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Wednesday Notebook: Tickets available at the gate

PGATOUR.com Staff

BEACHWOOD, Ohio -- There's still time for you and your family and friends to witness major championship history unfold in person, as tickets remain for the 70th Senior PGA Championship and can be purchased at the gate.

Daily and clubhouse tickets can be purchased at Canterbury Golf Club: $32 daily tickets, $45 daily clubhouse tickets and $100 for weekly grounds tickets. Also, juniors 17 years of age and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 800-PGA-GOLF, after which you can pick up your tickets at the admission trailer at the main entrance.

For directions to public parking and free shuttle to the course, click here.

THE SHARK STILL LOVES AUGUSTA: Now that Greg Norman has had a few weeks to reflect on the Masters in April, the 54-year-old Aussie had nothing but good things to say about the course during his news conference Wednesday at Canterbury Golf Club.

Norman, whose surprising tie for third at last year's Open Championship earned him an appearance in the Masters for the first time since 2003, said that despite all he had heard about the changes to Augusta National Golf Club and how much longer the course had become -- not to mention the fact he missed the cut after turning back the clock and sending fans into a tizzy with opening-round 2-under 70 -- he thought the course was "great."

So great, in fact, he felt compelled to let Augusta National chairman Billy Payne know as much.

"I wrote a letter to Billy Payne congratulating him on the way they set up the golf course," said Norman, who is appearing in his second Senior PGA Championship. "They did a phenomenal job, even though I only played two days, the two days that I played, they were smart, they were very, very sensitive to the conditions, and the golf course played the way it should play.

"The golf course played long, but it didn't play ridiculously long. The golf course played ... it was very playable for every player. And that's the way you set up a golf course. There's some other golf courses that just play brutally long and there's only a few players that can really take advantage of it. So from my point of view, I thought it was great, very well done."

RADAR WORKS FOR REID: Former Senior PGA Champion Mike Reid hopes his play on the 18th hole during Wednesday's practice round proves to be a good omen.

Reid, who in 2005 at Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier, Pa., won the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy in a playoff over Jerry Pate and Dana Quigley for his lone Champions Tour victory, holed a 5-iron second shot from 176 yards out on the 439-yard, par-4 finishing hole for eagle. His shot from the left side of the fairway bounced on the front of the green, rolled toward the hole, then curled right and into the cup, prompting applause from the handful of spectators gathered around the green.

"What that should tell you is that golf is a cruel game," the soft-spoken Reid, known during his career as "Radar" for his accuracy, said with a grin.

Reid, who played on the PGA Tour from 1977-2001, winning twice and finishing in the top 10 77 times, has had a rough go of it so far in 2009. Because of his standing on the career money list, he has gained entry into only six Champions Tour events, with his best finish a tie for 25th at the Legends of Golf, where he partnered with Ken Green.

"I made most of my money before the Tiger Woods era, so whenever somebody wins, it bumps me down the list," Reid said. "I've only played in six events this year, so my play has been spotty. But I feel like it's starting to come together some. I just need to play better."

MIXED MEMORIES OF CANTERBURY: Thirty years ago, Mark O'Meara came to Canterbury Golf Club to play in the U.S. Amateur at the urging of his friend, John Cook. So who does Cook play in the finals, when he attempted to become the first repeat-winner of the Amateur in almost 30 years?

That would be O'Meara, who scored a convincing 8-and-7 victory over Cook. This week, both players have returned to Canterbury to play in the Senior PGA Championship.

"This is where it kind of all started for me," O'Meara said. "Winning the U.S. Amateur here definitely got me started in the right direction, especially beating the best amateur in the country, which was John."

Cook, needless to say, has slightly different memories of that U.S. Amateur. "I got my clock cleaned," he said.

The final match didn't start that way. Cook won three of the first five holes to take early command of the match, but it didn't last long. O'Meara won the next four holes to go 2-up after nine holes, and he kept on winning. By the time they made the turn in the afternoon round, O'Meara was 9-up, finally winning on the 11th hole.

