The water shortage in Northern California won't seriously affect the PGA Championship at Pebble Beach Aug. 11-17. "We've been watering the tees amd greens regularly," reports Bonnie Dean, of the PGA headquarters at Pebble Beach. "We also have drawn some water form nearby Spyglass golf course. We don't anticipate any problems by the time the tournament comes around."
Dean reports ticket sales are going "at a terrific rate." She adds: "We also have three boxes of requests for tickets still unopened. Our program hasn't been doing too badly but it's a struggle to get ads because this community doesn't have much industry. However, we expect the program to be at least 200 pages." Congressional's program for last year's tournament was a record 300 pages.
Warren Bidwell, superintendent at Congressional, reports work is going well on the new nine across Persimmon Tree Road. Work started last week on a tunnel linking the middle nine to the new one, which should be opened next April. The first five holes of the middle nine will be used along with the new nine and then the last four holes of the middle nine. The new 18 holes will be shorter than the current front and back nines.
Cecil Rucker, captain of waiters at Congressional Country Club and a former heavyweight fighter, is the father of Cecil (High Rise) Rucker, 6-foot-6, 15-year-old basketball forward for Mackin High School. Young Rucker already has several colleges scouting him.
It's the dream of every golfer to play every day when he retires. Henry Rothschild of Norbeck sold his down-town restaurant a few months ago and retired to Boca Raton, Fla., where he has been playing every day. Rothschild here on a visit, says that practice does not make perfect. "When I left had a 10 handicap," he said, "now it's up to 13."
It's rare that a sponsor asks permission to give additional money to participants in a tournament, but Jack Nicklaus requested just that for his Memorial Tournament May 19-22 at Dublin, Ohio. Nicklaus asked to make a token payment of $500 to players who fail to qualify for the last two rounds and was granted permission by the PGA Tour's Policy Board.
The Policy Board will call it "supplemental" to the purse and now encourages other sponsors to do the same. "I figure mine is an invitational tournament," said Nicklaus, "and I think everybody should get something. We'll have a small field so all we're talking about for those who don't make the cut is $25,000."
Lee Elder is among 15 prose who have agreed to take part in the annual Big "I" Insurance Youth Classic National Golf Tournament at Silverado Country Club, Napa, Calif., Aug. 12-16. The pros will play the last two rounds of the 72-hole tournament on a Monday so as not to conflict with the PGA Championship which ends on Sunday, Aug. 15.
Last year, the tournament was played at Reston, Va, and the finals were almost postponed because of uncerainty when the rain-plagued PGA tournament would end.
There no longer is a problem, except for a rainout, about carrying the PGA over to Monday. It was Frank Murphy Jr., general chairman of last year's tournament at Congressional, who persuaded the PGA officials to go to a sudden-death format in the case of a tie.