AN EXPENSIVE DATE
Joe Hardy, a 74-year-old Pittsburgh lumber magnate, isn't the
world's wealthiest or most powerful man, but he has succeeded in
securing something that has been beyond the grasp of the sultan
of Brunei, King Hassan of Morocco and President Clinton: a tee
time with Tiger Woods.
Hardy, founder of the Mystic Rock pro-am, a charity event that
was held on Monday at his plush Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa
in Uniontown, Pa., lured Woods with a reported $1.8
million--$1.3 million of it up front--to compete in the
tournament in 1997, '98 and '99. On Monday, Woods and 34 other
pros, including John Daly and Mark O'Meara, played with 132
amateurs, each of whom had paid $10,000 to enter. All 25,000
tickets to the exhibition were sold at $15 apiece. Hardy, who
partnered with Woods and Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, hopes
publicity from the exhibition, which had no purse but paid a
minimum appearance fee of $5,000 per pro, will help his quixotic
campaign to bring a PGA Tour event and, eventually, the Ryder
Cup to his resort.
Hardy's 84 Lumber is the largest privately held chain of lumber
stores in the country, and he is used to getting what he wants.
When architect Pete Dye told Hardy that the site he had chosen
for the 6,900-yard, par-72 Mystic Rock course was too rocky,
Hardy responded by ponying up $18 million to have Dye build the
course despite the 300,000 boulders.
Woods accepted Hardy's offer six weeks before winning the
Masters--"Thank god we did the deal then," Hardy says--because
playing in the exhibition was so convenient. Hardy sent his
private Sabreliner jet to Dallas to pick up Woods after the
final round of the Colonial Tournament on Sunday; on Monday
night the jet was to fly him to Columbus, Ohio, 20 minutes from
Mystic Rock by air, for this week's Memorial. Woods booked
himself what amounted to a $1.3 million layover.
Hardy also scored a publicity coup with Daly, who made Mystic
Rock his first public appearance since completing alcohol
rehabilitation. Not coincidentally, Hardy paid for Daly's stay
at the Betty Ford Clinic in Palm Springs, Calif.
Though the Mystic Rock pro-am donated nearly $100,000 to the
Leukemia Society of America, charity was clearly not the event's
chief purpose. "I'm not a big golfer," says Hardy, a 20
handicapper, "but when my friends ask if I play, I can now say,
'Yeah, with Tiger Woods.'"
ANOTHER TIGER TALE
What's a little lakefront property among friends? We'll see. All
we know for sure is that last week Tiger Woods aced out new
buddy Michael Jordan for three adjacent lots covering five acres
in Isleworth, the pricey, gated community in Orlando that's home
to lucre-laden athletes such as Ken Griffey Jr., Mark O'Meara
and Shaquille O'Neal. The lots, on which Woods plans to build a
multimillion-dollar house complete with a par-3 golf hole, cost
Jordan's interest has Orlando Magic fans buzzing. The NBA team
reportedly has offered Bulls coach Phil Jackson a five-year, $30
million deal to move to Florida. Would Jordan follow his
favorite coach? Only one thing is certain: Just two prime
lakefront lots remain in Isleworth.
COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION
Last Saturday afternoon, 30 minutes before Game 3 of the Eastern
Conference finals between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat,
NBC telecaster Marv Albert walked onto the court at Miami Arena
accompanied by a security guard. The network was nervous about
how the public would react to Albert, 53, who three days earlier
had been indicted on charges of assaulting and forcibly
sodomizing a 41-year-old woman in an Arlington, Va., hotel room
on Feb. 12.
Albert, who has been a mainstay at the network since 1977, was
eager to keep working and had proclaimed his innocence to NBC
Sports president Dick Ebersol. He also declared his innocence
publicly, at a May 22 press conference in New York. In a
criticism that was more spin than substance, he charged that the
Arlington police inquiry had deprived him of due process because
he had not been asked to provide his version of events. In fact,
targets of investigations often are not interviewed, especially
when the police feel they have a strong case. What's
remarkable--and laudable--is that investigators conducted a
three-month probe of a celebrity and obtained an indictment
without any leaks to the press.
