Full Court Press


Sunday, October 21, 2001

Don’t put off
opportunity to see Tiger

MY wife never forgave me for not taking her to see Dean Martin during our six-year stay in Las Vegas.

Never mind the nights we had with Frank Sinatra at the Riviera, Tom Jones at the old MGM Grand, Kenny Rogers at the Golden Nugget, Cher at Caesars or Willie Nelson at the Hilton.

"Ask your father why we never went to see Dean?" she instructs the children whenever the late crooner is on TV. "No, instead of hearing a big pizza pie we went to see Pisadora. I still get chills every time I hear, "Get Me to the Church on Time."

Missing Martin is perhaps by biggest gaffe as a husband. Whenever he did a weekend in Vegas, it was usually for a special occasion that required spending a lot of money better served at the blackjack table. Big mistake.

Next month, Tiger Woods visits the island chain for the first of two scheduled trips. If there are better settings to see the PGA Tour's version of Elvis than the Poipu Bay Golf Course at the Hyatt Regency on Kauai or the Plantation Course near the Ritz in West Maui, somebody write it down and send it to me.

It's not too late to make reservations for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf 2001 that will be played Nov. 20-21. Woods is the defending champion at that made-for-TV event and is a recent winner at the Mercedes Championships scheduled for the first weekend in January.

Joining him at the Grand Slam tournament are rival David Duval and two other first-time Slam winners -- David Toms, who held off Phil Mickelson at the PGA Championship, and Retief Goosen, who won the U.S. Open in a playoff with Mark Brooks.

It's worth the price of admission to spend a late morning and early afternoon walking with these four Grand Slam winners in such a close setting. Normally, you can't get within 100 feet of Woods at a mainland event because the galleries swell to the horizon.

But that's not a problem in Hawaii. At last year's Mercedes Championships, golf fans could come face-to-face with Woods on nearly every hole. There are rarely more than 3,000 people on the Plantation Course at one time, providing the golf fan clear views of their heroes.

Given the current state of national affairs, you never know what a prolonged conflict will mean to the entertainment industry. Events that thrive when the PGA Tour is flush with cash may be expendable should costs outweigh profits. Corporate sponsorships and TV contracts are crucial to keeping events like the Grand Slam and the Mercedes on the regular tour, and the MasterCard Championship and Senior Skins on the plus-50 circuit.

AS FOR LOCAL FANS, never has the island economy needed you more. If you've put off seeing Woods in person because you figure he'll play at the Sony Open some day, don't. Get out your calendar, plan a Thanksgiving party on Kauai and take your kids to see Woods.

If it's too late to plan a trip on such short notice, go to the Mercedes on Maui to not only watch Woods, but all of last year's PGA Tour winners. Take it from me, don't let these opportunities pass you by. If I'd listened, "That's Amore" might have taken on a whole new meaning.

Paul Arnett has been covering sports
for the Star-Bulletin since 1990.
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