Golf notebook: Palm Springs Golf Classic co-founder dies

Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

--Ernie Dunlevie, one of the founding fathers of the 1960 Palm Springs Golf Classic, now known as the Humana Challenge, died from complications of cancer at the age of 96.
Dunlevie was the last surviving founding board member of the tournament, which was called the Bob Hope Classic from 1965-2011. He served as the tournament's president five times. He also served on the original board of the Eisenhower Medical Center.
"Mr. Dunlevie, through his vision, dedication and love of his fellow man, helped conceive and build a professional golf tournament that literally changed the cultural and economic fabric of our desert communities," said Bob Marra, executive director and of the Humana Challenge.
"He is one of the all-time great local legends who will always be remembered with respect and gratitude."
Dunlevie was instrumental in helping to develop Bermuda Dunes Country Club, which included Bermuda Dunes Airport and the Racquet Club, now Murph's Gaslight Restaurant, in addition to the Eisenhower Medical Center.
Since 1960, Desert Classic Charities, the non-profit entity that organizes the Humana Challenge, has donated more than $52 million to Eisenhower Medical Center and numerous other non-profit organizations in the Coachella Valley.
Born in New York City and a World War II veteran, Dunlevie spent most of his life in the Coachella Valley and became one of Arnold Palmer's closest friends after Palmer captured the inaugural Palm Springs Golf Classic in 1960.
Dunlevie also played an integral role in bringing iconic entertainer Bob Hope to host the golf tournament, and he was friends with other celebrities such as Howard Hughes and Clark Gable, serving as a pallbearer at Gable's funeral.
--The World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla., announced there will be no induction ceremony next year as a review continues on the process for selecting new members.
After the 2013 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors instructed the Hall of Fame to begin the comprehensive review.
"I think it's time," said Jack Peter, chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame. "Hitting the reset button is an overused phrase, but with 15 years of history, we've learned a lot, and so the board said, 'Let's look at all this.'"
The focus is on the evaluation of the criteria and process for selecting candidates in all five avenues of induction, in addition to reviewing production of the annual induction ceremony, including the date and location.
The Board of Directors and the Hall of Fame said the next induction ceremony would take place on the Monday before the Players Championship, on May 4, 2015.
The review is expected to be completed early in 2014.
--Michael Campbell of New Zealand, who captured the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, withdrew from his fourth consecutive European Tour event, the Portugal Masters at Oceanico Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura, Portugal.
Sidelined lately by injuries and illness, Campbell this time was forced to withdraw and return home to New Zealand because his father, Tom, is not well.
Campbell was forced out of the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland last month because of a bout with food poisoning.
The following week, he pulled out of the KLM Open at Kennemer Golf and Country Club in Zandvoort, Netherlands, because he twisted his left ankle by stepping in a hole.
Campbell tried to play in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship but withdrew after playing only five holes at Kingsbarns in Scotland because he has having trouble walking on the ankle.
He was looking forward to playing in Portugal because he finished third there last year, two strokes behind winner Shane Lowry of Ireland.
--Lydia Ko, the 16-year-old phenom from New Zealand, announced that she will turn pro for her next tournament, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico, next month.
Ko petitioned the LPGA Tour for full-time membership, which usually is restricted to players 18 and older, but she is likely to receive an exemption because she proved she can play with the best women golfers in the world.
She won the tour's RBC Canadian Women's Open the last two years and is No. 5 in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings.
Only Inbee Park of South Korea, Suzann Pettersen of Norway, Stacy Lewis of the United States and So Yeon Ryu of South Korea are ahead of her in the rankings.
"If she plays any pro events now, she will play as a pro," Tina Hyon, Ko's mother, told the Golf Channel.
Ko, who captured the 2012 U.S. Women's Amateur, became the youngest winner of a women's professional event when she captured the 2012 Bing Lee Samsung Women's New South Wales Open at age 14.
Later that year, after turning 15 on April 24, she became the youngest player to win on the LPGA Tour when she captured the first of her two Canadian Open titles.
Had she been a professional this year, Ko would have made $934,987 in earnings on the course, including more than a $500,000 in her last two starts, her second victory in Canada and a runner-up finish at the Evian Championship, the final LPGA Tour major of the season.
Last week, Ko received the Mark H. McCormack Medal as the top women's amateur in the world for the third consecutive year from the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.
--The inaugural PGA Tour Courage Award was pretty much a no-brainer.
Erik Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient who carved out a career on the PGA Tour, received the award last week before the start of the Open.
The PGA Tour Courage Award is for players who overcame extraordinary adversity to make meaningful contributions to golf.
"It's a very special moment for me," said Compton, who has seven wins as a pro but has yet to break through on the PGA Tour.
"When (they called) and let me know that I was awarded the Courage Award, I actually walked around the block and had a moment to myself. I was very emotional."
Compton was diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy at age 9 and had his first heart transplant three years later in 1992. He had a heart attack in 2008 and required a second transplant.
His best finish on the PGA Tour is tie for fourth this year at the Honda Classic.
The PGA Tour Courage Award includes a $25,000 donation to the charity of the winner's choice. Compton said the money would be split between the Cardiovascular Institute of Miami and the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation.
--The PGA of America and NBC Sports Group reached an agreement under which NBC will televise eight more Ryder Cups through 2030.
NBC has telecast the Ryder Cup, which pits the best golfers from the United States against those from Europe, since 1991, and it will air the event next year from Gleneagles Resort in Scotland.
In addition, the Senior PGA Championship also will continue to be telecast live on the Golf Channel, on weekdays, and on NBC, on the weekends, through 2030.
The Golf Channel also will continue its live coverage of all four rounds of
the PGA Professional National Championship, an event for club pros and teachers.
The agreement includes new programming of the Ryder Cup, including preview shows, vignettes, features, reports and points updates on NBC and the Golf Channel.
A Ryder Cup documentary series will be shown on both networks. Live coverage of practice rounds will air for the first time. The Ryder Cup Captain Selection Show will run on the Golf Channel, and Ryder Cup highlight programming will be featured on Telemundo and Mun2 to expand Hispanic viewership opportunities.
--Nick Faldo, making his Champions Tour debut, was forced to withdraw after 12 holes when he aggravated a left elbow injury in the first round of the SAS Championship at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C.
Faldo, a six-time major champion from England who is the lead golf analyst for CBS Sports, was 1 over par when he called it quits after hitting his tee shot on the 13th hole.
"I'm furious because I came here wanting to play," said the 56-year-old Faldo, who last played in the Open Championship at Muirfield in July. "I've got a tear in my capsule in my left elbow.
"I've been doing fine (lately), but now I can't grip the (club). ... I can't hit the darn thing. You don't know whether you're going to flinch and hit it left or right. Tournament golf asks a little bit more, doesn't it?"
Faldo did not make a birdie, but he holed his second shot from the fairway for an eagle on the fifth hole before the injury flared up when he made a simple gesture with his putter on the sixth green.
He was committed to play this week in the Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn in Conover, N.C., but it is questionable whether he will tee off there.

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