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Hogarth Doesn't Plan to Elevate State of His Game

July 09, 1999|VINCE KOWALICK

Tim Hogarth's golf game finally is in full swing. Only now, he doesn't plan to take it on the road any more than is necessary.

Hogarth, fresh from winning the California Amateur championship two weeks ago at Pebble Beach Golf Links, was home this week in Northridge, a place his schedule seldom affords him a lengthy stay.

Scheduled to compete this week in the Trans-Mississippi Championship in Oklahoma, Hogarth withdrew in order to tend to business and family matters, and prepare for his next tournament.

Hogarth, who played at Alemany High and was a two-time All-American for Cal State Northridge, will compete in the Southern California Golf Assn. Amateur Championship July 16-18 at Industry Hills Golf Club in City of Industry.

Hogarth, 33, returned to amateur status in 1996 after an unrewarding two-year professional career on the Golden State tour. He followed by winning the 1996 U.S. Amateur Public Links championship.

For Hogarth, trying to make it as a pro meant too much time away from home, too little financial gain.

"I tried to do it out of college and I really didn't enjoy it," Hogarth said. "I wasn't nearly as good as I am right now and it wasn't going anywhere. I didn't enjoy traveling. I didn't enjoy having no money. I didn't enjoy staying at Motel 6."

These days, Hogarth is enjoying a string of success. The California Amateur title was his fifth victory in seven tournaments this year, including victories in the L.A. City Championship, the Southern California Publinks and the Kelly Cup.

A victory at Industry Hills will make Hogarth the first player since Johnny Dawson in 1942 to win the California Amateur and SCGA Amateur tournaments in the same year.

Quite a run, considering Hogarth had developed a reputation of playing inconsistently.

"I'd play well for a while and lose it, play well for a while and lose it," Hogarth said. "I played a lot of bad golf last year. Now, it's been five or six months of good golf in a row and I still feel pretty good. There's no reason to play if you don't play well."

Hogarth credits his turnaround to the tutelage of Randy Peterson, longtime teaching pro at Alondra Park Golf Course in Torrance.

Peterson counseled Hogarth during his college days and during intermittent periods of his career.

Frustrated by his play, Hogarth sought Peterson's assistance in January. Peterson worked mainly to correct flaws in Hogarth's swing.

"It had been a little while since I had seen him," Peterson said. "He slipped into problems he has had.

"We worked to take some hook out of his shot and improve the shape of his shots. The trajectory of his balls was low."

For some golfers, such prosperity might kindle a comeback.

But Hogarth said he has no intention of returning to the professional ranks.

Hogarth for seven years has owned a business as a health-food broker. Married for more than a year, ties to home and family have become stronger.

In each of the last two years, Hogarth withdrew from the SCGA tournament because of poor performances he attributed largely to the strains of his golf schedule.

In 1997, he competed in the U.S. Public Links in Kentucky, then flew overnight to California to make tee time for the SCGA. Last year, Hogarth withdrew from the competition at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego.

"It's not that I slight the event, it's just that I didn't give it my full effort," Hogarth said. "I was getting caught up in my traveling and playing. I really needed to concentrate on things that are really important to me, and that's my business and my family.

"With all those factors, I don't know, this might be my last summer of golf," Hogarth said. "Next summer, who knows?"

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