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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tom Keegan’s golf notebook

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Playing with Bill Murray

Many who have seen the 1980 film Caddyshack must wonder what it would be like to play a round of golf with comedian Bill Murray, who played Carl Spackler in the golf spoof.

Lawrence businessman Dave Rueschhoff need not wonder what it would be like. He experienced it. Playing as a guest in the Prairie Dunes member-guest tournament, Rueschhoff and his partner played in a foursome with Bill Murray and his brother Brian Doyle Murray, a guest at Prairie Dunes and a co-writer of Caddyshack.

“Great fun,” was how Rueschhoff summed up the experience. “They were not real cutups, though, they were pretty serious about their golf. I lost $3 to (Bill Murray). He kept betting me a dollar for closest to the pin on these stupid little shots and he kept beating me.”

Rueschhoff, whose handicap index is listed at 12.9 on ghin.com, calls himself “the shortest hitter in Douglas County. I’m actually probably the shortest hitter in the four-state area.”

Without putting it that way, Bill Murray gave Rueschhoff an unsolicited tip designed to get him more length off the tee when both men were standing on the 16th tee box.

“He was talking about getting the club up higher,” Rueschhoff said. “What Bill was telling me was very appreciated because it wasn’t stupid advice. He told me I had a great swing, but I’m just not doing a couple of things to really get that clubhead through.”

Rueschhoff’s other recent golf thrill was a vicarious one. Dave and Lisa Rueschhoff’s son Austin, a Colorado State student who had been studying in a summer program in Brussels, purchased a cheap student ticket to the British Open, traveled by train and was sitting in the 18th-green bleachers when Stewart Cink birdied the hole and Tom Watson later bogeyed it.

Tournament for Vick?

Have I got a golf tournament for Michael Vick: Pars for Pets, which benefits the Lawrence Humane Society. I suggested to KU Law Professor Bill Westerbeke, the tourney organizer, that Vick should be the guest speaker. What better way to show sincere contrition than for the once and future quarterback who spent time in the slammer for badly mistreating dogs to surround himself with dog lovers and to help them raise money for a great cause? The tournament is Monday, Aug. 24, at Alvamar private. Westerbeke didn’t seem too keen on the idea.

Lew’s tourney highlight

The highlight of this summer’s Lew Perkins Golf Classic came when it was announced Lew and Gwen Perkins made a personal donation of $10,000 to Douglas County Special Olympics.

Henrickson’s tourney

It will be interesting to see how many golfers will sign up for the Bonnie Henrickson Golf Tournament considering interest was so big a year ago that both courses at Alvamar filled up and that was before Bonnie’s team captured the city’s fancy with its memorable charge all the way to the WNIT title game. Registration closes Monday for the Aug. 15 tourney.

Woodland’s highlight

Former KU golfer Gary Woodland, sidelined for the rest of the season by shoulder surgery, said the highlight of his year came when he played in the U.S. Open and shot a 66 in the second round. Typical of how things went because he was playing hurt all year, Woodland faded in the late rounds, shooting rounds of 76 and 77. Woodland’s shoulder gave him more trouble late in tournaments because of the wear-and-tear of competing on consecutive days.

“It was great,” Woodland said of competing in the U.S. Open. “The atmosphere reminded me of a basketball crowd.”

Woodland played basketball for Washburn University before transferring to KU to concentrate on golf.

H-O-R-S-E with Chalmers

Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers, in town for his charity golf tournament, will compete against other former KU players in a H-O-R-S-E challenge today in front of Crown Toyota, 3430 Iowa St. It will take place from noon to 1 p.m. An autograph session is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

LAGA benefit

The Lawrence Amateur Golf Association, which has been behind the golf event of all golf events in Lawrence, the City Tournament, is expanding by getting behind another benefit, a two-person Life Support Scramble, Friday at Alvamar.

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