Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Friday, June 18, 1999


Rolfing, HTA rescue
Senior Skins Game

CHALK up a save for the Hawaii Tourism Authority and Mark Rolfing, the committee's events chairman, in keeping the Senior Skins Game.

A fixture at Mauna Lani the last 10 years, the Senior Skins Game was in danger of leaving Hawaii because the Big Island resort wasn't interested in negotiating for the event again.

Besides providing a $350,000 subsidy, the HTA took over as the local contracting entity to deal with IMG and Ohlmeyer Communications, a division of ESPN, which owns the rights to the Senior Skins.

Rolfing, who's doing commentary for NBC at the U.S. Open, was in New York last week to firm up the deal.

"I am confident we'll keep the Senior Skins Game in Hawaii for some time to come," said Rolfing, also instrumental in Kapalua getting the Mercedes Championships.

Plans call for the Senior Skins Game to be played at Mauna Lani next January and at two other local sites in 2001 and 2002. Maui would be an ideal choice for one of them.

Moving the nationally televised Senior Skins Game to different golf courses around the state is in keeping with the HTA's objectives, Rolfing said.


The extent of traveling local pro Dean Wilson will be doing in the next two weeks is driving from Kaneohe to Mililani for the Sports Shinko Rainbow Open and later flying to the Garden Island for the Kauai Open.

A mere trifle for Wilson. After all, earlier this year, he toted his golf bag from Myanmar to Malaysia to Calcutta to Japan to Seoul and to Shanghai.

That's what life is like on the Asian Tour for Wilson, who's taking a summer break that might include playing in a few Nike Tour events.

"The difficult part is traveling," said Wilson, fifth on the money list after seven events.

Difficult, not only traveling from country to country and getting visas stamped on time, but simply getting to the golf courses. Taxis and buses are the only mode of transportation because there are no courtesy cars or even rent-a-cars.

"There's a lot you learn, more than just playing golf," said Wilson, a 1987 Castle High School graduate and two-time All-WAC golfer at BYU.

The Asian Tour proved to be a good learning experience for Tom Lehman, Payne Stewart and Jeff Maggert, now established PGA Tour players.

Wilson, who plans to try again for his playing card at the Q-School in October, hopes it'll pay off for him as well.

He did earn his Nike Tour card and could have played in Nike events. But Wilson decided to defend his titles in the Rainbow Open, which began today, and the Kauai Open.

"Having won, I should play," Wilson said.


The Koolau Golf Club is offering a new savings program for golfers called the Mega Memberships.

For $99 a year, golfers will only pay $30 for green fees from Monday through Thursday and $10 off green fees Friday through Sunday and all holidays. Other amenities include discounts on pro shop merchandise and a $60 range coupon. Information: 236-4653.


Brenda Rego, who joined the Wailea Golf Club as an assistant golf professional at the Gold and Emerald courses. Rego's brothers Art Jr., Darrell and Clyde are also golf pros ... Also, Cathy Torciana, Wailea's LPGA teaching pro, who was recently inducted into the National Collegiate Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Torciana coached at Cal State Fullerton and USC before moving to Maui.

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

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