Golf HOFer GREG NORMAN was named an advisory coach to the Chinese National Golf Team in March, and said he thinks a world golf tour is "inevitable," according to a Q&A with Pete Madden of GOLF.com. Below are excerpts from the Q&A.
Q: What's the biggest challenge standing in the way of the development of the game in China? Norman: Building sustainable golf courses. There's talk of building [10,000-15,000] golf courses in China, and that's a huge undertaking. It's like a drop in the bucket for them, but they have to build these courses in a sustainable fashion that allows the grassroots access, not just the wealthy, but the not so wealthy. That's the hardest part for them to understand. The elitist image is absolutely damaging.
Q: Is China the lynchpin of the golf's growth and continued success? Are the Olympics? Norman: The Olympics was the accelerator, but China is not the lynchpin. With the recession, disposable income is eliminated, so you drop your golf course membership, but we'll find that the game of golf will pick up again in the U.S. It's an amenity that people love.
Q: How far away are we from making the World Tour a reality? Norman: I think it's inevitable. Everybody's fighting for water from the same well. Most corporations are sponsoring both tours, so there's golf 24/7, everywhere in the world. At the end of the day, it made sense to me to get both institutions together and come up with a better scheme (GOLF.com, 12/13).
Marquette Univ. AD LARRY WILLIAMS is "out after two years on the job," and is "leaving to pursue other interests." Williams "had just seen Marquette through the transition" to the new Big East, but "was known to be at odds with men's basketball coach BUZZ WILLIAMS." Former Marquette AD BILL CORDS will take over the position "until a replacement is named" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 12/14)….The Marlins named Sunrise Sports & Entertainment Senior VP/Sales & Service RYAN MCCOY VP/Sales & Service (Marlins)….The ’15 Pan Am Games BOD “ousted” CEO IAN TROOP on Friday, with former Ontario Deputy Minister of Health SAAD RAFI set to replace him (THEGLOBEANDMAIL.com, 12/13).
Late MLBer RYAN FREEL was suffering from the degenerative brain disease CTE when he "committed suicide last year." Freel is the first former MLBer to "have his brain studied" by the Boston Univ. Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy & Sports Legacy Institute. He also is the "first to be diagnosed with the incurable disease that has been found predominantly in the brains of athletes who participate in contact sports such as boxing, hockey and football" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 12/16).
STEP RIGHT UP: Mets CF CURTIS GRANDERSON is "in the process of funding the majority" of a $7M project, already underway, to refurbish the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago baseball ballpark -- and his $5M donation "came with some unusual conditions." Granderson said that UIC in return has "agreed to let all of the high school varsity baseball teams in the Chicago Public Schools system play one of their games each season at its new baseball field, to be named Curtis Granderson Stadium" (NEWSDAY, 12/14).
NAMES: Astros Assistant Controller ABBY BRANTLEY "won $24,000 in an episode of 'WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE' that aired Friday." The Astros "aired the episode on Minute Maid Park's 'El Grande' video screen and staged a viewing party for Brantley and co-workers" (CHRON.com, 12/15)....The U.S. Mint in early ’14 will release the Baseball HOF Commemorative Coin. It is to be “the first curved coin released by the U.S. Mint” (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/13)….Patriots QB TOM BRADY and talk show host ELLEN DEGENERES “teamed up to reward” two Bridgewater, Mass., kids for “standing up to bullies.” Brady, courtesy of team Owner ROBERT KRAFT, gave the boys tickets to the Patriots’ final regular-season game at Gillette Stadium, field passes and "tickets for their whole team" to visit the Patriots HOF (BOSTON HERALD, 12/15)….Jaguars Owner SHAHID KHAN’s 223-foot yacht “has been sold.” There is “no information on who purchased" the yacht, but it was listed for about $108.6M (JACKSONVILLE.com, 12/13).