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PGA to Take Over Tapemark Tourney

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May 10, 2018

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The Klas family is ending its 47-year commitment to the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am in June. Sports Headliners has learned the Minnesota PGA will take over the golf tournament in 2019 and beyond.

Pat Cody (left) & Bob Klas Sr.

The inspiration for the tournament was Frances Klas, who was born mentally retarded in 1951. Her dad and mom, Bob and Sandy Klas, learned about organizations available to assist children like Frances, and they wanted to help raise awareness and funds for them. To accomplish those goals, Bob started the tournament with Tapemark company partner Tom Cody.

Bob Klas Jr., who is CEO of the nonprofit Pro-Am, said after the 2018 tournament more than $8 million will have been raised through the years to assist agencies serving Minnesotans with developmental disabilities. That total will include revenues from bingo operations in West St. Paul.

Bob Jr. said the tournament that attracts many of Minnesota’s best professional golfers has through its funding and publicity made many lives better for people with disabilities. “I find it fulfilling to know the time, energy and effort allowed us to support the agencies in a very tangible way,” he said.

With his executive position at the West St. Paul based Tapemark company, and work on behalf of the Pro-Am, Bob Jr. has been busy over the years. The last couple of years he began to question whether he had the energy to continue his leadership of the golf tournament. He had his 65th birthday earlier this year, and his dad is 91 and unable to help much with the tournament now. “The odds of me getting younger are less than 50-50,” Bob Jr. joked.

Conversations started awhile ago to transition the tournament over to the Minnesota PGA. “There is never a perfect time to walk away, but this seems right,” Bob Jr. said. “It feels good to know it will be taken over by an organization that wants to do a first class golf tournament.”

Plans are for the Minnesota PGA to keep the tournament at Southview Country Club in West St. Paul. As the only tournament that section pros participate in, it is important to the PGA to see the tournament continue. The PGA will direct revenues to causes important to that organization including junior golf and college scholarships, Bob Jr. said.

Among the successful pros who have won the tournament multiple times are Don Berry and George Shortridge. Then there is a fellow named Tom Lehman who was starting his pro career in 1990 when he won the Tapemark. He went on to become the only golfer ever claiming title to the British Open, Scottish Open and Tapemark championships.

This year’s men’s tournament will be June 8-10, with the women’s event June 10.

Worth Noting

Bill Fitch, the former Gopher coach who went on to win an NBA title with the Celtics, is retired and living in the Houston area. He follows the NBA closely and was asked about the Timberwolves. “I’d let them know they’re better than what they’ve shown,” he said to Sports Headliners.

The Wolves were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs and there is speculation team unity might be an issue. Fitch said if he were coaching a group with chemistry problems there would be an offseason team party at his house, a planned wake-up call. The message: if the players aren’t on the same page in training camp, they will wear out the court from all the running ordered by the coach. “You can’t win without it (unity),” Fitch said.

How do the Timberwolves improve their personnel? Add another big player to push center Karl-Anthony Towns in practice and help him in games, Fitch suggested. “You never have enough strong big men,” he said.

Former Timberwolf Mike Miller, the South Dakota native, is an assistant coach on the Memphis Tigers staff. Ex-Wolf player and coach Sam Mitchell might also join new head coach Penny Hardaway with the Tigers.

It’s been whispered for months Oklahoma State will be the Gophers opponent in a December men’s basketball game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Media reports Tuesday confirmed that information. The Tulsaworld.com also reported Minnesota will play a game with OSU during the 2019-20 season at Tulsa’s BOK Center.

Although no date has been given, it’s believed the Gophers-Cowboys game at U.S. Bank Stadium will be on Saturday, December 1. A second game involving Division I teams is expected to be played on the same date.

The St. Thomas and Wisconsin-River Falls men’s basketball teams will play a Division III game at the stadium Friday, November 30.

The Tommies’ incoming freshmen next season will include Sam Vascellaro, a 6-4 forward who is the son of WCCO TV’s Frank Vascellaro and Amelia Santaniello.

The Gopher women’s basketball team’s incoming group of five scholarship players includes no one from the state of Minnesota. Look for that to change for sure in future years under new head coach Lindsay Whalen who will have strong relationships with state prep coaches. Whalen recently added Utah native and point guard Mercedes Staples to the incoming class.

The Twins are on a five-game winning streak, their longest of the season, and all the wins have come on the road. Their 10-game, 11-day road trip continues tonight in Anaheim against the Angels with Jose Berrios, 3-3 with a 3.98 ERA, starting for Minnesota. See if Berrios relies a lot on his fastball and avoids too many breaking pitches.

The Cardinals, who the Twins swept earlier this week, drafted Paul Molitor as a high school player at Cretin-Derham Hall but he chose to attend the University of Minnesota before eventually joining the Brewers organization.

Molitor and Derek Falvey, the Twins chief baseball officer, speak to the Twin Cities Dunkers group on May 23.

The Dunkers recently awarded more than $120,000 to Minneapolis and St. Paul high school athletic programs, according to the Dunkers website. Over eight years close to $600,000 has been given to help supplement athletic budgets.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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