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Archive for Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Coaches to trade hoops for tees

Self, Huggins face off today in Skins Game

June 27, 2006

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— Bill Self and Bob Huggins figure to engage in some memorable battles on the bench in coming basketball seasons.

Today, they will tangle - good-naturedly, of course - on the golf course in the Roberts Dairy Skins Game, a celebrity nine-hole competition held annually in conjunction with the Greater Kansas City Golf Classic.

Three teams - Self and Tom Watson; Huggins and Jim Colbert; and George Brett and Dana Quigley - will tee it up at 3 p.m. at Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate. Any Skins winnings - each hole will be worth a certain amount of money - will go toward charity.

"Tell Self I'm going to need some strokes - about five a side," said new Kansas State University coach Huggins, who indicated he's a 23-handicap golfer.

"I would tell Bob Huggins I've been hustled before, and I'm certainly not going to let him hustle me," Kansas coach Self, a 13-handicapper, responded with a laugh.

Actually Huggins, who has a bad back, is unsure how many holes he'll be able to play today. At one time he was known as an excellent golfer.

"I used to be able to hit it 275. When you do that, you never have to hit a 3-iron," Huggins said. "Now I'm lucky I can hit it 225. Ever since I hurt my shoulder I can't hit the ball."

He hurt his left shoulder in 2002 when he fell after suffering a heart attack. Why not get the shoulder repaired, coach?

"Get cut on to become a better golfer? I'm not going to do that," Huggins said. "I've been cut on enough."

Self, who hasn't been able to golf as much as he'd like his first three years at KU, also is no slouch on the course. In fact, he's been known to hit some outstanding shots in his previous three appearances as Watson's partner at the Skins Game, including last year's 300-yard drive on the first hole.

"My game strength is I pick partners well," Self said.

He's definitely a fan of golf great Watson, a KU fan who was paired with Roy Williams at the Skins event in years prior to Self's taking the Jayhawk job. In 1994, Watson and baseball Hall of Famer Brett were celebrity coaches at KU's season-opening Late Night basketball event.

"He is as pure a ball striker as there is according to the so-called experts," Self said of Watson. "I'm awed by how effortless these guys like Tom make it. The easier they swing the farther it goes."

Colbert is a Kansas State graduate who has had success on both the PGA and Champions Tours. Quigley is the tourney's defending champ.

"When you are at that level they are all great, because they have such great tempo," Self said of Champions Tour golfers. "They are all nice guys, all the guys I've met on the tour. I haven't met Dana Quigley yet. I certainly know Jim Colbert and George and Bob. We'll have a good time out there.

"If I had to pick one partner, I want Tom Watson," he added.

Self said he looks forward to the annual Skins Game, though he's not always sure how he'll fare in front of a big gallery.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of people this year. I'm sure there will be a lot of K-State people, too, with Bob playing," Self said. "It's fun. It is nerve-wracking at times. You've got people lined on the fairway ... you are supposed to hit between them not at 'em."

Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate is located at 14225 Dearborn St. in Overland Park.

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