LOREN ROBERTSlost the AT&T Classic when Tom Purtzer beat him in a playoff, but at leasthe shattered a Champions tour record in the process. Roberts's 67 last Fridaywas his 33rd consecutive round at par or better, besting the 32 straightamassed by Larry Nelson in 2000. Roberts went on to shoot 70--69, extending hisstreak to 35. Nelson's streak included four wins, while Roberts's run has yetto result in a victory.... Hale Irwin will give the commencement speech at hisalma mater, Colorado, on May 11. Irwin, a 1967 grad who starred in football andgolf for the Buffaloes, plans to consult with his friend and former SupremeCourt justice Sandra Day O'Connor about what to say.
• THE PGA TOURdoes more than provide playing opportunities for millionaires. At next week'sShell Houston Open, the Tour will run its first media training session forplayers. If that conjures an image of grown men in khakis and baseball capssitting in a conference room droning clichés such as "We policeourselves" and "It's a fair test," don't worry. The program offeredby national media consultant Jeff Hunt includes dynamic-sounding sessions suchas "Deliver More Value to Your Sponsors, Your Tour and Yourself" and"Learn the Dos and Don'ts of an Effective Interview." On secondthought, panic.
• A WEEK after SIGOLF PLUS detailed Justin Leonard's 2007 plunge--six starts, no cuts made--theformer Ryder Cup hero made it to the weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.What was behind the turnaround? Leonard switched caddies, hired a new sportspsychologist and parted ways with swing coach Butch Harmon to return to RandySmith, his childhood teacher. Alas, Leonard and Smith have much work to do. Twothirds of the field makes the cut at Bay Hill, and after an opening 70, Leonardshot 73, 79 and 78 to finish at 20 over, the second-worst score among playerswho made the weekend.... One person who would have been happy to switch placeswith Leonard was Richie Ramsay (below) of Scotland, the reigning U.S. Amateurchampion. Ramsay, 23, accepted an invitation to Bay Hill, but neither he northe Scottish Golf Union, which sponsored his trip, officially filed his entry.The result? Ramsay arrived in Florida to discover there wasn't a spot for himin the field. Not all is lost. Ramsay will still play at the Masters, theVerizon Heritage, the U.S. Open and the British Open, assuming he gets throughthe red tape.... The Florida Highway Patrol continues to investigate the March10 car accident near Windermere involving Tour player Arjun Atwal. AlthoughAtwal was uninjured, the driver of a second car, John Noah Park, was killed. Anofficial report and a decision about whether to file criminal charges againstAtwal--and what those charges would be--should be issued in 30 to 60 days.
• SUGGESTED WOODSBABY NAME OF THE WEEK A-game.
• For the latestnews and live CA Championship coverage, go to GOLF.COM.
"One pupil went through 13 drivers in oneyear--13!" --MY SHOT, PAGE G34
Times Tiger Woods has held the first-round lead. Hehas won 13 of those events.
A Michigan resort with a rare codesign byNicklaus-Muirhead
WHAT Bay Valley Hotel & Resort
WHERE Bay City, Mich.
COST $9 million
HOOK In 1973 Nicklaus codesigned the 6,666-yard coursewith Desmond Muirhead. The purchase price includes a 470-acre resort with aconference center and 145 rooms.
FRINGE BENEFIT How's this for a cultural connection:The Scottish pop band the Bay City Rollers supposedly got its name by throwinga dart at a U.S. map. It hit Bay City, which also happens to be the hometown ofLouise Veronica Ciccone, better known as Madonna.
ANDY HOLZMAN/LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS (PURTZER)
¬†• ONTHE DANCE FLOOR One day after St. Patrick's, Tom Purtzer broke into a littleIrish jig after the fourth playoff hole, where he made a birdie to cap hiscome-from-behind victory at the Champions tour's AT&TClassic.
WARREN LITTLE/GETTY IMAGES (RAMSAY)
COURTESY OF BAY VALLEY