Parnevik may quit
Jesper Parnevik may be forced to retire from golf. Parnevik, 44, told the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet that he will have to quit because of a broken vertebrae in his lower back. Parnevik only played in December's Q-school event last year due to hip problems and was unable to finish. He tried to play the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles last week but withdrew because of his back.
Tiger rumor of the week
The latest in the when-will-Tiger-return debate. According to TMZ.com, Tiger Woods is set to return to "competitive" golf at the Tavistock Cup on March 22-23 in Orlando. The event is held near his home in Windermere and is highly exclusive. The non-PGA Tour event pits members from Isleworth Golf and Country Club against Lake Nona Golf and Country Club. Only a few hundred invited spectators are allowed in, and it's televised by the Golf Channel.
Local field grows
There have been a slew of commitments for the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am, which is April 16-18 at TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz. Among the notables: Champions Tour rookies Paul Azinger, Tommy Armour III and Bob Tway, as well as defending champion Nick Price and stalwarts Hale Irwin, Tom Kite and Hal Sutton. Celebrity commitments include Vince Gill, Derrick Brooks, George Lopez, Ronde Barber, Vinny Testaverde and Joe Theismann.
Also, the Bright House Networks Challenge Series, a competition for an amateur to earn a spot in the pro-am, has rescheduled the Bayou Club qualifying event to March 1. For an entry fee of $195, amateurs can try to advance to the final round of stroke play in March at TPC Tampa Bay. The winner earns a spot in the Pro-Am. Go to outbackproam.com for information.
Strippers for Tiger
Woods is certainly missed at PGA Tour events, but he has missed at other places as well. Two planes dragged banners at the tour event in San Diego. The first read: "We miss you Tiger! Deja vu Showgirls." The next day, a competing strip club countered with a plane toting this message: "We miss you too Tiger! Dreamgirls."
Champions Tour golfer Jim Thorpe was sentenced to one year in prison for failing to pay more than $2 million in income taxes. Then came another punishment, this one from the PGA Tour. Thorpe told Golfweek magazine that he received an e-mail Friday from the tour informing him that he has been suspended. It presumably was for conduct unbecoming a professional; the tour does not comment or confirm player discipline. Thorpe, 61, was not allowed to enter the Ace Group Classic this week in Florida.
Kia, LPGA join up
Kia Motors America is getting involved with the LPGA Tour, agreeing to an endorsement deal with Michelle Wie and a title sponsorship for a new tournament at La Costa Resort. Wie will be the official golf ambassador and spokesperson for Kia Motors. Terms were not announced. The Korean automaker also will be title sponsor of the Kia Classic, to be played March 25-28 at the resort north of San Diego.
Times staff, wires