Notes Kid Friendly Players Pursuit Couples Quest

By Associated PressApril 9, 2008, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Its all about the kids at the Masters this year.
 
First Augusta National officials put the Par 3 Contest on TV. The lighthearted event is always a crowd-pleaser, but the cute quotient was off the charts with players kids toddling around in miniature white coveralls. When the tournament begins Thursday, youngsters 8 to 16 will be admitted free.
 
They have to be accompanied by a season-ticket holder, of course, and its one child per ticket holder.
 
We are absolutely thrilled when we imagine how many of these kids will be influenced by this opportunity, Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said Wednesday.
 
The Junior Pass Program is similar to the Royal & Ancients at the British Open, where juveniles have been admitted for free when accompanied by an adult the last few years. The idea behind adopting it for the seasons first major was twofold, Payne said.
 
The Augusta National members are committed to growing the game of golf, and getting kids interested is a big part of that. But because tickets to the Masters are so hard to come by, adults have rarely brought children once the tournament began.
 
The program also will help teach young fans golf etiquette, Payne said.
 
I thought, `What a great combination: Bring kids in to see their heroes and, at the same time, expose them to the great attributes of how our fans act and behave and enjoy the game of golf, Payne said. Thankfully, at Augusta, we dont have to worry about loss of ticket revenue. So it was just a good idea.
 
Payne wouldnt say how many children Augusta National expects'the club doesnt say how many badges it sells for the tournament. He did say the club has gotten very good feedback from ticket holders.
 
Masters officials also introduced Golf Goes Worldwide, asking people around the world to submit their ideas for expanding the game. Ideas can be submitted in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese and Korean until June 1 on www.masters.org.
 
Just hours later, there were ideas from more than a dozen people. Several suggested family discounts. Others said kids should be limited to nine holes or Par 3 courses. The ideas will be shared with golfs governing bodies, and could be used by Masters officials in the future.
 
Our two founders believed that we should not only put on the best tournament, but be a very positive influence in the game, Payne said. All we promise here is to give it our very best. This is a long-term undertaking. We think we are going to be successful, and were going to try real hard.
 
RECORD NUMBER
Gary Player finally has Arnold Palmer beat.
 
When Player tees off Thursday morning, it will be his 51st Masters. That tops by one the record he shared with The King for most Masters played. Player already holds the record for most consecutive British Opens played'46.
 
The word that comes to mind is thankful, the 72-year-old said. Most people my age are dead! To be able to walk around here easily, to be playing Augusta at my age is a great thrill.
 
Though hes only made the cut four times in the last 20 years, that hardly matters. The South African won nine major titles during his illustrious career, including three right here at Augusta National. He is one of only five golfers to win the career Grand Slam, and hes still a big draw, even with people who didnt see him play in his prime.
 
When he, Palmer and Jack Nicklaus played together in the Par 3, they drew some of the biggest cheers of the week so far.
 
Though Player said last year that he might stop at 51, dont count him out. Hes a fitness fanatic, and looks'and acts'years younger than he is. He may not be in contention at the Masters, but hes not embarrassing himself, either. He shot a 77 in the second round last year.
 
You never take it for granted, Player said, referring to playing in the Masters. Its a great thrill.
 
GOLD-MEDAL GOLF?
Golfers get silver, crystal and all kinds of baubles for winning tournaments. Why not gold?
 
Olympic gold, that is.
 
Making golf an Olympic sport could help expand the game, Phil Mickelson said. Sports included in the Olympic program are eligible for developmental funding, he said, and that could be used to create interest and support young players around the world.
 
We seem to be stagnant in growth. We lose as many golfers as we gain each year in the United States, Mickelson said. If we could make this an Olympic sport, I think golf could really grow.
 
The International Olympic Committee will vote next year on whether to add any new sports to the program for the 2016 Games. Golf was most recently considered in 2005, after baseball and softball were dropped from the London Olympics, but IOC voters rejected the idea.
 
Masters chairman Billy Payne, whose previous claim to fame was being the man who brought the 1996 Games to Atlanta, has made no secret of his desire to see golf as an Olympic sport. In fact, golf would have been played at Augusta National during the Atlanta Olympics had the IOC decided to include it in the program.
 
The pride of representing your country, which has always been displayed in golf through different kinds of formats, is very strong, very powerful and wonderful theater and entertainment, Payne said.
 
If golf ever does make the Olympic cut, count Mickelson in.
 
Having golf become an Olympic sport is a very important thing for the game of golf, he said. And I would definitely play if given the opportunity to represent my country.
 
MISTAKEN IDENTITY
Poor Trip Kuehne. He finally gets back to the Masters and no one seems to know who he is.
 
As winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur, Kuehne'and the folks at Augusta National'have known since October that hed be playing in the Masters. But instead of his picture, his younger brother Hanks mug is in the official players guide.
 
And at Wednesdays Par 3 Contest, his name was spelled Keuhne on all the placards.
 
At least nobody called him Kelli.
 
DIVOTS
Fred Couples will try to make his 24th consecutive cut this weekend, breaking the record he currently shares with Gary Player. Couples is the only Masters champion to have never missed the cut at Augusta National. There are 20 players making their Masters debuts. Rory Sabbitini could already be out of the running this weekend. He won the Par 3 Contest and no Par 3 winner has gone on to win the Masters in the same year.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Masters
  • Video: The Masters Tournament
  • Getty Images

    Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


    President at the Presidents Cup


    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


    Cart on the green


    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


    Trump golf properties

    Vandalism

    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

    Finances


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers


    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

    Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.