Need an excuse to get to Vegas? We've got plenty

By Travel ArticlesJanuary 11, 2012, 2:23 pm

LAS VEGAS -- Everyone's reasoning for heading to Las Vegas is a little different: it could be a long-awaited buddy's trip or bachelorette party, or maybe you've been dying to see a particular event live. 

Taking a golf vacation in Sin City can be as wild or tame as you want it. And depending on the time of year you go, there are all sorts of distractions and other activities away from golf that no place but Vegas can offer.

Here, is a look at the different seasons in Las Vegas -- what you can expect and some suggestions on taking in some of the annual events and activities:

From the Super Bowl to March Madness

This is the time of year, believe it or not, when many Vegas golf courses are in their best shape because of the heavy over-seeding. It's had a few months to establish, and the courses jump out with the dark green contrast of rye grass against the brown desert landscape.

It is, of course, cooler this time of year, so playing in the late morning or afternoon is probably your best option. Fortunately, there are all kinds of things you can do this time of year to fill your day.

In January, for example, it's college football bowl season, and there's no better place to be than the sports books of Las Vegas. If you're a gambling man, you can wager all kinds of bets -- parlays, teasers and even by the half. Vegas sports books are also great places to watch the games.

By the time February rolls around, it's time for the biggest sporting event of the year -- the Super Bowl. In Vegas, close to $100 million is wagered each year on the big game, and the excitement level in Vegas can't be matched.

It doesn't get any better than March in Las Vegas for a number of reasons. If you're a NASCAR fan, the Las Vegas Speedway is the site of NASCAR weekend events in early March. And right after that, it's college basketball's March Madness, a splendid three weeks leading up to the national championship game.

There's no better place than Vegas to watch the first week, when games go from morning until night. At many golf courses, you can get updated scores on the GPS system as you play so you can keep up with your wagers.

Spring training, Supercross and warmer weather

Spring in Las Vegas means spring training in baseball, and the city does host exhibition games from time to time from the Cactus League.

Of course, by April, the regular season begins, and Vegas is a pretty good place to take in the action of opening day. We should also mention that golf weather in Las Vegas is just about perfect this time of year: highs in the 80s, lows in the 50s and 60s.

In early May, Vegas is the site of the Supercross motorcycle races at Sam Boyd Stadium. And, of course, what better way to spend your Memorial Day weekend than in Las Vegas? You can take in a round of golf at terrific courses such as Siena Golf Club or Bali Hai Golf Club, then head to the Strip at night for a great dinner, a table game or two, and perhaps see a show.

And in early June, be sure to check out the Vegas Cruise car show, which takes place under the 2.1 million lights of the Freemont Street Experience in downtown Vegas. The theme is vintage cars with bands playing 1950s and '60s music.

Hot summers, cool deals, great nightlife

While temperatures start to reach triple digits during the day, this is still a good time to play golf in Las Vegas. This is when you'll find some of the best rates and bargains on golf packages. And if you play a course in the morning when the temps are cooler -- such as Royal Links Golf Club, for example -- you can always sleep before hitting the town in the evening.

If poker is your game, then Vegas is your destination in July, when the nationally televised World Series of Poker, sponsored by Harrah's Entertainment, takes place for much of July and involves thousands of players.

August might mean hot nights, but it's still a good time to be in Las Vegas (everything indoors is air conditioned). Play golf early and often and take in the shows, such as Zumanity by Cirque du Soliel at New York New York or Terry Fator at the Mirage.

Early September brings Labor Day weekend -- again, the perfect time to take in Las Vegas for some golf and fun. The streets and clubs will be crowded with party-goers anxious to get in one last long weekend before school starts in the fall.

Justin Timberlake, special events and ideal golf

Fall might be the best time of year in Vegas. It brings college and pro football, which means the sports books will be bustling in September. It's also when the Barrett-Jackson Collection Car Auction takes place.

Early October is when you can take in one of the more popular events on the PGA Tour's Fall Series schedule, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Open at the TPC Summerlin. There's also the Professional Bull Riders Championships and NHRA Nationals in drag racing.

November brings the Aviation Nation Air Show at Nellis Air Force Base for aviation enthusiasts. And in early December, it's the National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas Mack Center. This is the granddaddy of all rodeo events, featuring the best cowboys from all over North America.

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.