll still be involved. But it's a bittersweet separation," said Rolfing, who resigned as the chairman of the Mercedes advisory board because of a conflict of interest. As someone in charge of marketing for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Rolfing has to ask for funds for all golf tournaments, not just the Mercedes event. So it placed him in an untenable position.

Plus, the Mercedes folks wanted someone to devote 100 percent of his time on the event, which Rolfing couldn't do because of his various interests.

"We still basically have the same team," said tournament chairman Gary Planos.

"We are very pleased to have Kim Carpenter joining our Mercedes Championships team. His extensive marketing and sales background, organizational and management skills and expertise in the golf industry and player relations will enhance the strength of our tournament staff."

NEW HEAD PRO. Congratulations to Jerry Pang-Ching on his promotion as head golf professional at the Kapalua Village Course on Maui.

A Honolulu native and University of Hawaii graduate, Pang-Ching has been with the Kapalua resort since 1985. He will be overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Village Course, which will feature a new clubhouse and golf academy. Kapalua Land Company broke ground on the project in January and the 27,000-square foot clubhouse and teaching facility will be completed next year.

GOLFING LARGESS. Golf tournaments don't only put money in the pockets of golfers, but local charities as well.

Tony Guerrero, president of the Friends of Hawaii Charities, the nonprofit organization that runs the Sony Open in Hawaii, announced that it will be presenting $231,000 in proceeds from the inaugural tournament to local charities.

Also, the Poipu Bay Resort Golf Course presented a $10,000 check to the Kauai Junior Golf Association on behalf of the PGA Grand Slam. At last November's Grand Slam, nearly 50 members volunteered their services each day.

MORE JUNIOR GOLF. Bigger is better. That should be the motto of the new Hawaii State Junior Golf Association headed by Mary Bea Porter-King, which has launched a drive to get more in the business community interested in supporting Hawaii's young golfers.

"The key to our growth and our strength is that the HSJGA has filed for a nonprofit status," she said. The other junior golf associations, including the strong programs from Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island, are now under the aegis of the HSJGA. Here's hoping with statewide unity, there's strength.

The first slate of officers are Porter-King, president; Matt Mitchell, vice-president; Lori Planos, secretary; Renfred Frias, treasurer; and Roberta Cullen, executive secretary.

GUINEA KOP MEMORIAL. Oahu junior golfers have no better fund-raising event than the Guinea Kop Memorial tournament at the Pearl Country Club on March 25.

The benefit tournament honors the late Guinea Kop, who was an instructor to many of the state's top golfers, including his son Wendell Kop and grandson Brandan Kop. While the entries have been filled, the Oahu JGA is still looking for prize donations. Page Amy at 577-9767.

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

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