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Nike's no Portland patron for PGA

Fair Game

Portland one day may be the site of a PGA event. It won't be the replacement for the International in July - Washington, D.C., likely will take that spot on the tour - and for now, Nike isn't interested.

'It's not a priority for us,' says Charlie Denson, president of Nike Brand. 'It's great for (a potential sponsor that) is not a part of the game of golf. We're already part of the game of golf.'

Nike Golf is a major player on the international golf circuit. Endorsees start with Tiger Woods and include many of the game's big names. The cost of serving as title sponsor for a PGA event simply isn't worth it for Oregon's shoe and sports apparel giant.

'It's a pretty rich ticket,' Denson says. 'Hey, I'd love to see the circus come to town. We'd love to be involved in bringing something big to the state of Oregon. But it has to be the right thing.'

Portland has all the right ingredients for a PGA Tour stop during the summer months - ideal weather, a world-class course in Pumpkin Ridge, an experienced events firm in Peter Jacobsen Productions and potential big-time sponsors in companies such as Nike and Jeld-Wen.

The latter already is title sponsor for the Tradition, a major on the Champions Tour that will be held at Crosswater in Sunriver this summer.

After the International in Denver folded, PGA Tour officials gave us a call, says Gina Monterossi, sports marketing manager for Jeld-Wen. 'We're glad they did. We've had a great relationship with them.

'They've come out publicly and said Portland might be a market they're interested in,' Monterossi says. 'I think Portland would be on their short list, but I don't know the odds of us getting a tour event in the short term. (Jeld-Wen representatives) are certainly interested in talking to them, but we have the Tradition.'

Jeld-Wen would not sponsor events in Oregon on both the PGA and Champions tours.

'We would always be happy to speak with the PGA Tour about the possibility of having an event in Portland,' Monterossi says, 'but they would need to secure the Tradition as well.'

• First Emmett Smith. Now Clyde Drexler will represent the professional sports world in the next 'Dancing With the Stars' competition, scheduled to begin March 19 in Los Angeles.

'It should be a lot of fun,' says the greatest Trail Blazer of all. 'I've always wanted to learn to ballroom dance. Now I get to learn from some of the best in the business.'

Smith won the latest 'Dancing With the Stars' title. Drexler says he is no dance expert, but he'll do his best.

'I'm not afraid to take chances,' he says. 'It's exciting to try different stuff. Hopefully I'll represent my fellow NBAers the way Emmett did the NFL.'

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