Sports Notebook

Bass’ brother visits Jan. 31

By Dave Reardon and Jason Kaneshiro |

The multi-talented Ray Bass, brother of Hawaii junior running back Mike Bass, has firmed up his visits.

Bass will make official trips to Arizona (Jan. 10), Kansas (Jan. 24) and Hawaii (Jan. 31). He has already been to Cal and Colorado State.

"They were both pretty good," Bass said. "But no one school has a lead. I'm going to take my time and decide after all the visits."

Bass can play cornerback or wide receiver and return kicks. He has run a legitimate 4.31 in the 40, having been timed at the Nike Combine last summer.

Bass said he is open to playing on offense or defense in college.

"I know Hawaii has two really good cornerbacks and I don't mind redshirting, but I would like to play as soon as I can," he said. "It would be excellent to play with my brother and I like Hawaii's offense."

UH is also excited about Bass' Centennial High School (Corona, Calif.) teammate, linebacker Brett Martin.

If you ask him: Saint Louis' Delbert Tengan coached five of the state's top 10 prospects. If they want his advice, he'll steer them a block down the street to Manoa.

"Hopefully they'll be over at the University of Hawaii with Coach Jones," Tengan told the Honolulu Quarterback Club. "Jason Rivers has the potential to be an Ashley Lelie-type receiver. Our two defensive linemen, Tolifili Liufau and Wilson Afoa, they're great players I think can help our university. I'm very selfish. I want to keep them home and root for them over here."

UH is also heavily recruiting Crusaders linebacker Timo Paepule and offensive lineman Jeremy Inferrera.

Quarterback Bobby George, the Star-Bulletin's offensive player of the year, hasn't received the same kind of recruiting attention as some of his teammates.

"All the coaches I've talked to say his arm strength is as good as any Division I quarterback in the nation, and if he was about 3 or 4 inches taller there'd be a whole bunch of schools after him. His height is a little bit of a deterrent, as well as his mobility. He's more of a pocket passer," Tengan said of George, who is generously listed at 6 feet.

"With blitzing and defensive linemen running 4.7 and 4.6 (in the 40), the days of the Dan Marino pocket passers are almost extinct. You need a guy like Michael Vick who can elude the pass rush and run away from people. Wherever (George) goes he will make that program a lot better. But he has to have the right fit."

Dead zone: With many college coaches at a convention this week, tomorrow starts a "dead period" for recruiting. That means no in-person recruiting contacts or evaluations or on- or off-campus visits are allowed during this time.

This Friday and Saturday is a "quiet period." During quiet periods, in-person contact is allowed only on campus. Regular contact, including campus and home visits, resumes Sunday. Quiet-period contact is allowed on Feb. 2, followed by a dead period of no contact from Feb. 3 through Feb. 6, a day after letter of intent day.

On the trail: Iolani coach Wendell Look said Raiders defensive back Blake Wong has narrowed his choices to Utah and Nevada. Look said Wong will probably take his trips after the school's final exams for the semester later this month. Look added that Iolani linebacker Kala Ka'aihue is leaning toward playing baseball in college, but is trying to work out an arrangement where he could also play football. ... Campbell running back Mapa Malupo has been offered a scholarship by Utah, according to Sabers coach Tumoana Kenessey. The Star-Bulletin all-stater has also talked to coaches from UH and Menlo. ... Kaimuki running back/linebacker Daniel Tautofi has received inquiries from Hawaii, Oregon, Penn State, Arizona and Nevada, but Bulldogs coach Ronald Oyama said he isn't aware of any solid offers from those schools yet.


[ GOLF ]

Field for Mercedes Championships
has international flavor

If you want to talk with many of the 2003 Mercedes Championships winners this week, better have an interpreter handy.

Some 13 of the 36 players set to play in the $5 million season-opening event come from nine different countries, including defending champion Sergio Garcia of Spain. Among the other foreign notables are Shigeki Maruyama, K.J. Choi, Jose Maria Olazabal, Ian Leggett, Ernie Els and Phil Tataurangi.

Choi was not only the first Korean to ever win on tour in 2002, he was one of only eight golfers last year to take home two victories.

PGA Tour officials are happy to see this foreign flux. In their minds, it proves the Tour is becoming more of a worldwide organization. Players in this week's tournament hail from Spain, South Africa, Fiji, England, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Korea.

Many of these players will take part in the Sony Open, which is the first full-field event on the PGA Tour. Els has said in the past that the West Coast swing is a good way to get off to a fast start in the money race.

First-timers: It's well-documented that there are 18 first-time winners in this event, ranging in age from 23 to 38. What's not as well-known is the number of last year's winners who graduated from the Nationwide Tour.

Four in this year's Mercedes field made their way onto the PGA Tour via Nationwide, including 2002 Sony Open winner Jerry Kelly. He left the Nationwide Tour in 1995. The other three are Chris Smith (1997), Bob Burns (1998) and Spike McRoy (2000). They all picked up their first Tour wins last year.

Geezer mania: The new wave of golfers touring the Plantation Course this week will see some guys with streaks of gray in their hair. There were five players in their 40s who won last year, another who has since turned 40 (Rocco Mediate) and another who will be 40 this season (Vijay Singh).

The fortysomething winners of 2002 are Dan Forsman, Nick Price, Loren Roberts, Gene Sauers and Jeff Sluman. Of that group, Roberts has won six of his eight tournaments since crossing over the 40 barrier. That mark ties him with Greg Norman and Hal Sutton among active players.

Sauers' victory at the Air Canada Championship was his first in more than 13 years (245 events), giving him the third-longest streak between victories in PGA Tour history. Forsman's wasn't quite so long, but he had to wait more than 10 years (246 events) since his last win.

High Beem: Rich Beem might not have been able to catch Tiger Woods at the Grand Slam of Golf last November, but he's hopeful his second trip to Hawaii in less than two months will prove more fruitful.

Last year, the Texan made the fourth-biggest gain in Tour history from one season to the next, earning nearly $3 million.

In back-to-back starts, Beem won the International, took a week off, then came back to capture the PGA Championship to finish seventh on the money list with $2.94 million.

In 2001, Beem finished 109th with $460,565 in earnings.

Byrd man of tour: Jonathan Byrd has flown to the top of the PGA charts in only 17 months of competition.

Since turning pro in September 2000, Byrd has won on the Nationwide Tour (2000 BMW Charity Pro-am at the Cliffs) and the PGA Tour (2001 Buick Challenge).

He will be heading to his first Masters as well after finishing 39th on the money list last year. He edged the other two top rookie-of-the-year candidates --Pat Perez (40th) and Peter Lonard (41st) -- on the money list and is awaiting the announcement of the rookie award, which should come during the season's first event at Kapalua.

Grip this: Chris DiMarco switched to the claw putting grip in 2000 and hasn't stopped winning since. He has finished first in each of his last three seasons and is making his third appearance at Kapalua.

DiMarco has climbed steadily up the money list in each of the last five seasons, going from 111th in 1998 with $260,334 to 11th in 2002 with nearly $2.6 million.

Longest streak: The home Jim Furyk built off the Plantation Course has come in handy for him and his family. He is the only player in the field who has competed in every Mercedes Championships since the tournament moved to Maui in 1999.

Woods and Jesper Parnevik played in every event through 2002, but Parnevik did not win last season and Woods' knee surgery sidelined him for this week's event.

Furyk carries the second-longest win streak overall, having won at least once in each of the last five campaigns.

Woods has had at least one tour win in seven consecutive seasons.

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