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GRAHAM STEPS DOWN AS CAPTAIN IN THE WAKE OF A PLAYER MUTINY TIGER'S MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT NEW FAN PLAN

July 29, 1996
July 29, 1996

Table of Contents
July 29, 1996

GRAHAM STEPS DOWN AS CAPTAIN IN THE WAKE OF A PLAYER MUTINY TIGER'S MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT NEW FAN PLAN

THE PRESIDENTS COUP

This is an article from the July 29, 1996 issue Original Layout

What began a few weeks ago as seemingly mild criticism of David
Graham, the captain of the International team for the upcoming
Presidents Cup, erupted into a full-blown coup at the British
Open when prospective team members forced Graham to resign by
threatening to boycott the Sept. 13-15 event. Another
Australian, Peter Thomson, is the first choice to replace
Graham, who along with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was
caught off-guard by the players' decisive--some say
disruptive--action.

"I think it's a major insult to me and to Finchem," said Graham,
who had captained the International team to an eight-point loss
in the inaugural Presidents Cup two years ago. "They've attacked
my credibility, my honor and my commitment to the Presidents
Cup. They have cast a shadow over this event that may never go
away." Graham called the players' unanimous vote to have him
removed, which came during a team meeting on the eve of the
British Open, "an absolute fiasco" and an "irrational and
selfish decision."

Finchem, along with Brent Chalmers and Brian Allan, executive
directors of the South African and Australasian tours,
respectively, attended the meeting and tried to head off the
players. "Tim told me he was devastated," Graham said. "He told
me he talked to the players until he was blue in the face. They
made demands and even wanted to decide who the [two] captain's
choices would be. Can you imagine that happening in the Ryder
Cup? I think the commissioner should have a full investigation,
find the culprits and issue a fine or a suspension."

Finding the culprits would be no problem. Robert Allenby,
Michael Campbell, Steve Elkington, Ernie Els, David Frost, Mark
McNulty, Frank Nobilo, Greg Norman, Craig Parry, Nick Price and
Vijay Singh all voted to remove Graham. But the man Graham
singled out as the ringleader was Norman, who first voiced the
players' displeasure (SI, July 8). Graham instructed
International team members to report to Robert Trent Jones Golf
Club in Manassas, Va., on Monday, Sept. 9, but Norman said he
could not arrive until Wednesday. That was unacceptable to
Graham. "You can't have players arrive on Monday and Greg show
up at his convenience," Graham said. "I had a team meeting
scheduled Tuesday. Now all of a sudden the other players decide,
If Greg's not coming until Wednesday, I won't either."

Norman refused to be cast as the heavy. "I am not the point man
on this, and David is wrong in saying that," he said after
Friday's second round. "He shouldn't speculate because that's
very unfair to me."

Price backed up Norman. "I don't think singling out Greg on this
issue is fair," he said. "We did this as a team."

XS CASH

Norman was all over the news at Royal Lytham, although seldom
for his play (he finished tied for seventh at seven under). On
the same day that Norman helped escort Graham to the gallows,
Maxfli announced that the Shark had signed the largest golf ball
endorsement contract in history. The deal is estimated to be
worth up to $18 million and runs into the next century, by which
time Maxfli hopes that Norman will have forgotten the screwup at
the Greater Hartford Open, where he was disqualified for using
one of the company's experimental balls. By agreeing to use
Maxfli's new two-piece XS ball beginning in 1997, Norman ended
speculation that he would align himself with Titleist/Cobra.

OUT OF THE WOODS

Stanford junior Tiger Woods said he came to Royal Lytham looking
to win. He came up short but went home with two scoring records
and more than satisfied with his best performance in six starts
in majors. When Woods, who finished 22nd, shot 66 last Friday he
tied Frank Stranahan's 46-year-old record for low round by an
amateur in the British Open, and his three-under 281 total tied
the amateur mark established by Iain Pyman in 1993.

"I'd have to say the week was a whole lot of fun," said Woods,
20, who will now focus on winning a record third straight U.S.
Amateur next month at Pumpkin Ridge in Cornelius, Ore. "It's
been important to see my game improve in big tournaments such as
this. I'm pleased with how much better I'm hitting the ball and
with my decision-making. Finally it's starting to show up in my
scores."

Woods made 18 birdies and drew praise from Michael Bonallack,
the secretary of the R&A, who is not given to overstatement.
"This year he showed a much more complete game," Bonallack said.
"He's added a new dimension. He's as good at his age as Jack
[Nicklaus] was, and that's the highest praise I can give to
anyone."

