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Hillmans involved in new Norman course

Sunday, April 07, 2002

By Gerry Dulac, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Greg Norman has several Pittsburgh-area connections, including a fellowship established in his name with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. That came about when Norman's hip doctor, Marc Phillipon, joined the stable of orthopedic surgeons at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex on the South Side.

But the Shark has another local ally who is financially backing one of Norman's latest course designs -- Shark's Tooth Golf Club at Wild Heron in Lake Powell, Fla.

Henry and Elsie Hillman -- of Hillman Properties of Pittsburgh -- are in partnership with Norman's Medallist Golf Development company. They became friends because they live near each other in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"They are wonderful people," Norman said. "They do a lot, and give a lot, to the people in the Pittsburgh area."

Norman also has designed another new course, Oldfield, that recently opened near Beaufort, S.C.

Trivia question

Gene Sarazen had the most famous double eagle in Masters history, holing his second shot at the par-5 15th at Augusta National en route to a playoff victory in 1935. Who had the most recent double eagle in the Masters? Answer at end.

Change in Washington

Washington Country Club has new owners and a new name -- the Golf Club of Washington. The club also has a unique membership plan designed to attract more play.

The nine-hole course, which borders Interstate 79 in Washington, was purchased from the members by Jim Cameron and Rich Riotto. The club still is considered private, but it is offering a weekly and day membership for people wishing only to play golf.

The weekly membership includes unlimited golf, Monday through Friday, for a $600 annual fee. Players are responsible only for the price of a cart, which is mandatory. The day membership has a $250 annual fee for unlimited golf on a specified weekday. Cart is mandatory.

Vijay's day

Vijay Singh played a practice round a couple of weeks ago at Augusta National, where the course was lengthened and supposedly toughened for the Masters, which begins this week.

All Singh did was shoot 63, missing a short putt on No. 18 for 62.

The best part is, he was playing with Masters chairman Hootie Johnson.

Wonder what Johnson was muttering on his way back to the clubhouse?

Quick healers

Does missing the cut on the PGA Tour mean a player is struggling with his game?

Not anymore.

Two weeks ago, Vijay Singh and Darren Clarke missed the cut in The Players Championship. They came back the following week and finished 1-2 in the Shell Houston Open.

Steve Elkington, who missed the cut at the Houston Open, shot 64 in the first round of the BellSouth Classic six days later.

"These days, I don't think that's relevant," Elkington said.

They said it

Phil Mickelson, who has never won a major championship, on his chances at the Masters: "This year, with the golf course being the way it is, I am much more confident heading into Augusta than any year [before]. I feel like there are a handful of players that have a distinct advantage of being able to hit the ball past certain doglegs. I may not be the longest player on tour -- certainly, I can't keep it up with guys like Tiger or Daly -- but I feel I have enough length to get it around the turns on some critical holes."

Dissa and data

Brian Jackson, 24, of Forest Hills, has accepted a customer-service position with Callaway Golf in Carlsbad, Calif. He is the son of Churchill Country Club pro Al Jackson.

Shoot your age? Dale Douglass, 66, did even better, shooting 63 in the second round of last week's Emerald Coast Classic on the Senior PGA Tour. It equaled his second-best score in competition, dating to -- get this -- 1963.

Squaw Creek Country Club in Vienna, Ohio, site of the 2002 Giant Eagle LPGA Classic, lengthened four holes on the back nine to get ready for the event. The biggest change was at No. 13, which has been increased from 452 yards to 510. The addition of 93 total yards increased the course yardage to 6,454 yards.

Trivia answer

Jeff Maggert performed the feat in 1994, holing his second shot at the par-5 13th. It was the third double eagle in Masters history and the first in 27 years.

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