Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Castle graduate to play historic round of golf

Advertiser Staff and News Services

PGA rookie Dean Wilson is eager to play with Annika Sorenstam.

Associated Press


USA Network (delayed)

Tomorrow: 6:58 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Friday, 1 p.m.

FORT WORTH, Texas — It probably wasn't the way Dean Wilson thought he'd enter the spotlight as a rookie on the PGA Tour, but there was no denying he was taking advantage of it yesterday.

Wilson, who was raised in Kane'ohe, will be part of a historic golf group at this weekend's Colonial. In the first two rounds tomorrow and Friday, Wilson and rookie Aaron Barber will be playing with Annika Sorenstam, the first woman to compete on the PGA Tour in 58 years.

"It's a unique experience to be able to play with her in a tournament atmosphere like this," said Wilson, 33, a 1987 Castle High graduate who went on to compete at Brigham Young University.

The two rookies were randomly selected by a computer program from the third category of players reserved for those who haven't won or finished in the top 125 on the money list.

Wilson and Barber said yesterday they look forward to competing with the world's No. 1 female player. They insist they're not concerned about the extra attention from reporters and fans, or the chance Sorenstam could post better scores.

"Anybody can beat me when I play bad," Wilson said.

Barber, 30, added: "She is going to beat some people, there's no doubt. I'm worried about 113 people beating me every week."

Wilson and Barber met Sorenstam for the first time yesterday. They were leaving their news conference as she was entering the same crowded interview room for hers.

They'll play together tomorrow, when they start on the 10th tee at 8:58 a.m. (3:58 a.m. Hawai'i time), the last morning trio on the course. Their second round begins on the first tee at 1:43 p.m. (8:43 a.m. HST) Friday.

"She will probably feel more pressure," Barber said. "After all, the spotlight's on her. I was surprised that we even had to do a press conference. We're just the two guys playing with her."

Barber got into the tournament the same way as Sorenstam, on a sponsor's exemption.

Some PGA Tour players have criticized Sorenstam's decision to play. Defending Colonial champ Nick Price called her appearance a publicity stunt.

Barber and Wilson disagreed.

"She has every right to be in this tournament, and I'm all for her playing well," Wilson said.

Barber said Sorenstam has "earned this opportunity based on her resume. ... She's very dominant on the LPGA Tour, and I think it's a way for her to play at a higher level."