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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Friday, September 15, 2000



Sponsorships are
lifeblood of local events

TITLE sponsorships. That's the name of the game in golf. Without a major sponsor, golf tournaments can't survive.

Just ask the late and lamented Hawaiian Open. If it weren't for Sony, there would be no PGA Tour event at the Waialae Country Club for local golf fans to enjoy.

The need for sponsors is also critical for many of the local tournaments as well.

When Spalding pulled out as sponsor for the Aloha Section PGA Four-Ball Championships at the Oahu Country Club, up stepped Golf Concepts' Jay Hinazumi, to help the funding for this year and years to come.

Now, the Hawaii State Open -- the year's final local major tournament -- has lost Callaway as its title sponsor.

It was a critical loss for the event, which will be held Oct. 22-24 at the Hawaii Prince Course.

Fortunately, Williams Associates -- a Phoenix-based golf amenities company -- will sponsor this year's event.

Tournament director Howard Kihune, who's head of golf operations at the Makena Resort, says negotiations are being worked on for a seven-year deal. He's optimistic it'll be a go.


PGA GRAND SLAM: Tiger's the main man and he'll try to become the first to win three consecutive PGA Grand Slam of Golf titles Nov. 21-22 at Kauai's Poipu Bay Resort Course.

Tiger Woods, who won the U.S. Open the British Open and the PGA Championship, will be joined by Masters champion Vijay Singh and alternates Paul Azinger and Tom Lehman.

Lehman will replace Ernie Els, who couldn't commit because of a scheduling conflict. Els had been the first alternate because of three second-place finishes in the majors this year.

After an experiment with the match-play format the past two years, this year's Grand Slam will return to a 36-hole stroke-play format.

"Stroke play will provide the best format to watch all four players simultaneously," said Will Mann, PGA of America president.

"The PGA Grand Slam of Golf is a showcase for major champions and allows spectators and television viewers the rare opportunity to see an elite foursome play together."

It's a good idea. In match play, the first-day losers were totally disregarded on the second day. Now, all four will be viewed as a collective group. The way it should be.

No matter the format -- stroke or match play -- you know Tiger's going to win.

He has been unstoppable in 2000.

Woods has already been named the PGA Player of the Year. Premature? Not really.

Tiger has already clinched the money title with $8,286.821 despite nine tournaments left in the year, three with purses more than $4 million.

No one has a mathematical chance of overtaking Woods , even if that person wins all of the remaining tournaments.


GOLFING CAMARADERIE: One hundred sixty golfers -- 40 from each of the four schools (St. Louis, Iolani, Kamehameha and Punahou) -- got together for a good-times golf tournament at Kapolei to celebrate their old Interscholastic League of Honolulu days.

It was the first year involving all four schools.

Last year, Iolani's Eddie Hamada and Dermot Ornelles of St. Louis decided to get together to renew old times.

"You guys always beat us in football. We can beat you guys in golf," Hamada told Ornelles.

Well, St. Louis won.

Then Punahou and Kamehameha alumni asked to join in. Hamada hopes it'll be an annual outing, especially since Iolani finally beat St. Louis.

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

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