If some lucky kid is in the right place at the right time at Torrey Pines Golf Course this weekend, he or she might be the recipient of a golf ball, courtesy of PGA Tour pro Bill Lunde.
The former UNLV star, who is at home in San Diego this week playing the Buick Invitational as a tour rookie, recalls going to the event at Torrey Pines with his grandfather when Lunde was 8 years old and having Fuzzy Zoeller toss him a ball.
“I was on the fifth green, and as he was walking off to go to the next hole, he handed me his golf ball,” Lunde said. “When you’re 8 years old, that’s like the greatest thing in the world. You would think they just handed you a gold brick.”
Lunde said if he changes balls during one of his rounds, he has instructed his caddie to hand off the old ball to a youngster.
“Hopefully, it feels the same even though there’s a good chance he might not know who I am,” Lunde said.
• PRANK GONE AWRY — It’s common in pro sports for athletes to pull pranks on each other away from the field.
In Hawaii this week, members of the AFC Pro Bowl team were out by a pool when offensive linemen Nick Mangold of the Jets and Kris Dielman of the Chargers tossed Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler into the water while Colts QB Peyton Manning grabbed Cutler’s cell phone.
Great fun. Big laughs. There was just one problem. Cutler has Type 1 diabetes, and his blood-sugar monitor was in his pocket.
“That was a prank where I thought we were smart enough to get the cell phone out of his pocket,” Dielman told the Denver Post. “But then, ‘Oops.’ “
Fortunately, Cutler was able to make a few calls and quickly get a new monitor.
• PAY TO PARTY — The infield experience at the 2009 Preakness will feature less beer, more music and 240 tons of sand.
Preakness officials announced Thursday that fans will not be allowed to bring in beverages to the public infield at Pimlico Race Course on race day, May 16. In the past, spectators were permitted to carry an unlimited number of coolers filled with cans of beer. The new policy forbids this practice, although the track will sell 16-ounce beers for $3.50 apiece.
Also, the rock group ZZ Top and Grammy-nominated Buckcherry will perform, along with a yet-to-be-named third group. The Toyota Pro Beach East Volleyball Tour will launch its 2009 season in the infield, playing on an area covered with an estimated 240 tons of sand.
“It’s time for our public infield customers to enjoy a new way to party,” Maryland Jockey Club president and CEO Tom Chuckas said.
At the same old price: Tickets for the infield will remain at $50 in advance and $60 on race day.
• PHANTOM MOVE — The Philadelphia Flyers are about to lose a unique arrangement, as their American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms, has been sold and will be moving.
The Phantoms play at the Spectrum, the Flyers’ old home and a quick walk from the Wachovia Center, where the Flyers reside. The Spectrum is being torn down this fall.
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL