To the perennial question of how to revive the Champions tour, we
now have a tantalizing answer: the First Tee Championship, an
inspired new senior event that, beginning in 2004, will be played
annually at Pebble Beach. Slated for the last week of August, the
tournament format will pair a Champions pro and a promising
junior player from the ranks of the First Tee Foundation with two
amateurs paying big bucks to complete each foursome. The first
two rounds will be split between the Beach and Bayonet, the
former military course that many consider the toughest track on
the Monterey Peninsula. The final round will be played at Pebble,
producing a senior champ and a team winner. Though details are
still being ironed out among the various parties, sources close
to the negotiations tell SI it's a done deal.
James McLean, SI's hard-luck Rookie on Tour, was DQ'd from the
second stage of Q school when he signed an incorrect scorecard.
McLean was walking off the 18th green after the second round at
Stonebridge Ranch in McKinney, Texas, when his golf bag tumbled
from the pull cart he was using. After a frenzied cleanup
session, McLean gave himself a par 4 instead of the bogey 5 he
Brandel Chamblee may be content to give up playing for
announcing, but Paul Azinger will not be joining him. Azinger
tells SI that, despite recent rumors, he plans to grind it out on
Tour next year. "I think I can still play a little," says Zinger,
who finished 169th on the 2003 money list.
GOLF PLUS will next appear in the Dec. 15 issue of SI
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