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Compaq Classic Raises Security

NEW ORLEANS - There will be heightened security at the upcoming Compaq Classic golf tournament in New Orleans, including a search, using metal detecting wands, of every spectator, tournament officials have announced.
'We will be going over everyone that enters the course with a wand,'' Classic president Rick George said Monday. 'We have good people and don't think it will be a problem for spectators, but they should expect it.''
The Compaq Classic, which runs April 29-May 5, is responding to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, George said.
'The PGA Tour has added a lot of measures. Things have changed since Sept. 11, that's a fact,'' George said.
In addition, each person and vehicle entering the grounds will be subject to search. Cars will be inspected entering the parking lots and individuals will be wanded prior to boarding shuttle busses or entering the grounds.
'We hope everyone will be aware of what's going to happen and allow some extra time to get into the course,'' George said.
Absolutely no cell phones will be allowed on the grounds, George said, not even for the golfers.
'The players felt it was not a great example for them to be on them,'' George said. 'Any cell phones found on the grounds will be confiscated.''
Fans will not be allowed to carry anything larger than a 6-inch-by-6-inch purse. Chairs and umbrellas will be allowed, but they must not be covered.
This year's Classic will feature its strongest field of golfers ever, George said.
Although not complete, among the golfers that have committed are five winners of the U.S. Open, Craig Perks, this year's winner of the Players Championship, and World No. 2 Phil Mickelson.
'The field, top to bottom, is stronger than last year,'' George said. 'It's going to have some of the best players in the world.''
Although ticket sales are on the same pace as last year, they are behind what is needed to guarantee a $1 million donation to the group of charities that benefit from the tournament. Last year the tournament was $108,000 short of that mark. This year they have projected a $900,000 payoff, but are hoping for more, George said.
Local spending on sports events has been divided among a number of events this year, George said. LSU was in the Sugar Bowl, the Super Bowl was in New Orleans, and the Hornets have staged a big ticket selling effort in the area.
The Hornets have bought a skybox at the tournament, but the Saints have not,'' George said.
'From a sales standpoint, we're not panicking, but we still have some work to do,'' George said.
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