- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 8, 2011

PEBBLE BEACH, CALIF. (AP) - Most tournament directors go to extra lengths to accommodate players, from arranging courtesy cars to making dinner reservations to securing tickets for a sporting event or concert that week.

Not many have the challenge facing Steve Timms at the Houston Open.

The Final Four is coming to town.

“I’ve already had some inquiries about it when I’ve seen guys,” Timms said.

The NCAA basketball semifinals _ one of the hottest tickets in sports _ will be April 2, the Saturday afternoon of the Houston Open. Timms already has been negotiating for tickets with the Final Four’s local organizers, along with his title sponsor, Shell Oil.

It’s a little tougher than when the Rockets are at home.

“We’re starting to round up tickets,” Timms said. “It’s going to be a tough one because the game is sold out. It’s sold out before they know who the teams are. And you know what sports fanatics these guys are. They’re going to want to go. It’s going to be an interesting challenge. It’s going to be difficult to sort out who gets the tickets and who doesn’t.”

Having the Final Four in Houston isn’t all bad. Major companies who host clients during the basketball bonanza also are looking to entertain them elsewhere during the week, and Timms has noticed an increase in groups looking to do something at the Houston Open.

Timms isn’t the only tournament director with a big sporting event in town the week of the PGA Tour.

The NBA All-Star Game will be at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 20, about two hours after the final round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. Tournament officials already have received plenty of requests for tickets.

Then again, the tournament director in L.A. is Jerry West, who has a little more pull.

“If they come in and play, we’ll do everything for them,” West said. “I’ve been able to secure tickets through contacts of mine, and help from the NBA, and a couple of other contacts were kind enough to donate a suite. So we’ve had opportunities available for them to go.”

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TIGER’S PRO-AM: Tiger Woods didn’t realize until he returned to the PGA Tour this year that his poor season in 2010 caused him to lose his preferred crack-of-dawn tee times in the pro-am.

But it’s not as bad as it seems for Woods.

Story Continues →