Kite in spotlight at breakfast

From The Sports Desk

March 08, 2011|By Steve Virgen,
(Don Leach / Daily…)

Breakfast With A Champion is an annual event during Toshiba Classic week in Newport Beach. The event is presented by the Allergan Foundation. Allergan, the pharmaceutical giant, is known for skin enhancements, including Botox. So every year, there is at least one joke about that, usually in relation to Newport Beach and Orange County.

Tom Kite, the World Golf Hall of Famer and featured speaker Tuesday morning, joked about it too, but referred to the tour he's playing on.

"The Champions Tour is our Botox," Kite said of the tour for golfers 50 and older. "We used to be called the Senior Tour. We went to sleep one night as seniors and woke up champions."

That caused laughter, followed by applause from the audience of around 450 at Balboa Bay Club & Resort.

Kite, who will compete in the 17th Toshiba Classic at Newport Beach Country Club Friday, is 61. He's also certainly accomplished enough to offer his take on Tiger Woods. It seems like everyone on the Champions Tour is being asked about Tiger.


Hank Adler, the Toshiba Classic chairman emeritus and question-and-answer moderator, made sure to ask about the famous golfer trying to regain his dominant form.

Same question, not much of a different answer.

Kite said if he were Tiger he would watch film of when he played at his best because that's what Kite has done in the past.

"Go to 2000," he said.

Kite also said Tiger was the best player in the game when he had Butch Harmon as a swing coach.

"Tiger has not been as good since then," Kite said.

Last week, Lee Trevino, who's also in the Toshiba Classic, also suggested Tiger go back to the film. Trevino also said to get rid of so many people who coach him.

Kite was more candid and humorous when he talked about his own past. Adler asked about sharing the NCAA individual championship with Ben Crenshaw.

"I don't know if I ever should say that the NCAA did something right, but they did the right thing there," Kite quipped.

He admitted he didn't like the sharing of the title at the time, but has grown to appreciate it as the years went by. Crenshaw, who is also in the Toshiba Classic, remains a close friend.

Kite, a 19-time PGA Tour winner, also talked about his 1992 U.S. Open victory, as well as his Ryder Cup experiences. He credited his father, as well as famed instructor Harvey Penick and other role models for his success.

"He's a gentleman, he's the real deal," Adler said of Kite. "It was just an honor to be sitting next to him for 45 minutes.

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