Players Say Thanks to Military

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Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III were among those quick to volunteer their time this week at the Wachovia Championship to shoot public service announcements.
 
The purpose: Saying thanks to sailors and marines.
 
The Naval Media Center was at Quail Hollow on Tuesday rounding up players for the commercials. The PSAs will be broadcast on the American Forces Network and on the Direct-To-Sailor TV Network over the next two years.
 
MONTY'S MARRIAGE
Colin Montgomerie announced last week that he and his wife, Eimear, have separated 'with a view to divorce.'
 
'This has been a desperately difficult decision for us both and is a painful time for the family,' the Montgomeries said in a statement. They have been married 14 years and have three children.
 
Montgomerie has always been tabloid fodder in Britain. Fueling this frenzy is actor Hugh Grant ('Four Weddings and a Funeral'), a frequent golf partner with Montgomerie in pro-celebrity tournaments. Grant was said to have given Mrs. Montgomerie support during the marital strain.
 
Those close to both sides say the friendship is purely platonic.
 
Montgomerie pulled out of an Asian tour event last week to meet with his wife, but said he would keep his schedule. He is playing this week in the British Masters.
 
'As anyone would, I have to carry on with my job,' said Montgomerie, who is 45th in the world ranking and on the bubble to qualify for the U.S. Open and British Open.
 
CHINESE MAKING INROADS
The largest country is starting to make small inroads in professional golf.
 
Zhang Lian-Wei became the first player from China to play in the Masters last month, when he shot 77-72 and missed the cut by one shot.
 
Last weekend, Hong Mei Yang became the first Chinese player to win a tournament in the United States by capturing the IOS Futures Golf Classic in El Paso, Texas, the developmental circuit for the LPGA Tour.
 
Hong Mei, Chun Wang and Li Chun Zhang were chosen to train in America two years ago. All three qualified for the Futures Tour last year, while Yang missed the 54-hole cut at the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.
 
'They will become like Yao Ming in basketball and they will have a very big impact in China for women's golf,' said James Chen, who coaches them at Oak Valley Golf Academy in Beaumont, Calif. 'These three are the pioneers.'
 
The recent success can't hurt golf's bid to become an Olympic sport.
 
USGA executive director David Fay, who represents the World Amateur Golf Council in Olympic negotiations, said it is not too late for golf to be included at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
 
A key date is July 2005, when the IOC meets in Singapore to review the Olympic program. It has been said that golf cannot be added unless other sports are dropped.
 
Fay said adding a new sport to the program usually requires seven years.
 
'But they have a provision where they had can make changes whenever,' he said. 'The key to me is if they get a sense from the Beijing organizers that they want golf. That would go a long way.'
 
INJURED GOLFER
The news of two Iowa State golfers injured in a car accident Sunday hit home to officials at the John Deere Classic.
 
The PGA Tour event gave a sponsor's exemption last year to sophomore Tyler Swanson. He opened with rounds of 71-71 to make the cut, and wound up in 64th place at 3-over 291.
 
Tournament spokesman Barry Cronin said Swanson had written a letter asking for another exemption, and the John Deere Classic was leaning toward giving him one.
 
Swanson and freshman Curtis Foster were on Interstate 80 when the accident occurred. The latest word from Iowa State is that Swanson was in a coma with a head injury. Foster was in fair condition.
 
GET REAL
Reality TV has come to golf.
 
Eight amateurs have been selected to two teams that will start on opposite ends of the country and play 18 of the PGA Tour's most famous holes in 12 states over nine days. Each team travels in a motor home, and they don't know where they're going until the end of each day.
 
Then, they are given their next course assignment and have to race the clock to get there and play the hole. The lowest cumulative team score will get the winning team an all-expenses trip to the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
 
'Reality television has become such a part of our culture and golf is a sport played by 37 million Americans, so it made sense to join the two,' said Stu Nicol, vice president and executive producer of PGA Tour Productions. 'It's a golf road trip we'd all love to take.'
 
The show is called 'PGA Tour 18 - Golf's Ultimate Road Trip.' CBS Sports golf analyst David Feherty is the host, and the three one-hour shows will be broadcast Saturday, May 22 and June 6.
 
DIVOTS
The U.S. Amateur likely won't have defending champion Nick Flanagan and runner-up Casey Wittenberg returning this year. Flanagan said he will turn pro after the British Open, and all signs point toward Wittenberg, who tied for 14th at the Masters, turning pro after the U.S. Open. Several agents have contacted PGA Tour events seeking sponsor exemptions on behalf of Wittenberg. ... The PGA Tour is broadening its marketing machine by setting up an office in New York this summer and hiring the William Morris Agency to get its players more involved in the entertainment business. ... Kenny Perry, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, was inducted last week into the Kentucky Hall of Fame.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Phil Mickelson has 16 consecutive rounds at par or better, his longest streak in one season since the end of the 2002.
 
FINAL WORD
'I played better when I was 17.' - Aree Song, the 54-hole leader at the Chick-Fil-A Charity Championship who closed with a 78 the day after she turned 18.
 
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