Nick Faldo was turned down in his attempt to rescue a stunning golf course on the northwest coast of Ireland, but may get a second shot at it in a special meeting early in the year.
Faldo offered to pay off the nearly $1 million in debts owed by the village golf club at Ballyliffin on the Innisshowen Peninsula in County Donegal.
The Masters champion found the beautiful course on the rugged coast while on vacation and offered to pay off all the debts and build a showpiece clubhouse in return for taking control of all commercial rights under a lease running to the year 2030.
The club's ruling council turned him down because they feared the deal would mean surrendering control of the course even though the proposal prepared by Faldo's business team claimed to guarantee the rights of the 960 members.
But the council has now called for a rare general meeting of the membership to examine the plan themselves. It's expected to take place within the next six weeks.
NOBILO JOINING: Frank Nobilo, the dashing European Tour member from New Zealand with the well-trimmed beard, is joining the PGA Tour in 1997. Nobilo, 36, finished 81st on the money list in 1996, earning $262,292 in only nine tournaments, including a fourth-place finish at the Masters. He has eight victories overseas.
NEW GUIDELINES: The PGA Tour Policy Board ratified new slow-play guidelines. A player is fined $1,000 for his first two warnings and receives a one-stroke penalty for the third violation. A fourth violation brings a two-stroke penalty and a fifth results in disqualification.
GOOD YEAR: Jumbo Ozaki won more official money than any other golfer in the world in 1996, earning $1,944,034. Tom Lehman was second on the international money list with $1,789,304.
ONLINE: The PGA Tour is going on online. A website with information concerning the PGA Tour, Senior PGA Tour and Nike Tour will debut on Jan. 8. Helen Ross, a veteran golf writer at the Greensboro News & Record in North Carolina was hired as Internet manager. The site will be accessed at On The Fringe
Tiger Woods will play in Thailand for the first time as a professional in February, squeezing in a trip to his mother's homeland right after the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Woods first played in Thailand at the Johnnie Walker Classic in 1994, making the cut at 18 years of age.
This time Woods will be returning as one of the most widely known athletes in the world and as a local hero of sorts since his mother, Kultida, is from Thailand.
The trip to Thailand pretty much takes care of Woods' schedule for the first two months of the years. He'll play the Mercedes Championships Jan. 9-12, the Phoenix Open on Jan. 23-26, Pebble Beach the following week and then Thailand.
He'll likely then take a couple of weeks off and pick up the tour in Florida, where he lives.
- - -