THE STRANGE CASE OF BLADES...HOLE-IN-ONE HORROR...OLYMPIC BOXING TURMOIL...REEBOK AND FREE SPEECH...RICE'S ORDEAL...ATLANTA'S WATER WOES..."LONE STAR"

July 07, 1996

AN ACE TOO EARLY

For every duffer who scrapes a three-wood along the ground and
gets a hole in one (SI, June 17), there are a dozen Alison
Munts. Last Saturday in the third round of the ShopRite LPGA
Classic at Greate Bay Resort and Country Club in Somers Point,
N.J., Munt stepped to the tee on the 151-yard 14th hole and
knocked a seven-iron into the cup. On Sunday, the only day a
$25,000 hole-in-one prize was in effect, her tee shot at the
14th plopped 15 feet from the hole.

Mark this Exhibit 1,000,000 in golf's trial on charges of mental
cruelty.

INFIGHTING

The opening bell in Atlanta is two weeks away, but the U.S.
Olympic boxing team has already been through some bruising
rounds, including last month's headline-grabbing one-two. On
June 19 light middleweight David Reid was arrested on
misdemeanor charges of domestic violence and battery, and the
following day it was revealed that super heavyweight Lawrence
Clay-Bey is enrolled in a court-ordered rehabilitation program
as part of a guilty plea to third-degree sexual assault
following a February 1995 incident. But the real action, as is
so often the case in boxing, has been on the inside.

This year's team is young and inexperienced and, according to
many observers, not as talented as previous U.S. squads. In the
past 10 weeks head coach Al Mitchell has put the 12 boxers and
the alternates through perhaps the longest training session in
history. There were grueling camps in Bend, Ore., Marquette,
Mich., and Augusta, Ga.; dual meets against Germany and Russia;
and numerous promotional appearances. "Al doesn't like the word
burnout," says a team manager, Ken Cox. Yet even Mitchell now
admits that the camp may have gone on for "too long."

There have been reports of sniping among the coaches as well as
what one assistant called prima donna behavior by several
boxers. The team has lost six alternates, who left either for
disciplinary reasons or flagging motivation. Reid and Clay-Bey
are still there, but it was close. After making the team, both
signed the U.S. Olympic Committee's code of conduct, which
empowers the USOC to remove athletes who fail to "avoid criminal
behavior." Because Clay-Bey's arrest occurred before he made the
team, he was not in violation of the code. In the case of Reid,
who is accused of throwing a table lamp at his girlfriend in an
Orlando hotel and is scheduled to enter a plea of not guilty on
July 24, "processing of paperwork" was delayed, according to a
USA Boxing spokesperson. That happenstance precluded Reid's
being held to the code because his signed agreement was not yet
in USOC hands.

Mitchell hopes the embattled atmosphere surrounding his team
will translate into a more determined approach when the bell
finally rings. As light flyweight Albert Guardado puts it, "The
focus has changed. There's less arguing." We'll see in Atlanta.

PLANET FREE SPEECH

What a relief that the University of Wisconsin has deflected an
attempt by Reebok International to impose a campus gag order on
criticism of its products. Last month the school's board of
regents approved a five-year, $7.9 million deal that made Reebok
the sole provider of athletic equipment in return for the rights
to market the Badger logo. The contract included a clause
requested by Reebok that the university "not issue any official
statement that disparages Reebok" and "promptly take all
reasonable steps necessary to address any remark by any
university employee, including a coach, that disparages Reebok."
Following protests by professors and students, and facing a
possible Justice Department investigation, Reebok last Thursday
acceded to a university request that the "non-disparagement
language" be stricken from the contract.

DRINKING PROBLEMS

Spectators at last month's U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in
Atlanta were warned repeatedly over the Olympic Stadium
public-address system to take precautions against heat distress
in the brutally muggy 98[degree] conditions. "Drink 16 ounces of
water an hour," was the refrain.

Sound advice. The only hitch was that the parched fan
practically needed a divining rod to find a drinking fountain in
the 85,000-seat stadium. In addition, spectators--most of whom
gravitated to the shade under the upper deck--were prohibited
from bringing any liquid other than water in plastic bottles.
One alternative to dehydration was to shell out $2.75 per
16-ounce bottle of Crystal Springs water. Adhering to the
organizers' hydration formula, that works out to $55 worth of
water for a family of four over a five-hour afternoon track
session.

Come the Games, with sellout crowds jamming the concessions
stands in the trying conditions of midsummer and nowhere to hide
for the thousands seated in the sun, the danger of heat-related
trauma will be very real. It's probably too late to install more
fountains, but organizers should give serious thought to
lowering the price of water. Otherwise, that same family, if
budget-conscious, might need a pack mule to lug in a few gallons
of water.

RATING THE PROSPECTS

One of the most compelling characters in Lone Star, the stirring
new film written and directed by John Sayles (who also directed
1988's Eight Men Out), is Bunny Kincaid, the football-obsessed
former wife of lead character Sam Deeds. When Deeds visits her,
Kincaid, clad in a Dallas Cowboys jersey and Houston Oilers cap
and watching a Texas A&M game on television, engages in several
minutes of football-related rambling before finding a tragicomic
way to steer the conversation to the couple's failed marriage.

