Golf Shares Spotlight - Until Monday

By Mercer BaggsAugust 27, 2003, 4:00 pm
NORTON, Mass. -- Andrew Magee pulled into his hotel parking lot Tuesday and saw something a bit unusual, something a tad uncommon in proximity to a professional golf tournament.
I was checking in last night and theyre all just kind of sitting on the couches, smoking cigarettes on the curb, laying on the curb,' he said. 'Without a black t-shirt and a tattoo, youre not going to fit in.'
Magee was talking in reference to the roadies that had overrun his hotel.
Golf isnt the only show in town this week.
Though the PGA Tour has returned to the Boston/Providence area for a regular event for the first time since 1998 ' Brookline Country Club in Sutton, Mass., hosted the 1999 Ryder Cup ' locals will have several other entertainment options.
In addition to the Deutsche Bank Championship, which will commence Friday and conclude Labor Day Monday, there is a KISS and Aerosmith combo Wednesday night and Jimmy Buffet gigs Thursday and Saturday nights.
The concerts will be played at the Tweeter Center, which is less than a mile from the tournament site, the TPC of Boston.
That means players in this most silent of sports will have to deal with a little noise pollution as bands gear up ' and not to mention the congested traffic when trying to leave the course.
We cant control that, because we dont own that property, said PGA Tour tournament director Mark Russell. So theyre going to be able to do what they want to do. But well live with it; were going to play and see what happens.
Robert Gamez, for one, isnt too concerned with the possible distraction. In fact, Id love to see Buffet play, he said. Its neat to have options, have other stuff to do.
And that stuff isnt limited to the music scene.
The New England Patriots contest their final pre-season game at home, in nearby Foxboro, against the Chicago Bears Wednesday night. And the Boston Red Sox host the American League East-leading New York Yankees in a crucial three-game set starting Friday.
The Sox host the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday night, before playing another night game against New York Friday, and a couple of day games Saturday and Sunday.
Outside of a little game of golf this week, I want to get to a Yankees-Red Sox game, Paul Stankowski said. Ive never been to Fenway (Park).
Of course, with a $5-million purse up for grabs, and a $900,000 winners paycheck on the line, players wont be blinded by the nightlife.
What could be a cause for player concern, however, is routine. Most in the field didnt arrive onsite until Wednesday. And instead of officially keeping score Thursday, theyll be playing in a pro-am or practicing ' at an unfamiliar venue.
It throws you off, Gamez said of beginning and ending an event a day later than normal. Its a weird deal. But were all professionals and can handle it.
Its thrown everyones rhythm off a little bit, added Russell. But I think its good: a Labor Day, holiday finish. Well see what happens.
All involved are anxious to see how the course will play. The TPC of Boston was opened last June, and has been adjusted to meet tournament standards. Four new tee boxes have been built, and the eighth green has been reshaped.
Its new for everyone, including the players, the media and our guys, Russell said. Setting up the golf course, we dont know how the golf course is going to play, we dont know how long its going to play; we dont have any records from here, so were going to have to do the best we can do with that.
Fan support certainly isnt an official concern. Daily tickets, including for practice rounds, have been topped off to 25,000, and have been sold out throughout the week.
Obviously, the bevy of other attractions havent distracted people from wanting to witness the PGA Tour's first event in this region ' not including the Greater Hartford Open in Connecticut ' since the former CVS Charity Classic got the axe in 98 after a 34-year stint.
Yes, there will be Gene Simmons and his face-painted posse. Yes, the Parrotheads will flock. Yes, the NFL enthusiasm is palpable. And yes, the Evil Empire will invade Beantown.
But the area also has golf again. And they have Tiger, and the reigning U.S. and British Open champions. And 156 of the best players in the world. And come Monday, those left to entertain the masses wont have to share the spotlight with anyone else.
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