COACH GARY WILLIAMS IS MELWOOD TOURNAMENT HOST: University of Maryland alum ('68) and longtime Terrapin head basketball coach Gary Williams is tournament host for this year's Melwood Prince George's County Open, the first played at the University of Maryland Golf Course. Williams, who plays to a 13 handicap, has been the head coach in College Park for the last 21 seasons and guided the school to its first national championship in 2002.
"The players are so good on the Nationwide Tour and I think the true golf fans will come out and see just how good they are," Williams told PGATOUR.COM. Coach Williams joins several other prominent names who have or will play the role of tournament host of a Nationwide Tour event this year: Camilo Villegas/Juan Pablo Montoya (Pacific Rubiales Bogotá Open), Jerry Rice (Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae), Chip Beck (Stadion Athens Classic at UGA), Wayne Gretzky (Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic), Anthony Munoz (Chiquita Classic), Arnold Palmer (Mylan Classic) and Jim Furyk (Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open).
MARYLAND GRAD BOBBY MACWHINNIE PLAYING FOR A CAUSE: Todd McClintock was 26 when he died from leukemia in 2007. Nationwide Tour rookie and 2005 University of Maryland grad Bobby MacWhinnie had known McClintock since the fifth grade living in a Pittsburgh suburb. McClintock's sister Lauren is MacWhinnie's girlfriend. Touched by Todd's death and the impact it has had on his family, MacWhinnie found a way to promote and help raise money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society by featuring the organization prominently on his golf bag. "Some of the other players on Tour and people I meet during pro-ams will ask me about it," MacWhinnie told PGATOUR.COM. "I want them to ask. I want to make them aware and hopefully get them interested in helping, in whatever way they can." To read more about this giving back story and many more involving PGA TOUR members, go to http://together.pgatour.com.
MORE U. OF MARYLAND CONNECTIONS: Nationwide Tour president Bill Calfee will be more familiar with the University of Maryland than many who attend the event this week. The former PGA TOUR member (1976-'85) is a 1971 economics graduate from the school where he was Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a two-time All-American in golf. A trio of former Terrapin golfers have been granted sponsor exemptions: Nationwide Tour rookie Blaine Peffley, U. of M. Golf Course assistant Blair Kennedy and PGA member George Bradford. Former PGA TOUR commissioner and the man behind the formation of the Nationwide Tour in 1990, Deane Beman, is also a U. of Maryland alumnus, as is PGA TOUR co-chief operating officer Charlie Zink, who was a teammate of Calfee's on the Terrapin golf team.
WIN COUNT ADDS ANOTHER, NO. 275: Zach Johnson claimed Nationwide Tour alumni win No. 275 on Sunday when he captured the PGA TOUR's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. It was Johnson's seventh title since joining the TOUR after capturing Nationwide Tour Player of the Year honors in 2003 and with it his PGA TOUR card for 2004. He is already 32nd on the career earnings list with more than $18.6 million. Johnson's win was the 15th time in 23 events this year that a Nationwide Tour alumnus has won on TOUR. Similar to last week in Dallas, only two of the 12 top finishers at Colonial were not Nationwide Tour alumni, one being Corey Pavin who has been a PGA TOUR member since 1984.
TAG RIDING IS MR. CONSISTENCY: Despite not winning, no player has been more consistent on the Nationwide Tour in 2010 than Tag Ridings. The Oklahoma native who starred at the University of Arkansas has played in all 10 events this year. He made the cut in the first nine before slipping at the recent Rex Hospital Open in Raleigh, N.C. He has five top 10s, which includes a T3 and a T4. Of his nine cuts made, he has finished outside the top 25 only once (T36). Thirty-one of his 38 rounds have been par or better helping place him 6th on the money list.
TOUR WIVES PROJECT SUPPORTS FISHER HOUSE AT ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE: The Nationwide Tour Wives Association will visit Andrews Air Force Base on Wednesday morning of the Melwood Prince George's County Open presented by Under Armour to deliver baskets containing essential living needs for Fisher House and Families of the Armed Forces. Fisher House provides a "home away from home" for military families when a family member is being treated for illness, injury or disease. Carolyn Herman, wife of 2010 Moonah Classic winner Jim Herman, has chaired the activity.
JASON DAY IS PUTTING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE: Speaking on a teleconference last week to the media in his homeland of Australia, 22-year-old Jason Day reflected on his ups and downs of the last three years since earning his PGA TOUR card by finishing 5th on the 2007 Nationwide Tour money list. "I played well my first year on the Nationwide Tour and it gave me a lot of confidence going to the PGA TOUR... at the time having a few dollars under my belt, I kind of slacked off a little bit. Everyone's telling you you're the best... that kind of pushes you in the wrong direction. I wanted to win quick and now I realize it's a slow process. I just had to go through those couple of years of real hard heartache. I think it's worked out for the best. I had to pay my dues... and just keep pushing through and not giving up. I'm looking forward to the future and playing 20, 30 years of majors." Arriving on the PGA TOUR with lofty expectations, Day has suffered various physical and health issues since the end of 2007. He got married last fall to his wife Ellie, who's from Ohio.
BIRTHDAY BOYS: Celebrating birthdays on Tuesday (June 1) in Maryland are Michael Putnam of Lakewood, Wash. and Pepperdine University (turns 27) and Darron Stiles of Pinehurst, N.C. and Florida Southern College (turns 37).
NEXT WEEK: With the Knoxville Open moved from June 10-13 to August 26-29, the Nationwide Tour will be off next week before heading to Fort Smith (June 17-20) where John Daly will make his first Nationwide Tour start since 1991 and then Mexico (June 24-27).