All of which only added to the growing speculation that Woods
will soon turn pro. The 20-year-old NCAA champion has to look no
further than last year's British Open phenom, 6'8" Gordon
Sherry of Scotland, to see the merits in remaining an amateur.

Sherry stole the show at St. Andrews, outplaying Norman and Tom
Watson, with whom he was paired in the first two rounds, and
finishing only nine shots back of John Daly. "I think we've seen
the arrival of golf's next superstar," Norman proclaimed. One
year later that superstar was nowhere to be found. Since turning
pro in March, Sherry has withdrawn from the Italian Open with
swollen glands, missed the cut in the European tour's Benson and
Hedges International after a second-round 80, finished last in
the Irish Open with a closing 83 and pulled out of the Scottish
Open because of a neck injury. Sherry failed to qualify for
Royal Lytham.

BARNES STORMING

British Senior Open champion Brian Barnes said the recent
flare-up of violence in Belfast gave him second thoughts about
returning to Portrush in Northern Ireland this week to defend
his title, but that his wife, Hilary, urged him to go. Although
no sporting event in that country has ever been disrupted by
terrorism, Barnes, a Scot, was concerned that he might be
pressing his luck.

"In my youth I made a stupid decision to play in the 1971 Irish
Open at Woodbrook in Dublin," Barnes said. "I was the only idiot
to go out of a group who were sent letters by the IRA stating
that if we went we would be shot. I made the decision to go, and
it was a foolhardy one."

DIAMOND VISION

Tired of jockeying for position behind the gallery ropes? Next
year at seven Tour events, starting at the Nissan Open in Los
Angeles and including the Tour Championship, you won't have to
if you are among the select 1,000 allowed inside the ropes as
part of GolfWatch, a new hospitality plan conceived by Jack
Vickers, the founder of the Tour's Sprint International.

Vickers thought of the idea one day while stuck in traffic: Why
not provide a special lane, like the diamond lanes used by
buses, for a limited number of fans at golf tournaments? In
addition to a special, unobstructed path inside the ropes,
patrons will also be provided with exclusive viewing areas
beside each green, hospitality oases and an on-course concierge,
plus other extras. The service, aimed primarily at corporate
clients, won't come cheap. GolfWatch plans to charge $1,500 a
head.

THE SHORT GAME

When Nick Faldo checked into his rented quarters near Royal
Lytham he learned that the house next door had been leased to
The Sun. He immediately found new digs....By withdrawing because
of a sore right shoulder, Tom Watson ended his streak of playing
in 21 consecutive British Opens. Watson feared that he had torn
his rotator cuff, but an MRI revealed that the shoulder was
simply inflamed. He expects to play in the Aug. 8-11 PGA
Championship....U.S. Open champion Steve Jones, who has
repeatedly said he was inspired by Curt Sampson's Hogan, which
he read during tournament week at Oakland Hills, turned down a
$200,000 offer to endorse the book because it contained
profanity. Sampson wouldn't agree to removing the profanity in
subsequent reprintings....Rob Donaldson of Philadelphia, Ned
Huffman of Toledo, Ohio, and Hugh Tavernier of Finley, Ohio,
completed the grand slam of marshaling by working the 12th hole
at Royal Lytham. They have been marshals at the Masters since
1986, and worked the 1993 PGA and the '94 U.S. Open....Ryder Cup
hero Costantino Rocca will march with the Italian Olympic team
in the closing ceremonies in Atlanta....Major disappointment:
Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer shot 78 in the final
round at Augusta to finish 36th, was disqualified at the U.S.
Open after signing an incorrect scorecard and pulled out of the
British Open after an opening 75 because of a shoulder injury.

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY JACQUELINE DUVOISIN Norman didn't want to lose face over his role in an International incident. [Greg Norman]COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY JACQUELINE DUVOISIN [Jack Nicklaus golfing]

SAM'S THE MAN

The 66 shot by 56-year-old Jack Nicklaus (below) last Friday in
the British Open was a round for the ages, but not the closest a
player has come to shooting his age in a major. Those who have
come closest in the modern era:

Player Age Score Event

Sam Snead 62 68 1974 PGA
Gene Sarazen 71 79 1973 British
Sam Snead 60 69 1972 PGA
Sam Snead 68 77 1981 Masters
Jack Nicklaus 56 66 1996 British
Sam Snead 61 71 1973 PGA