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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS | SHARK SHOOTOUT NOTEBOOK

Norman Might Take His Tournament Home in 2000

Golf: Sherwood has contract through next year but unofficial PGA event could wind up in Florida after that.

November 12, 1998|PETER YOON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

THOUSAND OAKS — Contrary to rumors and whispers that have swirled through the golf community like the wind on the 12th hole at Augusta National Golf Club, the Shark Shootout will be played at Sherwood Country Club in 1999.

Greg Norman, host of the unofficial PGA tournament that is celebrating its 10th anniversary, confirmed on Wednesday his agreement with Sherwood runs through 1999.

"We will be here next year," Norman said. "Then our options are open after that."

Norman, who owns a home in Florida and has designed several courses there, wouldn't commit to whether he would like to keep the tournament at Sherwood after the contract expires.

"I'd like to see it go someplace in Florida, sure," Norman said. "But then again everyone loves Sherwood. It's a great course with a great clubhouse. It's up to [Sherwood owner] Dave Murdock. If he would like it to stay here then we'll definitely look at that option."

Mark Calcavecchia, who is playing in his sixth consecutive Shark Shootout and eighth overall, is one who would support a move to Florida.

He also resides in the Sunshine State.

"It doesn't matter to me where we play it, I could stay in my own house," said the 1995 champion. "Nothing against Sherwood, I mean, its a great facility, they treat us great, it's got a great locker room and great food. But I don't think it would make a difference if we played it in Minnesota, the players would still come out.

"It would be too bad for the fans around here, but it would still be the Shark Shootout wherever it's played. The fans in Florida would come out, too."

John Phillips, director of golf at Sherwood, hopes to keep the event at the Thousand Oaks club.

"Personally, I hope they keep it," he said. "Most of the members enjoy having it and the course is in great shape this time of year. I think the course is good enough that if we didn't have [the Shark Shootout] we could have something else."

Phillips mentioned the Tour Championship or the U.S. Amateur as possible options.

*

If the Shark Shootout were a high school reunion, Costantino Rocca would win the prize for greatest distance traveled by a non-Australian to attend.

Rocca, from Italy, was a last-minute replacement for Jim Furyk, who withdrew because of a rotator-cuff injury.

"Last weekend they invite me, so I play," said Rocca, who played in the Golf Skills Challenge on Monday at Ojai Valley Inn and Spa.

Rocca, Justin Leonard, Billy Mayfair and Glen Day are making their debuts as part of the 24-player field in the Shark Shootout. Leonard is teamed with Fred Couples and Rocca will play with Scott Hoch in the field of 12 two-player teams that will play alternate shot, best ball and scramble formats during the three tournament rounds.

Only a handful of European players have competed in the Shark Shootout.

"It's a different format so it's good," Rocca said. "I have Scott Hoch to help me and I will try to help him."

*

Justin Leonard's group of Chuck Johnson, Ron Wobbeking, Magnus Heystek and Andrew Edelmann, shot a net 50.6 and have the lead after the first round of the pro-am.

The amateurs play with different pros today.

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