While no advertisers withdrew after NBC's announcement that
Albert would continue to work the playoffs, many media pundits
excoriated the decision, citing the distraction Albert's
presence would create and the discomfort viewers might feel
welcoming a possible felon into their homes. Fans at the arena,
however, didn't react much to Albert's presence, aside from
uttering a few catcalls.
The public's apparent reluctance to condemn Albert can be
attributed in part to his spritely persona, exhibited during
scores of appearances on David Letterman's show, and to his
previously scandal-free 34 years as a broadcaster. It may also
be a reaction to the media's mistreatment of Dallas Cowboys wide
receiver Michael Irvin after he was falsely accused of rape last
December. "There was a rush to judgment with Irvin," says
television consultant Neal Pilson, a former president of CBS
Sports. "He protested his innocence, and, sure enough, it was a
fabricated situation. Imagine if they had taken [Albert] off the
game because of the accusation, and it turned out there was no
truth to it."
VIEW FROM THE HILL
Senior writer Tim Layden testified on May 22 at a hearing called
by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust to examine the
college football bowl alliance. His report:
As always on Capitol Hill, the proceedings were marked by
partisanship. The first panel of witnesses included four
senators from Kentucky, Utah and Wyoming, home states of four
Division I-A football teams in the WAC and Conference USA, two
leagues badly hurt by their exclusion from the bowl alliance.
The alliance awards lucrative automatic bids to the Fiesta,
Orange and Sugar bowls to the champions of the Atlantic Coast,
Big East, Big 12 and Southeastern conferences and, under certain
conditions, independent Notre Dame. Last December, Brigham
Young, which won the WAC title and finished the regular season
ranked No. 5 on the strength of its 13-1 record, was passed over
in favor of No. 7 Penn State (10-2) and No. 6 Nebraska (10-2)
for the alliance's two at-large spots. That snub prompted the
Though the proceedings are unlikely to lead to any serious
reform, the Senate is to be commended for at least subjecting
the NCAA and the alliance to scrutiny. Taking one of the hotter
grillings was NCAA executive director Cedric Dempsey. Sen. Mike
DeWine (R., Ohio), the subcommittee chairman, pressed Dempsey on
Dempsey's written list of "potential negative effects" of a
Division I-A playoff system, including "disruption of
student-athletes' academic calendars, lengthening the season,
[and] increased pressures to win."
DeWine confronted Dempsey with the obvious rejoinder: Divisions
I-AA, II and III have playoffs, why not Division I-A? Flustered,
Dempsey suggested that there was "increased intensity at the I-A
level," at which point Louisville coach Ron Cooper, who has
coached at lower levels, nearly jumped from his seat. In
testifying later, Cooper called Dempsey's statement
Julie Foudy, a midfielder on the U.S. women's soccer team, says
she was skeptical when Reebok asked her to endorse a new line of
soccer balls guaranteed to have been produced without the use of
child labor. She knew that sporting-goods companies had been
using children in Asia to hand-stitch soccer balls for years. To
reassure herself, Foudy visited Reebok's new plant in the
isolated city of Sialkot, Pakistan, in March. "I didn't feel
comfortable [endorsing the balls] without seeing it," she says.
What she saw was the first facility of its kind in Pakistan: a
factory that centralizes every phase of soccer-ball production,
including stitching, under one roof. Typically, unstitched ball
panels have been dropped off either in villages, where children
often help do the sewing, or in stitching centers, where the
employees are adults but a risk exists that panels will be
diverted to children who then do the work at home.
To monitor the Sialkot plant, which opened in January, Reebok
hired local human-rights activists to make surprise inspections
and enlisted the services of the Ernst and Young branch in
nearby Lahore to ensure that the factory's output corresponds to
its input in materials. Reebok says it will swallow the increase
in labor costs to support the new process.