"I felt bad for John, but he had a U.S. Amateur under his belt, so I think he felt like if he couldn't win, he was glad his buddy won. And I would feel the same way about him."

Cook, who was born in Ohio and became a star at Ohio State, said he's excited about returning to Canterbury.

"This is as good a shape a course as I've seen anywhere," Cook said. "These are some of the best fairways I've seen -- if you can hit the fairways. It's a classic, old golf course. It's not super long, but it's got a couple of nice holes and a great finishing stretch. That's what major championship golf and that's what Canterbury's all about."

Cook and O'Meara aren't the only ones in the field this week who competed in the 1979 U.S. Amateur at Canterbury. They are joined by: Dan Forsman, Ken Green, Gary Hallberg, Scott Hoch, Larry Mize, Brent Murray, Joey Sindelar, Hal Sutton and Bob Tway.

MORE MEMORIES OF CANTERBURY: Thomas Herzan, the Director of Instruction at Findlay Country Club in Findlay, Ohio, is playing in his sixth Senior PGA Championship. However, this one will have a special significance for him as he is making a return to Canterbury Golf Club, where he was a teaching professional from 1983-1986.

"A lot of the members that were here when I was here, of course, they're not around, but some are - and I've run into some of them and shared some great memories," Herzan said.

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE:
In addition to his ability, defending Senior PGA Champion Jay Haas is tapping into the minds of some Canterbury locals this week. His caddie, Tommy Lamb, is a nephew of Mike Kiely, a PGA member and the caddiemaster at Canterbury. Lamb has caddied on and played the course numerous times, Haas said.

Haas also has looked for advice from Bob Fairchild, winner of the Canterbury club championship 16 times.

"There were a couple of greens that he [Fairchild] talked about, certain positions that the ball might break a littler oddly, that you might not expect it to move left or move right," Haas said. "And he just said it's pretty obvious -- keep the ball below the hole."
 
SPECIAL WEDNESDAY: Twelve Special Olympic athletes, representing Max Hayes High School in Cleveland, became the first visitors to receive free one-on-one PGA Professional instruction Wednesday at the PGA Learning Center at Canterbury Golf Club.
 
The athletes, the majority of whom had never before swung a golf club, ranged in age from 14-22. They met at the PGA Learning Center positioned at the main entrance at Canterbury Golf Club and received golf instruction from Northern Ohio PGA Professionals.
 
The athletes had previous expertise in basketball, snow skiing, track and field, bowling and swimming. Several of the athletes had competed in snow skiing at the Special Olympics World Games and State Games and in several other sports on the local level.
 
What makes Max Hayes High School special in its approach to introducing students to golf is that the school will offer a "full-inclusion golf team." The athletes at Canterbury were in a class composed of those with autism or other multiple disabilities.
 
"These kids are getting introduced to the game at a good time as Max Hayes sets up plans to form a golf team," said Nicole Sellman of Cleveland, a special education instructor for the past 13 years. "They are part of a total class of 16. I can see today that they are having a lot of fun just being here. It's great to be able to have them at this Championship."
 
Soon after, Sellman and other counselors were called to the hitting areas for their first golf lesson.
 
"I don't know if my back is ready, but I'm ready," said Sellman.
 
Special Olympics athlete Arlenn Hicks, 15, is a basketball fan and enjoys playing the game. He found his first swing of a golf club "a lot of fun."
 
"I feel I can hit the ball if I work at it," said Hicks. "I would like to keep trying it."
 
Fellow athlete Alan Ravelo, 16, also enjoyed the golf lesson, adding, "I heard about the golf grip and I think I want to come back and play."
 
The Learning Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, Thursday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday at the 70th Senior PGA Championship. Northern Ohio PGA Professionals provide free 10-minute lessons in celebration of PGA Free Lesson Month.
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