Local golf fans will get a chance to see Utah's PGA Tour contingent Monday morning when Mike Reid, Dan Forsman, Keith Clearwater and Jay Don Blake play in the annual KUTV Skins Game in conjunction with the Provo Open.
Like a year ago, the once-fearsome foursome, will come to Utah in the midst of mediocre seasons in the PGA Tour.Of the four, who among them won more than $10 million with nine victories on the PGA Tour, only Blake ranks among the top 100 money-winners this year at No. 91 with $94,667.
Clearwater has bounced back from his disastrous '95 campaign and has already almost doubled his winnings from last year and ranks No. 113 with $68,473. Reid and Forsman are down the list at 142 and 147, respectively.
Still it's somewhat amazing that four of the top 150 golfers in America live in a state such as Utah that doesn't even have year-round golf.
The four pros will be vying for $25,000 in prize money over nine holes beginning at 10 a.m. at East Bay Golf Course. The first three holes are worth $1,000, the next three $2,000 and the next two $5,000 and the final hole $6,000.
Last year, Reid was the big winner, picking up $16,000, while the year before it was Forsman who took home $14,000.
The 54-hole Novell Provo Open begins Thursday and runs through Saturday. This year's first prize has been hiked up to $10,000 from $6,000 last year and $4,000 the year before.
SPIKELESS IN SALT LAKE: Tired of spiked up, uneven greens, The Salt Lake Country Club decided this spring to implement a "spikeless" policy on its greens for a couple of months.
In other words, no traditional metal spiked golf shoes are allowed. Instead golfers must wear new spikeless shoes, tennis or running shoes, or replace their metal spikes with spikeless inserts.
It's been such a success that the Country Club board is expected to make the policy permanent at its next board meeting this week.
Head pro Ron Branca admits he was skeptical of the experiment at first, but he's turned into a strong proponent already.
"I was not for it, but I'm converted," said Branca. "The greens are much better. It's a world of difference. In the afternoons when they used to be all spiked up, they're like carpet now."
Hidden Valley Country Club is also in the middle of a two-month spikeless experiment that could also turn out to be permanent.
Although it might be a good idea, don't look for any public courses to become spikeless in the near future. It would be too hard to deny a golfer with money in his hands a round of golf because he was wearing golf spikes, let alone trying to police such a policy.
STRAY SHOTS: Clubs For Kids Programs will be held at Nibley Park Golf Course Saturday at 10 a.m. and at Swan Lakes the following Saturday . . . Has anyone noticed those commercials promoting the Skins Game, which spell Forsman's name "Forseman"? . . . Ryan Job will defend his title at the Salt Lake City Amateur Saturday and Sunday at Bonneville GC . . . Spots are still open for the Bobby Reeves Memorial golf tournament which benefits the American Cancer Society. The "Coaches Against Cancer" tourney is June 5 with a scramble format, featuring the state's football coaches. For more info, call 566-3254 or 483-1500.