Originally created 07/04/99

Local buzz: Former Jaguar golfer Park making early impression

Former Augusta State golfer David Park is in the company of Greg Norman and Tiger Woods.

The 25-year-old Welshman won the Compaq European Grand Prix on the European Tour last Sunday. He became only the third man to win a European Tour event on his third try, joining Norman 22 years ago and Woods last year. Park normally plays on the Challenge Tour, a parallel to the Nike Tour in America.

In his European Tour debut at the Moroccan Open the week before, he lost to Spain's Miguel Angel Martin on the sixth hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Park's victory earned a 30-month exemption on the European Tour and also gained a spot in the July 15-18 British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland. He has earned more money on the European Tour this year ($214,344) than Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal ($213,101).

Park won two individual titles at Augusta State in 1995 and 1996, when he was teammates with Richard Johnson and Vaughn Taylor.


If William Avery needs a fitness coach to prepare for the NBA, he need go no farther than the wife of his agent, Jeff Austin.

Austin's wife, Denise, is a noted fitness guru, famous for her show which used to run on ESPN. Avery was at the Austin household Tuesday, the eve of the NBA Draft.

Vonteego Cummings' first name drew plenty of attention during the NBA Draft. Cummings, acquired in a first-round pick by Golden State, told the San Francisco media that his mother fashioned the name from a car, the Mercury Montego. TNT announcers, who covered the draft, joked that it was a cross between the Montego and Volkswagen. His full name: Vonteego Marfeek Cummings. The Golden State Warriors could have the best backcourt name: Vonteego and former Atlanta Hawk Mookie (Blaylock).


The Vernon Forest homecoming bout at Bell Auditorium on Aug. 27 may be quite a night for more Augustans. Brandon Mitchem will fight a 10-round bout on the undercard, and Denise Moraetes possibly could be on the undercard as well.

Forrest, the North American Boxing Federation welterweight champion, meets Santiago Samaniego, the nephew of Roberto Duran, in the feature bout, to be televised by ESPN2.


Cornerback Fred Vinson of North Augusta is recovering from severe ligament damage in his left foot and already has started jogging.

The 5-foot-11 rookie, a second-round pick out of Vanderbilt, is in Green Bay with fellow rookie cornerback Antuan Edwards, a first-round pick out of Clemson (who is recovering from turf toe) to swim, jog and prepare himself for training camp.

"I'm doing whatever I can do that doesn't require a lot of pounding," said Vinson. "It's hard because this is the first injury I've had that has kept me out of anything."


Former Augusta State golf coach Jim Kelson, in his second year at Tennessee, got some good news this week when UT announced that private developers are planning a $10 million golf complex targeted to Vol fans, where the price of membership includes a donation to the university's sports or alumni programs.

The Volunteer Club is planned for the Tellico Lake area, about 20 miles south of Knoxville. It will include at least 27 holes, a clubhouse, swimming, tennis courts and overnight lodging.

University Clubs of America, based in Columbia, S.C., will finance the project and run it. The company has similar courses in operation or under way at South Carolina, Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky and Louisville.


Word out of Charlotte this week that the Queen City may be courting baseball's Montreal Expos to move south had many Augusta National connections.

Johnny Harris is the chairman of the Charlotte Regional Baseball Partnership, and he serves as the chairman of the Masters Tournament's tee and cup placement committee.

The money behind the supposed move is Charlotte-based Bank of America, which would finance the move and build a downtown park near the Carolina Panthers' Ericsson Stadium.

Augusta National member Hugh McColl is the Bank of America chairman and chief executive officer. Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson is McColl's right-hand man and chairman of the executive committee of Bank of America.


A bit of trivia about Mookie Blaylock. The renowned alternative rock band Pearl Jam originally was called Mookie Blaylock. They reportedly changed the name when Mookie objected to the use of his name.

Got an item of local or area interest? Call (706) 823-3337 or e-mail to wardc@augustachronicle.com.


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