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Could labeling players with numbers help grow golf’s popularity?

On a weekend when NASCAR’s South Point 400 was raced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a PGA Jr. League (the Little League of golf) regional playoff was played at Boulder Creek, here was a crazy thought:

Should PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players be labeled with numbers just as racers and PGA Jr. League competitors are?

Martin Truex, Jr., No. 19, won the race while the San Ramon all-stars — each wearing numerals on the uniform— advanced to the finals Oct. 11-14 at Greyhawk in Scottsdale.

An ongoing issue for golf has been the creation of superstars who are easily recognizable by avid and casual fans, so maybe players with numbers could help.

Using NASCAR as the example, Dale Earnhardt was arguably the sport’s biggest superstar. But looming nearly as large as his “Big E” persona was his number three. His son, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was synonymous with the No. 8 and no driver ever wants to see the No. 18 of Las Vegas’ Kyle Busch in the rearview mirror.

Numbers only add to a driver’s mystique and the same could happen for golfers, but who knows if it would be feasible for every tournament. However, it would be compelling as a one-off.

Players wearing numbers for one tournament would be unique and generate additional exposure for PGA Junior League through a partnership. Tour players would love it and a “number draft” could be held prior to the tournament when players choose his or her favorite number based on order of season ranking. Most of us have a sentimental favorite number so learning why a player chooses certain digits would provide interesting storylines.

Possibly moving this idea forward is recent video of NBA superstar Steph Curry, a PGA Jr. League ambassador, sinking a long putt at a charity event while looking cool in a PGA Jr. League golf shirt with his highly-recognizable number 30 on the back.

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open tournament director Patrick Lindsey should have full license to pursue this idea.

PGA of America professionals are the coaches of PGA Jr. League teams at various Southern Nevada courses. Information is available at PGAJrLeague.com.

Kang reps USA

LPGA Tour player and Las Vegas resident Danielle Kang still enjoyed her Solheim Cup experience despite the USA’s close loss to Europe, 14.5-13.5. Kang was 1-3 in the matches including a 1-up loss to Carlota Ciganda in the Sunday singles as part of the day’s first match.

“Best team I’ve ever been on, in anything,” Kang tweeted shortly after Europe’s Suzann Pettersen sank the dramatic winning putt.

Ganir plays U.S. Mid-Amateur

Kamden Ganir, a Southern Nevada Golf Association and Angel Park employee, qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur in Colorado, which was his first USGA national tournament. He shot 73-78—151 and missed the cut to the match play portion.

Topgolf Monday night madness

A Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association fundraiser is Oct. 14 at Topgolf and features 3 hours of play, buffet dinner, prizes and more. Sign up at SouthernNevadaJuniorGolf.com.

The golf notebook appears Wednesdays. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider.

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