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Cydney Clanton plans busy summer

Cydney Clanton's summer itinerary is filling up fast.

The former Concord High star recently finished her junior season at Auburn, where she climbed to No. 2 in Golfweek's women's college rankings and she's just hitting her busy season.

Clanton will attempt to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open on Thursday near Pinehurst. Then she heads off to Boston to play on the United States Curtis Cup team against the Europeans June 10-13.

From there, it's the Women's Public Links Championship, the women's North and South Amateur and, eventually, the Women's Amateur championship at Charlotte Country Club in August.

"I won't be home much this summer," said Clanton, whose family has moved from Concord to Rockwell, just south of Salisbury.

Clanton, who works with teaching pro David Ross from River Run Country Club, set the single-season scoring average record at Auburn with a 71.45 stroke average this year.

She finished in the top five in eight of her 11 college events this season, including third place in the NCAA championship.

"This year was definitely a solid year and I caught some momentum," Clanton said.

Clanton is expected to play a major role in the Curtis Cup matches, the women's amateur version of the Ryder Cup.

"It's a huge honor to represent the United States and it's a privilege to be chosen," she said. "I can't wait to go up there and play and hopefully win."

Clanton has already decided she will return for her senior year at Auburn rather than turn pro this summer.

"There are some things I want to accomplish before I leave school," Clanton said.

Haney on Tiger

During a recent teleconference with Ray Romano, his pupil in the latest version of The Golf Channel's "The Haney Project," Hank Haney fielded several questions about Woods. Here's a portion of the transcript:

Hank, you've worked with Charles Barkley, Ray Romano and Tiger Woods. Which of the three was the most difficult to coach?

HH: Ray probably thinks I've yelled at him the most. Tiger is by far the biggest challenge, no doubt about that.

What made Tiger the toughest?

HH: When you have somebody who's arguably the greatest player in the history of the game and you're looking for something to get better, that's a tough task. As players are better, the improvement is harder to come by.

You recently decided to stop being Tiger's coach after six years. What led you to that decision? Was it Tiger's problems away from the course?

HH: Six years is a long time to be a coach, especially for the best player in the game. Every coaching situation has a life span and it was just time for me to move on. There wasn't a specific reason. I just felt it was time for me to move on...

(What's happening away from the course) wasn't part of my decision. I'm not saying it didn't have some effect on everybody that's around Tiger, but it wasn't why I specifically decided it was time to go.

Are you confident Tiger can get back to being the player he was?

HH: I don't see any reason he wouldn't. He hasn't lost his skills. He has a great understanding on how to swing. He's just gone through a rough patch in his life. He's played nine tournament rounds and everybody's making a big deal about how he played in one tournament. He has an incredible amount of talent. That hasn't gone anywhere. It's still there.

Chip shots

Retired Observer columnist Ron Green Sr. will receive The Memorial Golf Journalism Award on Tuesday from Jack Nicklaus at The Memorial Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. Green is being honored along with Seve Ballesteros, who is being recognized for his brilliant playing career...

According to Golfweek, PGA Tour players and officials will discuss ways to get the top 50 golfers to play more events in the future and it could involve requiring their appearance in certain "designated" tournaments. The topic is expected to be discussed Tuesday at a players' meeting at The Memorial.

The report suggests the tour is considering identifying five events each year that don't typically attract the top players and mandating that they play in one of the five. The events would change from year to year. It's similar to what the tour had back in the 1970s, when every top player was required to play in certain events each year. This would be a small step toward getting more top players to smaller events, but it likely faces a long road before getting approved.

The weekend list

With the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach less than three weeks away, here's my early list of the five favorites to win:

Lee Westwood: Top three in last three majors. He's due.

Phil Mickelson: Five runner-up finishes should earn him a win.

Padraig Harrington: The tougher the test, the better he likes it.

Jim Furyk: Has a win, two seconds and two fifths in the Open.

Tiger Woods: He's still Tiger Woods.