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Adams: Try hitting it from the shorter tees

Barney Adams knows what he's up against in trying to get golfers to buy into the new "Tee It Forward" initiative being proposed by the PGA of America, the USGA and Adams himself.

The idea is to get golfers to play shorter courses that are better suited to their skill level, thereby enhancing their enjoyment. The big push is going on now - July 5-12 - but Adams isn't expecting overnight success. That's a good thing, since calls to several area courses found that none of them are promoting the initiative.

"I tell the USGA and the PGA, if you want me to work on this, I'll work on this, but don't underestimate how hard this is going to be. We're talking about male egos, culture, human nature. That ain't going to change," said Adams, founder of Adams Golf.

It's an idea Adams has been kicking around for years, and it's gradually gaining momentum. Through the hundreds of hours he spent watching people hit shots and fitting them for clubs, Adams knows that most players don't hit the ball as far as they think they do.

Adams said he's always having double-digit handicappers tell him they hit it 260 yards off the tee. No they don't, Adams said, and he has mounds of evidence to support him.

Convincing them that it's okay to play a shorter course - the idea is to get most players to move up one set of tees - is the hard part.

"The guys I play with at my own club, they know I'm all over this and they say, it's a great idea. I hope you can get somebody to do it. We're going back here (to longer tees)," Adams said.

One key, Adams said, is to make sure tees aren't identified as red tees or white tees. Just put out sets of tees based on overall yardage. There's even a chart that tells players which tees they should play, based on how far they realistically hit their tee shots. A 6,200-yard course is plenty for most players.

"I keep trying to find hooks. All we're trying to do is to get golfers to play the game the way it was meant to be played. It's supposed to be fun," Adams said.

"Now you have a 145-yard shot. Maybe it's a jumpy lie so you hit an 8-iron or a smooth 7 or maybe even a 6. But you have a choice. When you're way back, you're just trying to hit it hard enough and hope you get it up near the green. It's not even golf."

The Big Three, reunited

Gary Player will join Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as an honorary starter on the first tee at Augusta National in 2012.

It was only a matter of time before Player, who won three Masters and played in a record 52 events, joined his friends/rivals in the traditional ceremony. He was the tournament's first international champion and had 15 top-10 finishes at the Masters.

From 1960 through 1966, Palmer, Nicklaus and Player won all seven Masters tournaments.

OBSERVATIONS

It came as no surprise Tuesday that Tiger Woods announced he will miss the British Open next week while continuing to deal with knee and Achilles issues.

"Unfortunately, I've been advised that I should not play in the British Open," Woods said in a statement on his website. "As I stated at the AT&T National, I am only going to come back when I'm 100 percent ready. I do not want to risk further injury. That's different for me, but I'm being smarter this time."

It wasn't long ago we were talking about how dominant Woods might be when he reached his expected prime - in his mid-30s - but now it's all a mystery. Woods was right last week when he stressed that he's just 35, not 65, but it seems like forever since he's been the Tiger we came to know and take for granted.

Will he be back for the PGA Championship next month in Atlanta?

Only time will tell.

Yani Tseng is 22 and has already won four major championships. She is the best player in women's golf, with no one a close second, and this week she's the obvious player to beat in the U.S. Women's Open being played at the Broadmoor near Denver, Colo.

She's not yet Annika Sorenstam - her role model to the point she bought Sorenstam's house in Orlando, Fla., - but she's getting there as Sorenstam predicted just a few years ago.

Tseng could complete the career Grand Slam with a win this week - a remarkable achievement if it happens. Maybe this is the week Morgan Pressel wins a Women's Open. Or Michelle Wie or Brittany Lincicome. But it starts - and may well end - with Tseng.

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