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BOB WEST ON GOLF: PGA Tour opens without Tiger or area trio

What was shaping up to be a blockbuster of a 2016-17 PGA Tour opener this week — The Safeway Open in Napa, Calif., — was quickly reduced to just another second-tier event. All it took was one phone call from Tiger Woods saying he was going to have to withdraw.

Tournament officials, as you can imagine, were crestfallen. Woods had announced several weeks ago his latest comeback would begin with the Safeway Open. He confirmed shortly before the Friday deadline for entering that he intended to play.

With the prospect of seeing Woods in competition for the first time in months, ticket sales jumped by 30,000 over last year. Yes, Tiger still moves the needle. Anticipation built when it leaked that Woods would be paired with Phil Mickelson.

There was even a buzz around the pro-am, what with Tiger’s announced partner being Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry. Curry, of course, is a huge favorite in the San Franciso area, not to mention being a scratch golfer.

Alas, it all came tumbling down when Tiger pulled the plug on Monday, saying he didn’t feel his game was ready to compete at the highest level. Work he did over the weekend apparently convinced the injury-plagued superstar that he might embarrass himself.

Woods also backed out on what was supposed to be the second tournament of his comeback — the Nov. 3-6 Turkish Airlines Open. Latest target date for his return is his own limited-field event — the Dec. 1-4 Hero World Open. It features a limited field and no cut.

The Safeway Open will also be minus the three-man Southeast Texas contingent that participated last year. PN-G exes Chris Stroud and Andrew Landry and former Lamar All-America Dawie van der Walt, in a sign of what’s to come, couldn’t get into the field. LU ex Shawn Stefani was eligible but chose to skip the tournament.

Stroud, by the way, missed the cut last week in the European Tour’s Alfred Dunill Links Championship. With the cut at 54 hole because the event was a pro-am, he shot rounds of 70-71-73 for a 214.

Landry and Van der Walt had hoped to spend the week playing in the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Fla. That event, however, was wiped out by Hurricane Matthew, erasing the duo’s last chance to reclaim their PGA Tour
card.

Most of their tournament action in the upcoming year will be on the Web.com Tour.

CHIP SHOTS: The foursome of Lonnie Labove, Josh Crum, Seth Corkran and Blaine Girourd combined for a 21-under-par 51 to win the Clint Wasser Memorial Scramble Saturday at Babe Zaharias. Second with a 56 was the team of David Bledsoe, Jordan Leger, Matt Hendon and Aaron Landry.

Closest to the pin winners were Timothy Feemster (No. 2), Kyle Stutes (No. 7), Leger (No. 12) and Karlei Hemler (No. 15). . .

The team of Roddy Weatherly, Ronnie LaSalle, Charles Leard and Ed Hetzel dominated the Senior 50 Plus Game Monday at Babe Zaharias. In a best two-ball format, they tied the front in minus 6 and won the back outright at minus 5.

Matching the minus 6 on the front was the foursome of P.Y. Young, Cecil Norris, Billy Thillet and Bill Draughon. . .

The Super Saturday Game at Babe Zaharias, played in a best two ball format, saw the fivesome of Javier Torres, Harrell Guidry, Rusty Hicks, Kenny Hecker and Robert Lynch win the front in minus 5. On the back, the foursome of Larry Thompson, Rick Pritchett, Larry Johnson and Don Duplan won with minus 4.

In the Friday Game at Zaharias, also a best two ball, the team of Bob Briggs, Pritchett, Bob Byerly and John Ramsey won with minus 6. The back went to the team of Craig Fontenot, Mike Norris, Gene Jones and Charlie Huckaby at
minus 5.

Format for the Thursday Senior Game at The Babe was a four-man scramble. Finishing in a tie at minus 12 was the team of Mike Lansford, Larry Foster, Bryan Mirabella and Pat Waite and the fivesome of Earl Richard, Bobby Wactor, Mike Tibbetts, Gary Anderson and Harold Wilkinson.

Closest to the pin winners were Richard (No. 2), David Balsano (No. 7) and Tibbetts (No. 12, No. 15).

The Wednesday Babe Zaharias DogFight was won with 18 points by the team of Cap Hollier, Jay Hampson, Troy Touchet and Dave Sturgal. Teams captained by Richard and Gary Whitfill tied for second with 16 points.

Closest to the pin winners were Byerly (No. 2), Jess McPhillips (No. 7), Richard (No. 12) and Whitfill (No. 15).

Golf news should be e-mailed to rdwest@usa.net.