"You watch the draft this year?" asks Kincaid, who is played by
Frances McDormand. "They try to make it dramatic, like there's
some big surprise who picks who in the first round. Only they've
been working it over with their experts and their computers for
months. Doctors' reports, highlight reels, coaches' evaluations,
psychological profiles--hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they
collected stool samples on these boys. All this stuff to pick a
football player for your squad. Compared to that, what you know
about the person you get married to don't amount to diddly, does
it?"

Good point. Chances are most of us don't even know our spouse's
best time in the 40.

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTODISC [Diploma and graduate's cap] COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO Reid was able to duck the Olympic repercussions of his arrest. [David Reid boxing] COLOR PHOTO: JIM SMEAL/GALELLA LTD CASTING CALLS Got a movie you'd like to make about a sports personality? Chances are, we've got the actor. NYPD Blue's Nicholas Turturro as Mike Piazza [Nicholas Turturro] COLOR PHOTO: RICHARD MACKSON [See caption above--Mike Piazza] COLOR PHOTO: SMEAL. PARK [See caption above] Laura Dern as Steffi Graf [Laura Dern] COLOR PHOTO: BOB MARTIN [See caption above--Steffi Graf] COLOR PHOTO: JANET GOUGH/CELEBRITY PHOTO [See caption above] Lou Diamond Phillips as Oscar de la Hoya [Lou Diamond Phillips] COLOR PHOTO: V.J. LOVERO [See caption above--Oscar de la Hoya] COLOR PHOTO: EVERETT COLLECTION [See caption above] John Lithgow as George Karl [John Lithgow] COLOR PHOTO: JOHN MCDONOUGH [See caption above--George Karl] COLOR PHOTO: MOVIE STILL ARCHIVES [See caption above] Yoda as Pete Carril [Character Yoda from movie Return of the Jedi] COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E.KLUTHO [Pete Carril] COLOR PHOTO: JOHN IACONO [Oriole Park at Camden Yards] COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS At the Games in broiling Olympic Stadium, the only place fans will have it made is in the shade. [Fans sitting under umbrellas in stadium seats]

GO FIGURE
4,000
Value, in dollars, of clothes, CDs, pagers and other freebies
that each U.S. athlete will get from Olympic sponsors.

50
Percentage of sales Jacobs Field vendor Dan (Peanut Man) Kudroff
says he has lost after hitting a woman with a windblown toss and
being prohibited from airmailing any more bags.

41
Tournaments won by Earl Anthony, the 58-year-old bowling legend
who announced he'll end his five-year retirement and join the
senior pro tour to boost interest in the circuit.

19
Years Catholic Central High in Springfield, Ohio, used the Notre
Dame leprechaun before the powers that be in South Bend recently
forced the school to change its logo.

95
Percentage of scholarship athletes entering in 1989 who
graduated from Oregon State, the school with the best record of
any of those with big-time sports programs.

24
Percentage at Houston, the school with the worst.

THE SCORECARD POLL

Oh, the Places They Go

Milwaukee Brewers infielder Pat Listach likes "the atmosphere of
the city and Harborplace." New York Yankees outfielder Gerald
Williams enjoys "the way the field feels when you're running."
Texas Rangers third baseman Dean Palmer says simply, "I love
those crabs." They're talking about Baltimore and the Orioles'
Camden Yards, which together form, if this week's poll is any
indication, a baseball Eden.

Fifty players in each league were asked to name the road cities
in which they most and least like to play. In the American
League, Baltimore (14 votes) was the favorite stop, while
Detroit (22) and Milwaukee (19) were the least favorite. Players
complained about Tiger Stadium's tiny clubhouse and dangerous
surroundings, though Detroit might not have earned the dubious
distinction if all five Brewers polled hadn't picked it as the
worst city. As for Milwaukee, Kansas City Royals designated
hitter Bob Hamelin said, "The weather always seems bad, the
stadium is run-down, and the downtown is dreary. All I can think
of is Jeffrey Dahmer."

National League players chose Chicago (21 votes) as their
overwhelming favorite for its good eating and shopping and, of
course, the atmosphere at Wrigley Field. "Day games," said St.
Louis Cardinals catcher Tom Pagnozzi. "And the crowd's right on
top of you. You smell the beer and the hot dogs."

The scents out of Montreal and Pittsburgh apparently aren't as
sweet. Those cities received 12 and 11 votes, respectively, as
the league's least desirable place to play. "There's something
about Pittsburgh that always makes it seem gloomy," said San
Diego Padres pitcher Doug Bochtler. Players also described
Montreal's enclosed Olympic Stadium as gloomy--"It's perpetual
nighttime," said Cardinals pitcher Jeff Parrett, a former
Expo--and did not seem taken with the city's French-Canadian
culture. "I don't speak the language," said Pittsburgh Pirates
outfielder Al Martin, "and the food stinks."

THIS WEEK'S SIGN THAT THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US

In a variation on the practice of naming bowl games after
sponsors, the regular-season Florida State-Wake Forest matchup
on Nov. 9 will be called the Dowdy Aviation Classic.

THEY SAID IT

Gloria Allred
Spokeswoman for the family of Nicole Brown Simpson, on O.J.
Simpson mail-order memorabilia: "The only thing I can see of
value is the helmet...for any woman who may date him in the
future."

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)