Officials of the 2009 U.S. Women's Open at Saucon Valley Country Club are busy presenting ticket promotions and volunteer opportunities to the public for the holiday season.

No, that's not a misprint. We are talking about the


Women's Open.

Then again, few people are as capable of getting the word out as Mimi Griffin, executive director of the Women's Open and a top official of the 1992 and 2000 U.S. Senior Opens when they were held at Saucon Valley in Bethlehem, Pa.

"We're putting a big push on our promotions," Griffin said Friday. "Usually, the Women's Open doesn't sell tickets this far in advance. But the big thing is that we're selling tickets now for the same price as the 2000 Senior Open. Where can you find anything that has the same price as seven years ago?"

The main promotion for the holiday season is a gift package that includes two tickets to the Saucon Creek Club, an air-conditioned upscale tent that offers food and beverages, plus a choice of championship hat or mug with the 2009 U.S. Women's Open logo, merchandise that is not yet on sale to the public.

General tickets for 2009 practice rounds and championship rounds are being offered at the same price as the 2000 Senior Open. Those prices will remain in effect until July 1, when they will be raised by 30 percent or more.

Griffin also said the championship has filled more than 50 percent of its 3,000 volunteer openings for 2009, and she would like to assemble the remaining number as quickly as she can.

"We've got 30-plus different committees," she said. "We'd like to extend into the Philadelphia area. We didn't have that many volunteers outside our Lehigh Valley area in 2000. We have all sorts of jobs for volunteers, especially if you're not a golf geek. There are plenty of opportunities."

Anyone wishing to volunteer can find more information on the championship's Web site, The holiday ticket package is available only by calling the tournament office at 610-814-6104.

Azalea gazing.

The par-3 course at the Augusta National Golf Club is a scenic area of two ponds and countless azalea plants, but it's a part of the storied layout that can be seen only in person on the grounds.

That is, until next year.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne and ESPN announced last week that the cable network will televise the 2008 par-3 contest on April 9, the day before the start of the year's first major championship.

"It's an event everyone enjoys, and we think it will demonstrate to kids just how fun golf can be," Payne said in a statement released by the club.

The event, which began in 1960 and features participants, noncompeting past champions and honorary invitees, had never been televised.

Payne also announced that beginning in 2008, any youth age 8 to 16 will be admitted free on the four tournament days when accompanied by a paying adult.

"We're serious about exposing youngsters to golf and the Masters," he said.