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This week on tour

Teeing Off

March 29, 2007|THOMAS BONK

Five things to keep an eye on this weekend on the pro golf scene:

1 She is playing in her 33rd consecutive Kraft Nabisco Championship, but it was called the Colgate Dinah Shore in 1975 when 18-year-old Amy Alcott showed up the first time.

"I've been through every name change," Alcott said.

More than that, she has been through some of the foulest water on the LPGA Tour, that pond that surrounds the island green at the par-five 18th hole at Mission Hills' Dinah Shore tournament course.

It was Alcott who in 1988 began the winner's tradition of leaping into the water to celebrate victory. When she won again in 1991, she pulled in Dinah Shore along with her.

The water is a lot different now and the place where the winners jump is treated and sanitary.

Alcott, who is finishing writing her book called "Spiked Shoes," said she almost misses the old days and the mess. "Now, it's all clean. It's a little pool. It's probably got bubble bath or something," she said.

The 6,673-yard Mission Hills layout is the longest on the LPGA Tour this year, outside of the 6,943-yard layout for the tournament two weeks ago in Mexico City, and the closing hole for the Kraft Nabisco has a couple of different looks this year.

On Thursday and Saturday, the tee at the 18th will be all the way back at 531 yards. The tee will be moved up to 485 yards for the second and fourth rounds to give the players an option of going for the island green in two.

That sounds all right to Karrie Webb, who holed out for eagle from 116 yards on the 72nd hole to get into a playoff last year and defeat Lorena Ochoa.

"Well," she said, "485 yards sounds like a pretty short par-five finishing hole in a major championship, but . . ."

Translation: But it's just long enough if the ball goes in the hole from out on the fairway.

2 Weather news: The last Masters without a weather delay was in 1997, when Tiger Woods won for the first time.

3 Phil news: Phil Mickelson is arriving at Augusta National today to play his first practice round.

4 Of the 107 invitations sent out to play in the Masters, 11 of the older former champions aren't playing. That includes Nick Faldo, who's broadcasting his first Masters for CBS.

Ian Baker-Finch is also making his Masters debut for CBS. Faldo and Baker-Finch have replaced Lanny Wadkins and Bobby Clampett.

5 Tiger Woods got his way. In a statement Wednesday, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said the tour's policy board approved a 120-player field for Woods' AT&T National in July in Washington.

That's a victory for Woods, who wanted a smaller invitational field. Finchem, after hearing input from the Player Advisory Council, cited "overwhelmingly positive" criteria for an invitation-only event. Some players had expressed dismay that the tournament was not a full-field event so more could play.

-- THOMAS BONK

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