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Women’s Tour Looks To Help Older Superstars

Associated Press

The LPGA has a major sponsor lined up and will announce within the next week a series of competitions within regular LPGA events for players over 40 years old, sources outside the LPGA told The Associated Press.

Bonus points will be offered in about a dozen LPGA events and the player accumulating the most total points in the designated events will receive a six-figure monetary prize.

The first of the designated events - and the official announcement - likely will be at the JAL Big Apple Classic next week when the LPGA makes its only stop in the media center of New York City.

LPGA commissioner Jim Ritts gave a “no comment” when asked Tuesday about the plan.

Earlier this year, Ritts listed opportunities for older players as one of his top priorities.

“I will be very surprised if in the next season or two seasons we do not have significant playing opportunities for veteran players within the economic realities,” Ritts said in an interview with the Associated Press two weeks ago.

With Nancy Lopez, Betsy King, Patty Sheehan, Pat Bradley and Jan Stephenson all having passed their 40th birthday, the LPGA certainly could use a way to keep them in the public eye.

At the same time, a player like Lopez, who has said about a senior tour: “If I can’t play with the big girls, I don’t want to play,” will be able to compete for the regular purse and still be part of the veteran bonus competition.

Fanny falls

Fanny Sunesson, the longtime caddie for Nick Faldo, was recovering after a bizarre accident on the final day of the Irish Open.

Sunesson struck her head on an advertising sign on her way to the 4th tee at Druids Glen and blacked out “for a millisecond,” requiring medical attention.

A spectator carried Faldo’s bag to the tee but Sunesson continued for the remainder of the round despite feeling “as though I’d just been hit by a baseball bat”.

Divots

Greg Norman, a longtime user of the King Cobra steel driver, switched to the King Cobra Ti driver and got immediate results from the titanium club. Norman made the change at Memphis and won on the PGA Tour for the first time in 16 months. The last time Norman won - at Doral in 1996 - he used a Cobra Ti for a round after his regular driver broke. This time it looks like he’s sticking with the club. … Vijay Singh has made 41 consecutive cuts, the longest streak on the PGA Tour since Tom Kite made 53 straight in 1980-82. The record is 113 by Byron Nelson in the 1940s. Jack Nicklaus made 105 straight from 1970-76.

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