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Wilson Adds Grant Waite to Burgeoning Tour Staff

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WAITE, WAITE; DONT TELL ME: Yes, Wilson Golf has added another player to its tour staff. Grant Waite, a 13-year tour veteran, joins recent addition Jesper Parnevik and Wilson vets Padraig Harrington, Steen Tinning, Bill Kratzert, Ben Crenshaw and Wayne Levi.
 
Waite, who won the Kemper Open in 1993 and had two seconds on the PGA Tour in 2000, will go Wilson almost throughout the bag: Deep Red II Tour irons, Staff True Tour Elite golf ball, Pro Fit golf glove, and Wilson hat and bag. Look for an all-Wilsoned-up Waite at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
 
TELL ME MORE: Wilson has also signed on to be the official golf ball, golf glove and carry bag provider for the NGA/Hooters Tour, the popular mini-tour. We say 'popular' because so many good players used the Hooters as a jumping-off point for their careers, including Tom Lehman, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Franklin Langham and Stewart Cink. Forty-five percent of the players who earned their 2003 PGA Tour cards came up through the Hooters Tour, and fully half of those who got exempt for the 2003 Nationwide Tour did the same, say Hooters managers.
 
INTERNET CLUB FOR CLUB PROS: Buying groups are nothing new in the golf business; customers have been pooling their purchasing power to deal with suppliers more effectively for years. But now theres an exchange exclusively for PGA of America professionals. The PGA Exchange, at www.pgaexchange.com, offers pros a chance to shop, track orders, and deal with suppliers from a unified front. All that logging on will lead to more effective wholesale business for everyone, the PGA hopes.
 
Suppliers already in the program include Cleveland Golf and TaylorMade-adidas Golf.
USGA MONEY FLOWS: Its always interesting to see which golf organizations receive the bounty of the U.S. Golf Association Foundation, which donates money to worthy golf causes three times each year. In the most recent round of grants, the foundation spread more than $1.9 million over 63 organizations.
 
Some of the more notable: The Tennessee Valley Jazz Society of Huntsville, Ala. ($17,000); The LPGA Foundation ($200,000); The Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, New Augusta, Ind. ($3,000) and Children & Family Mental Health Services of Amityville, N.Y. ($11,300).
 
The USGA has given more than $34 million since 1997 under its For the Good of the Game initiative.
 
Much more scientific but no less important are the $3.1 million in grants by the USGAs Green Section. That amount will fund 52 turfgrass research projects between now and 2005, all in the name of making our playing surfaces better for golfers and the environment.
 
Among the projects to be funded are Evaluation of Golf Turf Management Systems with Reduced Pesticide Input at Cornell University, Hybrid Bermudagrass Improvement by Genetic Transformation at North Carolina State University, and Soil Physical Characterization of Aging Golf Greens at the University of Nebraska.
 
Think about that next time the turf feels good under your feet.
 
CLOSING THOUGHT: Can someone please bottle that feeling you get after hitting a good bunker shot?