Notes No More Tuesday Pro-Ams Freddie on Augusta

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PGA Tour (75x100)PGA Tour events run by Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were distinctive because the pro-am rounds were on Tuesdays.
 
That won't be the case next year for the Memorial of Nicklaus or Palmer's Bay Hill Invitational. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem had said it would be best for all pro-ams to be held on the same day, and both tournaments confirmed they will move theirs to Wednesdays.
 
'I'm not objectionable to it,' Palmer said. 'In the beginning, we tried to do some extra stuff to make it attractive to the players, but now the indication is the guys want to come in on Tuesday night and play Wednesday in the pro-am as their practice round.'
 
Memorial tournament director Dan Sullivan said a move to Wednesday was in the works long before the tour got involved. He was concerned about players who had been with their families over the Memorial Day weekend and might have to rush to get to Ohio for a Tuesday pro-am.
 
The PGA Tour has a policy that players must take part in the pro-am if they want to compete in a tournament. Phil Mickelson missed the Memorial last year, saying he wanted to spend three days at Pinehurst to prepare for the U.S. Open and couldn't get back for the pro-am.
 
Sullivan said the Memorial, which honors star players each year, would move that ceremony to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays. The pro-am is for only 18 players and features a shotgun start on 12 holes. That will take place at 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays, allowing others to practice in the morning.
 
The Tour Championship also has a Tuesday pro-am, and Mickelson used that as an excuse not to play this year. That pro-am also will move to Wednesday.
 
'There will be no Tuesday pro-ams next year,' said Andy Pazder, the tour's vice president of competition. 'That helps some players who have an obligation Monday and Tuesday, whether it's an outing or a commitment to sponsors.'
 
MASTERS SCARE
Former Masters champion Fred Couples already has played Augusta National five times in two trips since the course opened after more changes to lengthen six holes.
 
He shot a 64 a few weeks ago but kept that nugget from players who came by his locker two weeks ago at Sherwood Country Club and milked him for information.
 
The first hole is 20 yards longer and now plays 455 yards, making it difficult to get up the hill.
 
'The last day, I hit 3-wood into No. 1,' Couples said, neglecting to tell them it was 8 a.m. and not quite 50 degrees, so the ball wasn't traveling all that far.
 
He was asked what he hit on No. 7, which was lengthened 40 yards. It played as a 2-iron and a wedge when Couples won in 1992. He told them he killed a drive and had a 5-iron left.
 
David Toms walked by.
 
'It's perfect for you, the way you hit your 5-wood,' Couples told him.
 
After they all left wide-eyed, Couples winked and said, 'I've got them all scared now. It's not that bad.'
 
LPGA AWARDS
Heather Daly-Donofrio has received the William and Mousie Powell Award for behavior and deeds that best exemplify the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA Tour.
 
A Yale graduate who returned to coach at her alma mater while keeping a full schedule, Daly-Donofrio has won twice and averaged 22 stars a year. She balanced her time inside the ropes this year with serving as president of the LPGA Tour and co-chair of the search committee for a new commissioner.
 
Amy Read was honored with the Heather Farr Player Award, given to the LPGA player who shows determination, perseverance and spirit in fulfilling her goals. Farr died in 1993 after a 4 1/2 -year battle with cancer.
 
Read has fought through injuries to her ankle, wrist, shoulder and knees, and has had eight knee surgeries since 1995. That was followed by two shoulder surgeries earlier this year, and doctors discovered she had Lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease.
 
Read is on the course nearly every day with hopes of playing Monday qualifiers to get back on tour.
 
OPEN CHANGES
Royal Birkdale is the latest British Open venue to strengthen its links by adding 154 yards, 16 fairway bunkers and redoing the 17th green.
 
The Open returns to Birkdale in 2008 for the first time since Mark O'Meara beat Brian Watts in a playoff.
 
'Royal Birkdale has always been a strong Open venue, and we feel that by introducing these changes, that challenge can be maintained,' Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson said.
 
The most significant change is likely to be No. 6, a par-4 that will play 499 yards. A bunker will be added at the left corner of the dogleg right, 280 yards from the tee. Another bunker will be added left of the green.
 
In 1998, the sixth hole was the toughest at Birkdale, yielding only 16 birdies and playing to an average of 4.62.
 
CHANGE OF LUCK
Tiger Woods has his red shirt for Sunday. Michael Campbell once wore red socks for luck.
 
But not anymore.
 
'That was about 10 years ago,' the U.S. Open champion said with a smile. 'I did for a while, yeah. At the (1995) British Open, I wore red socks. And then I started missing cuts, so I changed back. They're black and gray now.'
 
The last time anyone remembered Campbell and his red socks was in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa, were Woods beat him, 5 and 4.
 
DIVOTS
Tour officials had been leaning toward taking the World Cup to China in 2006, but instead it will be moving to the Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados, site of Tiger Woods' wedding last year. ... Vijay Singh will be playing next month in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, to be held opposite the Bob Hope Classic. Also playing Abu Dhabi are Colin Montgomerie, Sergio Garcia and John Daly. ... The 2007 Senior British Open will be held at Muirfield to coincide with the 50th birthday of Nick Faldo, who won two of his three claret jugs there.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Ever since Augusta National changed its qualifications in 2000, only five Americans have had to rely on top 50 in the world ranking to get into the Masters.
 
FINAL WORD
'Daytime television is pretty depressing.' -- Ernie Els, on the low point of a year in which he spent four months recovering from knee surgery.
 
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