Record field expected for MasterCard
A record number of golfers will play in the 2004 MasterCard Championship. The Champions Tour season opener is Jan. 23 to 25 at Hualalai Golf Club on the Big Island.
At the end of this season, 36 players had qualified for the event. With up to four sponsor exemptions to be announced, the field will be larger than the record 37 in 2000.
Seven first-time winners qualified for the 2004 MasterCard Dave Barr, Rodger Davis, David Eger, Wayne Levi, Tom Purtzer, Craig Stadler and D.A. Weibring.
Other qualifiers include defending champion Dana Quigley, Hale Irwin, Isao Aoki, Allen Doyle, Dave Eichelberger, John Jacobs, Tom Kite, Jim Thorpe, Tom Watson and Fuzzy Zoeller.
Sponsor exemptions can be extended to exempt Champions Tour players who have won a minimum of 30 combined (PGA Tour/Champions Tour) tour events. Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino were given exemptions this year.
Any day admission is $10 and weeklong passes are $25. They can be purchased by calling (800) 417-2770.
The 2004 Champions Skins Game has been confirmed for Jan. 31 at Wailea's Gold Course.
SHORT PUTTS: Last month, Golf Magazine brought you the infamous Jan Stephenson story that included her opinion later retracted that "Asians are killing our (LPGA) tour" partly because they "rarely speak." In the December issue of the magazine, Korean American and Punahou freshman Michelle Wie will speak at length about her "Roamin' Holiday" or, how she spent her summer vacation. ... The Turtle Bay Golf Academy has opened on the North Shore. It offers individualized instruction, custom-made golf schools, "Golf Immersion" days, group clinics and free 15-minute range instruction. ... The Hawai'i Golf Representative's Association Sample Sale will be Saturday at the McKinley High School Cafeteria. The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and features equipment, shoes, accessories and clothing.