After conducting a two-day inspection of the plant in May, Dan
McCurry, coordinator of the Washington, D.C.-based campaign
against child labor, FoulBall, has praise for Reebok executives.
"They're doing what they say they're doing," he says.
On Feb. 15, 56 companies, including Reebok, Nike, Adidas, Mitre
and Brine, agreed that over the next 18 months they will begin
to use only stitching centers or centralized facilities like
Reebok's in the making of soccer balls. But Foudy thinks that
more can be done. "Athletes haven't been taking action," she
says. "You don't have to go to another country to check it out,
but you at least need to be educated about it because athletes
can get out the message that there's a problem that needs to be
The NHL's levying of $1,000 fines on the Colorado Avalanche's
Mike Keane and Sandis Ozolinsh for stick infractions in Game 4
of the Avalanche's playoff series with the Detroit Red Wings
(page 54) was a cop-out. The playoffs always yield incidents
that the league reviews, and in each case it should either
suspend offending players or let the episode go unpunished.
Small fines are no deterrent to violence, especially in the
playoffs. The NHL also officially labeled Keane and Ozolinsh
"repeat offenders," which means they will be judged more
strictly if they transgress again, but that too carries little
weight. Suspensions are the only way to take a stand against
Like all new coaches, Joe Bugel, who was selected in January to
guide the Oakland Raiders after the firing of Mike White, has to
concern himself with the big picture. But he also has some
little pictures to worry about--all of them photos of Oakland's
owner, Al Davis.
In 33 years of outspoken and often outrageous behavior as a pro
football coach and executive, Davis has made his share of
enemies. In the fall of '95, one of them, a former Raiders
assistant coach who felt he had been mistreated (and chooses to
remain anonymous), was upset that Oakland was 8-2 and looked
like a Super Bowl contender. He decided to try a little black
magic on the Raiders, and following a voodoo tradition, he wet a
photograph of Davis and placed it in a freezer, where it still
remains. He then spread the word about the whammy to another
discontented former Oakland employee, who called another, and so
on. Soon more than a dozen men in the NFL's coaching, playing,
marketing, broadcasting and medical communities were icing
photos of Davis.
The Raiders lost their final six games and missed the playoffs
in 1995, then sputtered to a 4-7 start in '96. By then word of
the curse was spreading, and Oakland's Pro Bowl receiver, Tim
Brown, decided to take action. Brown called one of the
voodooers, with whom he was friendly, and pleaded with him to
defrost the photo. The hexer agreed, but after Oakland won three
straight to get into the playoff race, he called Brown and left
a message that made it clear friendship went only so far:
"Timmy, f--- you. His picture goes back in the freezer." The
Raiders lost their last two games and tied for last in the AFC
While vying to succeed White, Bugel pleaded with the same former
employee to "take Al's picture out of the freezer." The employee
Age of Dmitry Kudryashov, who became the world's youngest pro
soccer player when he debuted with Zenit Izhevsk in the Russian
Tournaments Tiger Woods needed to surpass $2 million in career
PGA earnings, 34 fewer than the previous record, set by Ernie Els.
Dollars budgeted by the city of Denver to expand women's rest
rooms at Mile High Stadium.
Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks playing for the CFL's
Toronto Argonauts now that Andre Ware (1989) has signed to back
up Doug Flutie ('84).
Percentage increase in annual spending on advertising by the NHL
from 1993 ($42,000) to '96 ($2.51 million).
Season tickets sold by the San Antonio Spurs in the 48 hours
after the team won the NBA draft lottery.
Cyclists in the Tour of Italy who crashed when a cat ran onto
THIS WEEK'S SIGN THAT THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US
A man charged with simple battery for punching Diamond Duck, the
mascot for the Triple A Richmond Braves, in the stomach admitted
striking the costumed woman but told police he had only done
what he had "seen other people on TV do."
Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach, after being ejected from a
game against the St. Louis Cardinals for arguing from the dugout
with first base umpire Randy Marsh: "I was a victim of