Annika Sorenstam has given her verbal commitment to play in the Safeway Classic, Sept. 26-28, at Columbia Edgewater Country Club, even though the event takes place two weeks after the Solheim Cup in her native Sweden and she will surely have the LPGA Player of the Year title wrapped up.
'I talked with Annika. She'll definitely be here to defend her title,' says Tom Maletis, president of Tournament Golf Foundation Inc.
In addition, the three women in Monday's U.S. Women's Open playoff Ñ winner Hilary Lunke, Angela Stanford and Kelly Robbins Ñ are on the preliminary list to compete in the Safeway Classic.
Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb are on the list as well.
Teen sensation Michelle Wie, who will turn 14 on Oct. 11, has accepted a sponsor's exemption and plans to play here too.
'I talked with (her father) B.J., and she's all set,' Maletis says. 'I'm really happy. We have five of the players most focused on in the Open.'
And that doesn't include Danielle Ammaccapane, the veteran player who was upset with the Wies' etiquette while playing with Michelle in the first two rounds of the Open. She also plans to play in the Safeway Classic, Maletis says.
Could Wie and Ammaccapane be paired again? Not a bad idea, Maletis concedes, picturing it as part of an effort to produce dŽtente between the golfers. Wie also might play in the pro-am, as an amateur playing alongside a pro.
'It's going to develop into something interesting,' Maletis says. 'But the last thing I want is for a brawl to develop outside the tent on 18.'
Safeway steps up
Phoenix's LPGA event, set for early next season, will be the Safeway International, and the nonprofit Tournament Golf Foundation Inc. will run it.
Maletis says the move stems from Safeway's commitment to women's golf.
'What sold Safeway on it is, it's one of the best deals of the year,' he says. 'It's right before the major Nabisco Championship, so the player participation is one of the top one or two on the schedule. And there's a great following down there, with it being in its 22nd year.'
Maletis says the nonprofit foundation has three-year contracts with the LPGA to hold the Phoenix and Portland events, and the LPGA has three-year deals with Safeway to sponsor them.
The Phoenix tourney bookends the Safeway Classic, now in its 32nd year.
'It gives us a good 51Ú2-month spread, where we can balance our workload,' Maletis says. 'The stars were really aligned on this deal, with Safeway's support and picking up another venue.'
University of Oregon football safety Keith Lewis faces two years of probation, 10 days on a work crew and 60 hours of community service for his misdemeanor fourth-degree assault on UO track and field athlete Brandon Holliday. Lane County Court also ordered Lewis to pay a $500 fine after Lewis pleaded guilty in a negotiated plea agreement. 'I think everything came out fair,' he told The (Eugene) Register-Guard.
Under the terms of the agreement, the newspaper says, Lewis cannot buy, possess or consume alcohol. Coach Mike Bellotti says Lewis will perform 'team obligations' for his role in the May 11 altercation.
Surgery for Scott
Portland State basketball center Seth Scott, who broke a wrist bone in a pickup game, says he should be completely healthy by fall. Scott fell on the court while 'runnin' with the fellas.' He initially injured the wrist when he fell during a game against Montana last season.
'Surgery went well,' he says. 'They put a screw in there. I decided to get surgery, rather than take another risk. So, there's no worries. And there won't be any worries.'
The Portland Timbers, who have won four of their last five A-League soccer games and are in a three-way battle with Seattle and Vancouver for two playoff berths, will play host to El Paso at 7 tonight and Milwaukee at 5 p.m. Sunday at PGE Park.
Ñ Jason Vondersmith