July 15, 1996
July 15, 1996

Table of Contents
July 15, 1996



This is an article from the July 15, 1996 issue

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club's decision to break with tradition
and eliminate the so-called 10-shot rule, beginning at next
week's British Open, has sparked a debate among players and
within the U.S. Golf Association, which is also searching for
ways to better manage its championships while accommodating

Instead of allowing all players within 10 shots of the lead
after 36 holes to advance to the final two rounds--a practice
first employed in the majors at the 1957 Masters and adopted by
the U.S. Open in 1972 and the British in '85--the R&A will cut
to only the top 70 scores and ties. As a result, the R&A will
not have to deal with the sort of logistics problems it faced in
1991 at Royal Birkdale, where 113 players from the field of 156
made the cut.

The USGA, which cuts to the low 60 scores and ties plus everyone
within 10 shots of the lead, was lucky to avoid a disaster at
Oakland Hills in June when a record 108 players advanced. If the
weekend rounds had been delayed by rain, the championship could
have been pushed back to Monday, which would have made a
possible 18-hole playoff problematic for TV. The USGA executive
committee will discuss the 10-shot rule next month.

Those who favor retaining the rule say it allows more name
players to stick around for the weekend and, more important,
leaves the door open for a miraculous comeback, such as the one
Lou Graham made at the U.S. Open in 1975, when he came from 11
strokes back on Friday to win. Also, even if it doesn't produce
a stunning victory, the 10-shot rule offers additional players
the opportunity to qualify for other majors and exemptions. For
example, a top-16 finish in the U.S. Open brings with it an
invitation to the following year's Masters.

David Fay, executive director of the USGA, favors the R&A's
action. Judy Bell, president of the USGA, does not. "The goal is
not to make the Open more manageable," she says. "The goal is to
determine the best players, and that's what we do."


Tour caddie Jeff (Squeeky) Medlen, who gained a measure of fame
by looping for John Daly when Daly burst onto the scene by
winning the 1991 PGA and was on the bag for Nick Price when he
won three majors (the '92 PGA and the '94 British Open and PGA),
has chronic myelogenous leukemia. He left Price and the Tour
after last week's Western Open and returned home to suburban
Columbus, Ohio, to begin treatment.

Medlen, 42, has lost 25 pounds since the first of the year, and
tests taken the week of the U.S. Open revealed an abnormally
high white-blood-cell count and an enlarged spleen, which is
common among people with leukemia. "I asked my doctor, 'Am I
going to die from this?'" Medlen said. "He pretty much said,
'Yeah.' Eventually that's probably what I will die from. But it
was detected early, so it's treatable. It can take from three to
four years to go from the chronic stage to the acute stage. The
best thing is to treat it right away." Unlike many caddies,
Medlen, a 13-year Tour veteran, has health insurance, and a
compassionate boss in Price. "Whatever it takes financially and
morally from me, I am willing to do," Price says.


Laura Baugh is taking things one day at a time after spending
several weeks in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at the Betty Ford
Center, which she entered in late May to treat her alcohol
dependency (SI, June 10).

"It was the best thing that ever happened to me," Baugh said
last week from her home in Orlando. "I am not in the same state
I was two months ago. I was in very embarrassing shape. Now I'm
proud and enthusiastic and upbeat. Things are new. It's kind of

Baugh entered this week's Youngstown-Warren LPGA Classic--her
first start in nine months--and hopes to play three straight
tournaments. "Having a problem with drinking just takes you by
storm. You don't ever think it can be you," she says.


Meg Mallon has joined Jeff Sluman and Greg Norman as golfers who
have turned themselves in to the rules police this season. In
Mallon's case it wasn't an illegal drop or ball that caused her
disqualification from last week's Jamie Farr Kroger Classic at
Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Ohio. It was waiting too
long for a putt to drop. Mallon shot 65 to lead after the
opening round, but at the 17th hole she waited 20 seconds before
a birdie putt hovering on the lip finally fell. Only 10 seconds
are allowed under Rule 16-2. Mallon alerted LPGA officials the
next day and was DQ'd because, by not assessing herself an extra
stroke plus a one-shot penalty, she had signed an incorrect
scorecard. "I couldn't have played on if I had deceived the rest
of the field," Mallon said. Joan Pitcock, who had been without a
victory in nine years on the LPGA tour, eventually won....On
June 18, the day after qualifying for his first U.S. Senior
Open, Wiley Williams was driving near his home in East Orange,
N.J., when he was broadsided by another car. A muscle near
Williams's heart was damaged, and he spent four days in an
intensive care unit. That didn't keep him from finishing 51st at
Canterbury. "The only way to stop me from playing would have
been to cut my legs off," Williams said.... Kathy Ahern, winner
of the 1972 LPGA Championship and two other tour events, died
Saturday in Phoenix of complications from breast cancer. She was

COLOR PHOTO: JOE PICCIOLO In 13 years on Tour, Medlen has helped win four majors. [Jeff (Squeeky) Medlen]