LOOKING TO CASH IN
Mark O'Meara's heart beats true for the red, white and blue, but
that doesn't mean he'll work for peanuts--which is why he's
leading a lobby of players, from both teams, who think they
should get more than a token fee to play in this week's
As in the Ryder Cup, members of the Presidents Cup teams are
paid expenses plus a nominal amount ($10,000, up $5,000 from
1994), but no prize money. O'Meara, a member of the PGA Tour
policy board, would like to change that. "It's not about greed,"
he says. "I'm a professional golfer, and I have a problem when
somebody is making money off me and I'm not."
The Tour says that the players benefit from the exposure and
that profits from the match are divided into 26 shares, which
the players and captains designate for charities or golf-related
projects of their choice. But O'Meara fears some of the money is
being diverted to subsidize the sponsorless Quad City Classic,
which is held concurrently in Coal Valley, Ill.
September 15, 1996
O'Meara says that among the current International team members,
Steve Elkington, Ernie Els and Greg Norman are on his side.
O'Meara counts Corey Pavin among his U.S. supporters, although
Pavin isn't saying. "It's a tricky issue," he says. "I'd rather
not talk about it. We need to take care of the Presidents Cup
THE KNOCK ON WOODS
The public may have warmed to Tiger Woods, but the reception he
has received in certain corners of the locker room has been
chilly. At last week's Canadian Open, some Tour players went out
of their way to welcome Woods, while others complained that the
kid is getting too much money, too much attention and too many
sponsor exemptions. (The joke going around the clubhouse was
that the PGA of America had asked U.S. Open champion Steve Jones
to drop out of the Grand Slam of Golf so Woods could play.)
Then there is the matter of those in-your-face Nike
commercials--Woods is being paid a reported $60 million by the
sneaker company. His spots end with these lines: "There are
still courses in the United States that I am not allowed to play
because of the color of my skin. I've heard I'm not ready for
you. Are you ready for me?"
Jim Thorpe, the only African-American on the Tour, is not ready
for that kind of message. "Nike could have made a beautiful
commercial," he says, "if it had used wording like 'With hard
work and education and unity among the family, I made it, and
you can do it too.' Tiger's job is to play golf and prove to the
world that he can compete against the best players in the world,
not to make racist statements."
Thorpe also thinks that the advertising isn't truthful when it
has Woods say he has been turned away from golf clubs, and that
Woods is wrong to imply that he is breaking some sort of color
line. Says Thorpe, "That road's been paved by the [Charlie]
Siffords, the [Lee] Elders, the [Calvin] Peetes, the [Jim] Dents
and the [Jim] Thorpes. Especially Sifford. Every time he won a
tournament, they changed the rule so he couldn't play the
Masters. With Sifford and Elder, you'd hear the n word, but I
didn't hear it. Tiger's got it made."
Tom Kite has named a club pro, Dennis Satyshur, the director of
golf at Caves Valley in Owings Mills, Md., to be his assistant
at next year's Ryder Cup at Valderrama, in Sotogrande, Spain.
Satyshur, a former Duke quarterback who played mini-tour events
with Kite in 1972, says he's not a co-captain but rather a part
of the support team. "Tom didn't try to glamorize it," Satyshur
says. "I'll do whatever needs to get done--stuff like slipping
notes under hotel doors to remind the players which uniform to
wear. Tom will be under a lot of pressure. With 12 guys so used
to being independent, he needs somebody who can take care of the
details. I'm a guy he's comfortable with."
SAME OLD ACT
The new John Daly has been acting suspiciously like the John
Daly of old. Since his British Open title defense at Royal
Lytham, where he mailed it in on Sunday with a 77 to finish
67th, Daly has missed four straight cuts, starting with the
Dutch Open, in which he shot an abysmal 89 in the second round.
At the Canadian Open, Daly opened with a 75, then showed up
minutes before his Friday-morning tee time, going straight from
his car to the 10th tee. He shot 77 to miss the cut.
The last time Jerry Kelly grew a goatee was before the 1995 Nike
Buffalo Open, which he won. Three weeks ago, mired in a slump
and ranked 109th on the PGA Tour money list, Kelly again grew
some stubble around his mouth and chin. Bingo! He finished
second at the Greater Milwaukee Open, earned $129,600 and jumped
to 62nd on the money list, which guaranteed his exempt status
for 1997. "Now I get to shave it," Kelly says. "It served its
purpose, and it's going back into the closet to wait for the
next time I need it."
THE SHORT GAME
Hurricane Fran's path of destruction missed the venues of some
upcoming events: Pinehurst (N.C.), where greens on the No. 2
course are being restored for the 1999 U.S. Open; Robert Trent
Jones Golf Club (Lake Manassas, Va.), site of this week's
Presidents Cup; and Tanglewood Park (Clemmons, N.C.), which will
host the Vantage Championship on Sept. 27-29. Trees were
downed--about 400 of them at Pinehurst--but no major damage was
reported. The Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach areas of
South Carolina, hit hard by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, were
unscathed as Fran hit just south of Wilmington, N.C.... Emilee
Klein is not happy about being left off the U.S. Solheim Cup
team that will play Europe next week in Chepstow, Wales.
"Neither Brandie [Burton] nor Beth [Daniel] has won in the past
year," says Klein, the winner of back-to-back tournaments last
month. "I've talked to Judy [Rankin, the U.S. captain, who made
Burton and Daniel her wild-card selections], but there are a lot
of unanswered questions in my mind. I understand Judy thinks the
crowds over there are tough, but I just won [the Women's British
Open] and I've played in matches like that. I don't think Judy
realizes how tough I am at 22."
Tiger Woods needs to earn about $150,000 in seven tournaments to
finish 125th or better on the money list and win a Tour card for
next year, but finishing 126th to 150th would be almost as good.
That would make him eligible for an unlimited number of
sponsors' exemptions in '97, and what tournament wouldn't want
Woods? In addition, should he place 126th to 150th, Woods would
be exempt from all but the final stage of the three-tournament Q
school. Last year $113,632 was good for 150th place. Here's how
Woods stands after two events.
Event Place Money Rank
Milwaukee T60 $2,544 346
Canadian 11 $37,500 204
Ahead: Quad City (Sept. 12-15), B.C. Open (Sept. 19-22), Buick
(Sept. 26-29), Las Vegas (Oct. 2-6), Texas (Oct. 10-13).