The LPGA Tour picked Michael Whan to be its new commissioner, turning to a former marketing executive in golf and hockey equipment to rebuild its relationships with sponsors. Whan has worked for TaylorMade and Wilson golf companies and most recently was president of Mission-Itech Hockey. "I was that crazy high school kid cutting greens at 5:30 in the morning so he could play free golf in the afternoon," Whan, 44, said Wednesday. Carolyn Bivens was forced out by the players forced out in July as the tour lost sponsors. "Certainly, he's got the business savvy to function in the challenging role of the commissioner," said Dawn Hudson, chair of the LPGA board of directors. "He appreciates women's golf and isn't daunted by the challenges we face, but rather sees the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead." Acting commissioner Marty Evans will stay on through the year.
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Play in Outback
The Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am will allow one amateur to qualify for the Champions Tour eventApril 16-18 at TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz. For $195, golfers can participate in one of the two two-player team events. The top two gross and net teams from each event will play in an individual stroke match March 8 at TPC Tampa Bay. The first team event is Jan. 18 at the Black Diamond Ranch Quarry Course in Lecanto. The other is Feb. 15 at the Bayou Club in Largo. All golfers must have a certified PGA handicap. For details, go to www.outbackproam.com.
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$1 million shot
From Friday through Nov. 14, golfers can qualify for a $1 millionhole-in-one tournament at Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Complex in Clearwater. Every Friday (3 to 6 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), players can pay $10 per shot or $20 for five from 125 yards. The three closest to the hole each day qualify for the shootout at 1 p.m Nov. 15. Ultimately, three players will get a shot at $1 million. Rodriguez will be at the event, which benefits the Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy and Foundation. For details, call (727) 216-6389.
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Turn off phone
Parker McLachlin was waiting to tee off on the fifth hole Sunday at the Frys.com Open when he faced a backup. So he whipped out his cell phone and went on Twitter. "Just made birdie on 4. Waiting on 5th tee. First tweet during a tourney round. Don't want to get too used to this!" Uh, that would be a good idea. PGA Tour policy bans using cell phones during competition. Players can use themonly during practice rounds and on the practice range during pro-ams. Along with using his cell phone for a tweet, McLachlin answered a call from the PGA Tour. "We did have a conversation with Parker," said Rick George, the tour's chief of operations. "He was unaware of our cell phone policy. It won't happen again."
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The Lightning Foundation charity shootout is Nov. 9 at Hunter's Green Country Club in Tampa. It begins with a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. It is a "shamble'' format with each foursome including a Lightning player, coach, alumnus or broadcaster. It costs $450 for an individual or $1,500 per foursome. For details, call (813) 301-6764.
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Tampa Bay Golf Tour
Tampabay.com/golf was created as a one-stop guide to golf in our area. Information about every public and executive course is broken down by county (Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas) and price range. If you're looking for a course near you or, perhaps, a course you have never played, this is the place to go. Along with information about each course, we are building a library of video reviews so you can see what the course looks like. Each week, we will release a new video.
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New this week: Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club. The course in Pasco County is just off I-75 in San Antonio. It is a fun and affordable course with plenty of water and undulation.
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New next week: Dunedin Country Club. A historic Donald Ross course in north Pinellas County with some of the best greens in the area.