Nationwide Tour eyes adding All-American status next year

Nationwide Tour president Bill Calfee said he's been pondering a new status level for the tour.

It's something that he's tossed around like many other ideas that either get dismissed or advanced along.

Perhaps, he could call it All-American status.

"We ought to create and eligibility category for first-team All-American golfers," Calfee said Wednesday at Black Creek Club. "It makes sense to take a look at a segment of players like that who are going to be the future stars of the PGA Tour and give them experience on the Nationwide Tour."

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men's golf coach Mark Guhne is on the All-American selection committee, and had Jonathan Hodge on the second-team in 2008.

He loves the idea and will ponder how to make it work before getting in touch with Calfee to gauge the possible implementation of such status in future years.

"It's a huge honor to be an All-American and guys like that have already played in a tour event or two or on the Walker Cup team and been on big stages," Guhne said. "It would bring a little more interest to college golf and we could find a way to follow 10 guys all year like they do with 'The 25.'"

College players and recent graduates, such as Luke List, Bryce Ledford, Paul Apyan Jr., Adam Mitchell and others have played in the Chattanooga Classic. And two college kids - Russell Henley of Georgia and defending NCAA medalist Scott Langley tied for 16th at the U.S. Open. More proof that college kids can play comes from Ryder Cup participant Rickie Fowler who played in the NCAA championship just 15 months ago.

"Look at a lot of our top players this year," Calfee said. "They're former NCAA champs and All-Americans.

"There are more top players in the game today and the way to the PGA Tour is thorugh the Nationwide Tour."

Foot injury ends Tomasulo's week

Peter Tomasulo, No. 13 on the Nationwide Tour money list, withdrew from the Chattanooga Classic on Wednesday after breaking a bone in his right foot Tuesday night.

Tomasulo participated in a pick-up basketball game in McKenzie Arena organized by Ken Duke, Josh Broadaway and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball coach John Shulman.

"It was a real fun game until I tweaked my ankle and it was a little clumsy accident I had," Tomasulo said. "It wasn't during a play. I just stepped on it funny. At first I tweaked it and was going to keep playing, then I decided to go because it started swelling up."

Tomasulo, who visited Erlanger Hospital in the afternoon for a charity event, drove himself back in the evening after suffering his injury.

The 28-year-old will miss this event, next week in Miami, the week after in Jacksonville and is questionable to play in the Nationwide Tour championship Oct. 25-31 in Charleston, S.C.

"Hopefully I can get myself health enough to walk around the Tour championship," Tomasulo said. "It was a fun, laid-back game and it wasn't like it was that intense."

Long Drive competition

Vaughn Dickson and Matt Riggs found the creek that protects the ninth green.

And they did so with 370-plus yard drives from the back teeing ground during Tuesday's long-drive competition.

Dickson launched his ball 373 yards to beat Riggs by one yard.

"It would have gone at least 400 if the creek wasn't in the way," said Dickson, the defending champion from Dalton. "It's hard to hit a good drive with the creek in the way."

The official Black Creek yardage book says that it's 403 yards from the back tees to the front of the green.

"If you gave me 10 balls, I know I'd put one on the green," Riggs said.

Other winners were Frank Harris in the super-senior division, Hank Confrancesco in the senior division and Sharon Richards in the ladies division.

Notable Tee Times

Off No. 1 - Eric Axley, 8:40; Kyle Stanley, 9; Kevin Chappell, 12:50; Len Mattiace, 1:10; Scott Stallings, 1:20; Kyle Reifers, 1:30.

Off No. 10 - Jason Gore, 8:10; Bryce Ledford, 9:40; Luke List and Casey Wittenberg, 1:10; Ron Whittaker, 1:30.