Orender taps past to help golf's future

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- PGA of America President M.G. Orender says remembering the way golf became popular will preserve its future. Orender is leading the organization's effort to attract more young people, women and seniors to the game, an initiative called Play Golf America. "All we're doing is going back to what grew the game exponentially in the '60s, '70s and '80s. Over time, we went away from some of those things," Orender said Saturday during the Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club. The initiative was launched in April. One program offered free 10-minute lessons during May. Another supports a women's golf association that creates leagues. Other programs offer league play at various times of day to cater to people's work schedules. Orender said the campaign is the top priority for the PGA of America. The organization is spending $12 million on advertising. The main dilemma is not finding people who are interested in learning golf, but finding people who have the time, Orender said. "We know Americans today are challenged by time more than any generation in the past," Orender said. "We also know there are more people playing golf as participants than ever. We want to continue that trend." ^------= WET AND WILD:@ For the second straight year, players who made the cut in the Senior PGA Championship will have more than 18 holes to play on the tournament's final scheduled day, courtesy of weather delays. Last year at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa., eventual champion John Jacobs completed 13 holes of his third round on Sunday before shooting a 2-under-par 68 in his final round. The players in this year's final third-round grouping -- Hale Irwin, John Harris and Wayne Levi -- weren't scheduled to tee off until 6:45 p.m., leaving them about two hours Saturday night to complete as many holes as possible. ^------= DROPPING OUT:@The list of players who pulled out of the Senior PGA Championship grew by five Saturday. Hubert Green (illness), John Brott (back spasms) and Will Frantz (injury) all withdrew, while J.C. Snead and Tommy Aaron were disqualified. Snead failed to show up on time, while Aaron didn't show up at his first tee. ^------= UP AND DOWN:@Talk about your wild scorecards: Tom Watson had five birdies during his second round Saturday, but still ended up shooting a 1-over 72. The reason? A pair of double bogeys -- on the par-4 No. 6 and the par-4 No. 13 -- and bogeys on 12 and 16. Watson played his first round Thursday and didn't play Friday in the flood-delayed tournament. He began his third round Saturday tied for sixth, three shots behind leader Hale Irwin, with whom he was tied for the lead after one round. Irwin's second-round scorecard also resembled a roller coaster. Like Watson, he began the round Saturday at 4 under, but bogeyed three of his first seven holes to fall to 1 under. Then Irwin reeled off a string of six birdies in seven holes, including four in a row in one stretch, to move to 7 under. Hitting a 4-iron, he came within eight inches of an ace on the par-3 No. 3, then hit 10-foot birdie putts on 4 and 5 before making a 14-footer on 6. Irwin bogeyed his final hole of the round, No. 9. ^------= CUT:@ Of the 12 former champions in the field, eight remained after the 36-hole cut. Those failing to make the cut -- which was 7-over 149 -- were Tom Wargo (1993) and Gary Player (1986, 1988, 1990). Wargo missed the cut by one stroke, while Player finished at 12 over. Two former champions already had withdrawn from the tournament Friday. Arnold Palmer (1980, 1984) dropped out because of a hip injury. Jack Fleck, the 1979 champion and the tournament's oldest player at 82, withdrew for personal reasons. ^------= HARDEST, EASIEST:@Through two rounds, the 455-yard, par-4 No. 2 -- which was changed from a par-5 for the tournament -- proved to be the course's toughest hole, with players averaging 4.455 strokes. Players recorded only 23 birdies but 136 bogeys or worse on the hole. The 535-yard, par-5 No. 18 has been the easiest hole, with players averaging 4.804 strokes and recording two eagles, 107 birdies and only 41 bogeys or worse.