Bill Israelson got the band back together and is hoping for a successful reunion tour.
While Israelson isn't much of a lead singer, he knows his way around a golf course and that's what Kyra Ladd, Steve Benson, Kurt Muesing and Brad Anderson are banking on when they travel back to the 2004 Buick Scramble National Championship in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 7-10.
This same group won the net title in 2002 and was the first to be presented the trophy by Tiger Woods in 2002.
"You see (Tiger) on TV and all that stuff and people want to get a piece of him all the time," said Israelson. "He was pretty patient with us. He's a pretty sharp guy, too. When there wasn't the pressure of the audience, when we were behind the ropes, he was very accommodating with autographs or anything we might want from him. I went away very impressed with him."
A team of Brainerd lakes area golfers from The Vintage was joined by Tiger Woods after winning the Buick Scramble National Championship in 2002.
Muesing said it was everything he expected it to be and nothing he expected it to be.
"He just kind of came in there and handed out the trophies," said Muesing. "After the ceremony he hung out and gave us all autographs. It was neat. You kind of expected an air about him, but there wasn't."
The fivesome can create more history if they repeat as champions. No other team has repeated as champion. But Israelson said what makes this team so good is its relaxed attitude. Even during the final of the 2002 tournament, the team remained calm.
"We have a lot of fun," said Israelson. "Steve has the same job as I do as Mr. Mom and we spend a lot of time together. I've known Brad since he was playing college golf and I just met Curt, who's from Brainerd, who works with Brad. We have good chemistry. We have a good mix of power and putters."
Israelson said there is more pressure for the team to advance to the national tournament than at the tournament. He said the fact that the tournament is a scramble lends for a more laid-back atmosphere. That and all the other family attractions that go along with the tournament.
When: Oct. 7-10
Where: Orlando, Fla.
Who: The Vintage at Staples (Bill Israelson, Kyra Ladd, Steve Benson, Kurt Muesing, Brad Anderson)
"It's a pretty relaxed type of tournament," said Israelson, who will be making his fourth trip since 1999 to the tournament. "It's a really nice family vacation. We can go to all the amusement parks in Orlando. Then you play some golf and go to all the fun stuff again. It's five days of non-stop activities. That's what makes it so much fun."
Muesing said he enjoys competing against teams from all over the country. He said it's a different flavor from playing local tournaments.
"Buick does a really nice job with everything," said Muesing. "They give you complimentary cars to and from the golf course. They have the nice parties. This year it's at Universal Studios. It's a good opportunity to go down with friends and spend four days in Florida."
Under Buick Scramble rules after a team wins the national title, no more than two people can be on the same team for two years.
Teams qualify for a regional tournament at local qualifiers. The foursome of Ladd, Benson, Muesing and Anderson qualified at the Vintage at Staples where Israelson is the head PGA professional. From there Israelson latches on and helps the team at regionals.
The Vintage at Staples advanced to the national tournament by shooting a net 56 in the regional qualifier at Prestwick Golf Course in Woodbury Aug. 3.
The team, made of four amateurs (Ladd, Benson, Muesing and Anderson) and one PGA professional (Israelson) will compete against 107 other teams from throughout the United States and Canada. The winning team receives up to $285,000 in winnings. The PGA professional receives cash, while the amateurs receive gift certificates.
Making the trip even more fun for the Vintage team will be competing against a team from the Meadows Golf Course in Moorhead. That team consists of Glen Hasselberg, Joe Hasselberg, Bruce Lund and Missy Tabery, who are from Staples or Wadena. The foursome will team with Mark W. Johnson from Moorhead for the national tournament
"With Glen on the team, they're the favorites," said Israelson. "We're former champions, but as long as Glen's on a team they'll be favored to win."
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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