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The Week in Golf News 1127-1201

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IMG plans another Aussie Stop
 
International Management Group has announced a new tournament to be staged in Perth, Australia, which will begin playing in 2002.
 
The as-yet-unnamed tournament will be held at the Lake Karrinyup course for five years, with an option for five more. It will replace the Heineken Classic, which is moving to Melbourne and takes place in November.
 
Star Field Set for Senior Skins
 
Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Hale Irwin will compete in the 2001 Senior Skins Game Jan. 27-28.
 
The two-day made-for-television event will be played at the Wailae Resort in Hawaii after being held at Mauna Lani Resort from 1990 to 1999.
 
Sergio Commits to Australia
 
Sergio Garcia, the young Spaniard who plays both in Europe and the United States, has committed to play in the Australian Masters in February.
 
The world's 14th-ranked player is the first major draw secured by tournament organizer IMG, although Ernie Els, Nick Price, Jesper Parnevik and Phil Mickelson are reportedly pencilled in.
 
Monty and Torrance Support European Tour
 
Colin Montgomerie and Sam Torrance have voiced their support of the European Tour in the controversy of player demands to open the books.
 
'No, I don't support it at all,' said Montgomerie when asked whether he approved or not. 'I feel that it's my responsibility to support the Tour. I know what's going on with the accounts and it's all very kosher. If I'm involved with making the rules on the Tour, I can't go behind its back and demand something else.'
 
Montgomerie is a member of the tournament committee which dictates the Tour's rules and golfers' code of conduct.
 
Torrance said, 'I trust the European Tour implicitly. I've been on the Tour for 30 years and I've seen it grow incredibly. I don't agree with the reasons for the complaint whatsoever.'
 
LPGA Adds New Event in Korea
 
The Ladies Professional Golf Association has announced the addition of the Sports Today Open which will be held in Seoul, Korea, Oct. 19-21.
 
The event, which will be played the first time in 2001, is the first LPGA-sanctioned event in Korea since the Samsung World Championship moved to the U.S. in 1998.
 
The inaugural event will carry a $1.5 million purse. The field will comprise the top 60 players from the official LPGA money list, and the remainder will be top-ranking players from the Korean LPGA.
 
Australasian Tour Elects Officers
 
Wayne Grady, Wayne Smith and Mike Harwood were elected to the board at the Australasian Tour's annual meeting while Jack Newton chose not to seek re-election as chairman.
 
Newton was awarded life membership of the tour. Peter Senior also chose not to seek re-election.
 
NTSB Uncertain What Caused Stewart Crash
 
The National Transportation Safety Board concludes that they have several theories about what caused the crash of Payne Stewart's jet, but the total destruction of the plane and the fact that the voice recorder lasts only 30 minutes makes finding a resolution impossible.
 
All aboard the ill-fated jet perished. Military jets reported seeing the windows fogged up while the plane was still in flight, which could suggest the loss of cabin pressure, as well as the loss of enough oxygen to cause unconsciousness. Though emergency oxygen was available, in older planes it had to be activated manually by the crew.
 
Oxygen deprivation causes many pilots to behave irrationally, meaning that in the minute or two they need to adjust controls, many do make wrong decisions.
 
An emergency oxygen tank was found empty, but officials could not determine if the tank was empty before the flight began. Pressure problems were reported with the Learjet prior to the flight, but it was impossible to tell if maintenance done on these systems was done correctly.
 
The plane did have a so-called 'black box' to record the plane's instruments at the time of the accident, and the 30-minute voice recorder recycled itself during the four-hour flight.
 
Fulke is Honored
 
Pierre Fulke has been named the European Tour's Asprey and Garrard Golfer of the Month for November.
 
Fulke held of Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Michael Campbell to capture November's Volvo Masters.
 
Norman Criticizes Appleby for Withdrawal
 
Australian Stuart Appleby has withdrawn from the Australian PGA Championship to play in the $2 million Sun City tournament in South Africa, and that concerns Aussie Greg Norman.
 
Appleby waited until Sunday night to notify surprised tournament officials. That is wrong, said Norman.
 
'If you decide a month ago to play South Africa and not the (Australian) PGA, that is your decision. But if you decide to play the PGA and then change, that is a different story,' said Norman.
 
Norman said Appleby put the organizers in 'a bit of a bind.'
 
Els Free of Back Pain
 
Ernie Els says the back problem he suffered three weeks ago is now healed and he is confident as he prepares to defend his title at Sun City.
 
He hurt his back in the first round of the American Express Championship in Spain. 'I feel like I'm back to normal again. I played golf for the first time on Sunday and there wasn't even the slightest bit of pain.'
 
Woods, Finchem Meet in L.A.
 
Tiger Woods and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem met for first time since Woods' GolfWorld magazine outburst and both believe it was very beneficial.
 
Woods and Finchem discussed player marketing rights, commercial use of player images and the Internet. Woods' Williams World Challenge will be held nearby this weekend.
 
'It was important for us to meet face-to-face to gain a clearer understanding of each other's business objectives,' said Woods in a statement released by the PGA Tour.
 
Finchem said, 'I'm delighted we're discussing the specifics of his business strategy, because a significant mission of the Tour is to provide our members with a strong marketing platform.'
 
Both agreed the dialogue would continue.
 
Westwood Earns Euro Player of the Year Honors
 
Lee Westwood was named the European Tour's Asprey and Garrand Golfer of the Year for the second time in the last three years.
 
The 27-year-old Englishman won six times in 2000 and ended Colin Montgomerie's seven-year run at the top of the Order of Merit.
 
'It's a fantastic honor to be voted Player of the Year and caps a wonderful season for me and all those who have helped make it such a success,' said Westwood.
 
Westwood won the award unanimously over Ernie Els and Darren Clarke. The world's No. 5 ranked player is in South Africa this week for the Nedbank Sun City Challenge, which offers $2 million to the winner.
 
PGA Tour Announces 2000 Awards
 
For the third time in the past four seasons, Tiger Woods has been named the PGA Tour Player of the Year. Woods, who also earned this distinction in 1997 and 1999, won nine Tour events in 2000 and amassed over $9 million in official earnings.
 
Woods was selected by a vote of the PGA Tour membership. He becomes the first man to be named Tour Player of the Year on three occasions.
 
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Woods adds this trophy, named the Jack Nicklaus Award, to the others he has captured in 2000, including the Arnold Palmer Award for the Tour's leading money winner, the Byron Nelson Award for the Tour's lowest scoring average (67.79), and the PGA Player of the Year, which is presented by the PGA of America.
 
In other PGA Tour awards, Michael Clark II earned Rookie of the Year honors. The 31-year-old was the only rookie to win in 2000, doing so in a playoff at the John Deere Classic in July. He also collected six top-25 finishes on the year.
 
Paul Azinger was named the PGA Tour's Comeback Player of the Year after winning the SONY Open in Hawaii. It was his first title since the 1993 PGA Championship. It was also the 40-year-old's first victory since he defeated lymphoma.
 
Azinger ended the season with a career-best $1,597,539 in earnings and also represented his country on the victorious Presidents Cup team.