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North Shore may be too short for PGA Tour event

An exemption would have allowed Brad Faxon to play in this week's Travelers Championship, the PGA Tour event in Connecticut he won in 2005.

But after passing on the Encompass Championship last year, he decided to join the 50-and-over set this week. The appeal of North Shore Country Club was one reason.

"It's beautiful," said Faxon, also a Golf Channel analyst. "The (practice) range seems nice, and (Tuesday) before the rain, this course was firm and fast."

Officials from the PGA Tour, Western Golf Association and BMW likely will be looking for a Chicago-area course for the 2017 BMW Championship. It will be played at Conway Farms in Lake Forest in 2015, and the plan is to return to Chicago every other year.

Most expect Conway Farms to bow out after 2015, leaving possibilities such as Olympia Fields, the Glen Club, Medinah No. 1 and North Shore.

But would the game's best tear up this 1917 Harry Colt layout in Glenview?

"Yeah, they'd tear it up," Faxon said. "You'd have to change the (par) 5s to 4s, make it a (par) 70. At 7,100 (yards), it's not long enough if it plays firm and fast.

"You could make it make it tricky-tough because the greens are small. I'm not sure if there is the square footage … to stick all the (TV) production trucks."

Asked the same question, Hal Sutton replied simply: "This would be short for them."

Showtime: Chris Collins hopes his golf game is ready for public display.

"It better be," the Northwestern basketball coach said. "I can't embarrass myself out there."

Collins has a 7.1 handicap index and often breaks 80, but he'll be nervous when he tees it up Friday and Saturday in the celebrity portion of the Encompass Championship.

He would have been paired with D.A. Weibring, a family friend who attended Illinois State with father Doug Collins. An injury has shelved Weibring, so Collins will play with Russ Cochran, a college basketball fan from Kentucky who won the 1991 Western Open.

"When you're on a stage with people watching, you're out of your realm," Collins said. "I'll have butterflies, but that's what you love about it."

Other celebrities slated to play are Brian Urlacher, Patrick Mannelly, Gary Fencik, Joe Theismann, Jeremy Roenick, Toni Kukoc and Golf Channel's Gary Williams. Kyle Long (back) pulled out, and Roger Clemens apparently won't be coming after Texas and son Kacy advanced in the College World Series on Wednesday.

Colin card: Colin Montgomerie will make his first appearance in Chicago since the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah, where he missed the cut. Montgomerie won 31 European Tour events but never had triumphed in the U.S. until winning the Senior PGA Championship last month at Harbor Shores in Michigan.

Now, at 50, he brings his trademark iron game and new demeanor to North Shore.

"I think you do mellow with age," he said.

Regarding Chicago, he said: "It's a lovely setting on the lake, and I've always enjoyed the Magnificent Mile. My last trip was for the Miracle at Medinah (the 2012 Ryder Cup), a good memory for the Europeans, not as good for the Americans. I look forward to going back."

tgreenstein@tribune.com

Twitter @TeddyGreenstein

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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