August 20, 2008–As usual, there is an abundance of news surrounding Las Vegas golf courses, Las Vegas golf pros and Las Vegas golf events, so without farther ado, here is another round of news, notes and anecdotes from the world of Las Vegas golf. Stories include several Las Vegas pro golfers competing in the FedEx Cup, the PGA Tour Playoffs; several golfers with ties to Las Vegas making the cut at the U.S. Amateur; the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge coming to Las Vegas golf course Rio Secco Golf Club (pictured); an area course being featured in Tiger Woods' video game; and, as usual, plenty of Las Vegas golf courses offering the best rates and deals.
First up, the PGA Tour playoffs start this weekend with the playing of The Barclays event in New York. Eight golfers with strong ties to Las Vegas golf successfully qualified for the FedEx Cup, the four tournament playoff system of the PGA Tour. 50,000 total points are available this weekend with 11,000 going to the winner of the event. Chad Campbell stands in 23rd in the FedEx Cup standings while fellow former UNLV Rebel Adam Scott is at 24. Tommy Armour III, who grew up in Las Vegas, starts the playoffs in 48th while Summerlin resident Deam Wilson is in 70th position. Another former UNLV Rebel and current Southern Highlands resident, Ryan Moore, is in 73rd, while German native Alex Cejka, who moved from Laughlin to Las Vegas a few years ago, is in 91st followed by former PGA Tour champion and UNLV Rebel Charley Hoffman (105). And Nick Watney, a Henderson resident and pupil of Butch Harmon, is in 111th. A total of 144 players made the playoffs.
The U.S. Amateur is being played in Pinehurst this week, and several Las Vegas golfers made the cut to the match play portion of the tournament. Las Vegas Golf Hall-of-Famer Brady Exber, Vegas resident Kevin Marsh, and current UNLV golfers Seung-Su Han and Eddie Olson all made it to match play. Ji Moon and Derek Ernst, also current Rebels, finished on the cutline but missed making the final 64 by not advancing in a large playoff for the final two spots available for match play. Other Rebels CJ Gatto and Matt Kinsinger missed the cut after the two rounds of stroke play.
In July, Marsh won the prestigious 109th Annual Southern California Golf Association Amateur Championship. "I was a little bit nervous all day because it's been a long time since I've won a major stroke-play event, so this was important for my psyche," Marsh said following the round. He also won the event in 1996. Other past champions include Tiger Woods, Paul Stankowski and Al Geiberger.
"We look forward to serving as host for the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge," says Eric Dutt, Vice President – Las Vegas Golf Operations at Harrah's Entertainment. "The event will allow us to showcase Rio Secco Golf Club to a national audience. Equally important, we are pleased to align our company with the tremendous work being done by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption."
Head UNLV Basketball Coach Lon Kruger was in Kansas recently playing golf and helping to raise funds for the College Basketball Experience. Kruger is a single-digit handicap who plays when he can. A recent event at Las Vegas' Spanish Trail Golf and Country Club raised $72,000 for the team's trip to Australia.
The annual Las Vegas PGA Fall Expo continues to gain momentum and takes place next week in Las Vegas. At one point the show, that brings thousands of golf industry professionals into Las Vegas, was rumored to be on its last legs, but new partnerships and events seem to have brought the event back to vibrant life.
"Each year we try and give it an exciting new look, and this year we're so happy that, first and foremost, we have so many new exhibitors that have not been at the PGA Fall Expo in the past," says Ed Several, PGA Shows group vice president, adding that there will be roughly 400 exhibitors in attendance, including 100 new companies and 120 of which will be golf apparel brands. Several was interviewed by Stuart Hall of the GolfBusinessWire.
Wolf Creek Golf Club, located a short drive from Las Vegas in Mesquite, is poised to gain a new world of fans with the upcoming launch of the highly anticipated Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 09 game. “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® gamers have an endless desire for fantasy courses, which is one of the main reasons Wolf Creek was high on the list of courses we wanted to sign,” said EA SPORTS product manager Praveeta Singh. “The coolest part is that Wolf Creek is a fantasy course that actually exists.” Wolf Creek is open to the public and you can play it … in real life.
Katie Walker, the ambassador of Las Vegas' PGA Tour event, the Justin Timberlake Shriner's Hospitals for Children Open, continues to impress. A patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Los Angeles since she was nearly a year old, Walker was born missing her left tibia, left kidney and faced other multiple congenital problems. She underwent her first set of surgeries to repair some of these problems when she was only weeks old. As the focus turned to Walker’s orthopaedic challenge, a friend told the family about Shriners Hospitals for Children whose specialists determined that, in order to give her the best chance at walking, amputation of her left leg was necessary. Eight weeks post-surgery, she was fitted with the first of many prostheses.
“Working with Justin Timberlake to promote the tournament is such an honor, a real dream come true,” says Walker, who is currently a sophomore at Cal-State University Bakersfield and plays on the golf team. You can go to the official website (link above) to purchase tickets to the tournament or to Timberlake's special VIP concert featuring several of his friends.
Danny Gans' Partee Fore Kids to benefit The First Tee of Southern Nevada and the Danny Gans Junior Golf Academy takes place November 1-3 at DragonRidge Country Club. Celebrities and pros are playing and the Southern Nevada Toyota Dealers recently signed on as the presenting sponsor for the second year in a row. The event includes entertainment, PARTEE's, a poker event and more.