It doesn't happen often at his age, but Tom Shaw is hoping for a comeback on the Champions Tour.
The Milwaukie native and former University of Oregon golfer, who turns 65 in December, is recovering from knee replacement surgery last December and is back playing the 50-and-over circuit. But Shaw has to qualify each week and only has been able to get into four events this year.
'The (left) knee was bothering me the last two years, and I played instead of doing surgery, which (because of resulting poor play) cost me my exemption on the tour,' says Shaw, who was hoping to get into the FleetBoston Classic this week as an alternate. 'I am feeling good now, and I want to play my way back. I think I can be competitive again. We're going to find out.'
After a solid career on the PGA Tour, in which he won four tournaments, including the 1969 Doral and 1971 Bing Crosby, Shaw enjoyed prominence on the senior circuit for more than a decade. He ranked among the tour's top 65 money winners every year from 1989 to 1999, earning as much as $324,385 (1993) and winning two events, including the '93 Tradition.
The latter victory, achieved at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz., doesn't get him into the field for the Jeld-Wen Tradition, held Aug. 28-31 at the Reserve.
'It gave me an exemption for the Tradition for only one year,' Shaw says. 'Too bad, because I would love to play there this year. I haven't played in Portland in a while.'
Shaw, who served as assistant pro at Columbia Edgewater Country Club before joining the PGA Tour in 1963, lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he is a member of Fort Lauderdale Country Club, a storied 36-hole course built in the 1920s. He says he returns to Portland occasionally to visit his brother, Mickey, who lives in Clackamas.
• Blazer broadcaster Brian Wheeler is finally winning the battle of the bulge. Wheeler has lost 42 pounds after eight weeks, employing a hypnotist and the Atkins low-carb diet.
'It's the most sustained weight loss I have had in quite a while,' Wheeler says. 'I would like to lose somewhere between 150 and 200 pounds, so it's going to take awhile. But it has been steady progress. The first week or two on the diet was tough, but I'm flying through the whole thing now.'
• Oops! Last week, when I asked Steve Patterson what happened to money from player fines administered by NBA clubs, the Blazer president said there were several possible destinations.
'It could go back to the club, to a charity or charities, to a fund for the players,' Patterson said. 'Some teams might use it to finance a sound system for their weight room. The bigger ones often go to charities or the team's foundations.'
League officials point out, however, that the collective bargaining agreement specifies 50 percent of fine money goes to NBA Players' Association's charitable organizations; the other 50 percent goes to charitable organizations as designated by the league. In most cases, the money is taken directly from a player's paycheck, as was the case with Damon Stoudamire's $250,000 levy last month.
Patterson says it is news to him.
'That is not what I was told when I got here,' explains Patterson, who last worked in the NBA as general manager of the Houston Rockets in 1993 and has been involved in NFL and pro hockey management since then. 'The rule could have changed since I have been out of the league, but when I asked here and with (representatives) of other clubs, that was the answer I got.'
The players association has until Wednesday to file its grievance with the league against Portland's fine of Stoudamire following his marijuana arrest July 3. It is believed this is considered the first offense for Stoudamire, who is in a Houston rehabilitation center for a minimum of 30 days. A second offense can result in a fine as much as $15,000, and a third offense is a five-game suspension without pay.
• Folks in Seattle are in a lather over the good-natured bet made by Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird with a local radio sports talk-show host over her assist/turnover ratio. The bet: If it turned out better than 2-to-1 at season's end, he would have to buy season tickets for the WNBA team's games next year. If Bird lost, the broadcaster would get to spank her, and if the ratio was low enough, she would have to cry, 'Harder, Daddy, harder,' during the spanking.
The outcry from media and women's rights advocates in Seattle that it feeds into violence against women and stereotyping caused Bird to call off the bet and apologize. Methinks this was an overreaction. Nothing kinky or sinister was going to happen here. It is not above the WNBA to use sex appeal to try to sell its product. And face it, the women's basketball league can use all the publicity it can get as it tries to survive these tough financial times.
• Former Glencoe standout Ben Petrick has a new lease on a major-league career after his July 13 trade from Colorado to Detroit, but he is going to have to show he can hit.
Petrick, 26, had been playing for the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs, batting.259 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs in 80 games.
He went 4 for 20 in his first eight games with the Tigers, playing left field and catcher. Three of the hits came in a July 24 victory at Cleveland, a rare win in a season in which the Tigers are launching an assault on the worst record in big-league history.
• The Winter Hawks are lowering season-ticket prices at the 200 level in the Rose Garden, from $432 to $396 and from $378 to $288. 'The cost of our value-level tickets was too expensive,' reads a newsletter to the team's fans.
• Two of Oregon State's nonconference football games won't be gimmes. Western Athletic Conference media predicts Boise State (223 points) to finish second and Fresno State third (212) behind June Jones' Hawaii Warriors (227) in a preseason poll. The Beavers visit Fresno on Sept. 5 and play host to Boise State on Sept. 20.
• Marla Runyan is getting plenty of exposure these days. The Eugene Olympic distance runner is featured in a series of Nike commercials on major networks as well as MTV, UPN, WB and Comedy Central. If you haven't seen the Runyan spots, they can be viewed online at www.nikerunning.com. Runyan, a former heptathlete at San Diego State, will be inducted into the Aztec Sports Hall of Fame in October.
• Seattle guard Luke Ridnour out of Oregon will wear No. 8 for the SuperSonics instead of 13 during his rookie season. Veteran center Jerome James already had the lucky 13.