Sherri Steinhauer won a wild Women's British Open
This is an article from the Aug. 24, 1998 issue
Just south of Blackpool and west of Blackburn lies Lytham and
St. Annes, where golfers developed black moods at the Women's
British Open last week. Chill winds off the Irish Sea sent hats,
scarves and scores soaring. Helen Alfredsson shot 80 last
Thursday. Val Skinner had an 85. Sherri Steinhauer opened with
an 81--and she won! Before that freaky finale, however, Se Ri
Pak wept, Brandi Burton hit a ball sideways, and Laura Davies
Tournament-record crowds trod the old sod at Royal Lytham, where
Louise Suggs, this year's guest of honor, won the '48 British
Women's Amateur in similar weather. "Worse weather," said Suggs,
"and I may get shot for saying this, but today's players are not
the shotmakers we were." The players soon proved she was right.
Pak opened with an ugly 78, rallied with a 74 on Friday and then
started Saturday's round with five straight bogeys. Her manager,
Steven Kil, explained that Korea's national hero had been
shocked at being called a "gangster's daughter" by London's
Daily Telegraph. Joon Chul Pak, a building contractor with a
murky past, "was a tough guy," said Kil, "but never a gangster.
He has no criminal record." When Pak saw the story, says Kil,
she burst into tears and was so upset "she could barely lift a
That left the heavy lifting to others. England's heavy-hitting
Davies began by teasing Americans who didn't like playing
through a storm. "They're bleating about the weather, as usual,"
she said. "Yes, it's blowing a bit. That means you have to
think." Davies didn't think much of a Daily Telegraph photo
showing a few of the tour's shapelier players in evening gowns.
"They won't look so glamorous come Sunday," she said. Davies was
invisible by then. After missing the cut, she stalked off to her
BMW and zoomed away, adding the scent of burned rubber to
Lytham's briny air.
England's next hope was Trish Johnson. She hails from Westward
Ho!, one of Britain's windiest towns and surely its only
exclamation-pointed one. Johnson challenged the leaders until
she blew a short putt on Saturday and banged her putter in
frustration, bending it. Putting with her sand wedge the rest of
the way, she shot 77. Another unlucky leader was Burton, who
wore shorts and polo shirts in defiance of the weather. "She's
like those shirtless Packers fans at Lambeau Field in December,"
a spectator said. Burton stayed hot until sunny, windy Saturday,
when a buried lie in a bunker at the 7th hole forced her to
scrape out sideways. Triple bogey. "I rolled with the punches
until then," said Burton, who would fight back to finish one tap
behind the winner.
Steinhauer called her parents in Wisconsin on Saturday night.
"My dad said, 'Wouldn't it be something for someone who shot 81
the first day to win?'" said the '92 du Maurier champ. "I just
laughed." On Sunday she raced through the pack with four birdies
on her way to a 69 as everybody else turned glamorless in 35-mph
winds. Third-round leader Janice Moodie missed six six-foot
putts and shot 75. Karrie Webb crept close only to stall with a
four-putt double bogey at 13. Finally, Burton's late charge fell
just short because Steinhauer's eight-footer for birdie at the
last hole didn't. The putt appeared to stop at the edge of the
cup, but Steinhauer followed it, glaring at the ball as if to
scare it into the hole. It hung on the lip, then sneaked in as
she let out a cry of relief.
"On a nice, sunny day back home, it's easy to lose focus," said
Steinhauer, the first LPGA player in 20 years to win after
shooting 78 or more in the first round. "I think I like playing
in the wind."
HUNGRY IN HOOTERVILLE
"Suppose I had gone to Wall Street and worked there for the rest
of my life," says Steve Dana, a 1994 Princeton grad. "I would
have grown old wondering, Could I have made it in golf?"
"I don't fear my future. I can always play the Yale card," says
Bob Heintz, class of '92, "but this isn't a lark. This is a way
This is the Hooters tour, a satellite circuit that meanders
through the South and Midwest providing faith, hope and chicken
wings to men like Dana and Heintz. With $2.8 million in purses
and a $500,000 bonus pool, the tour ranks well below the Nike
tour in golf circuitry. Half-clad Hooters waitresses serve
drinks at pro-ams and pose with the champions on Sundays, but
the quotidian realities of Hooterdom aren't so perky.
Competition is fierce, as Hooters alums John Daly, Lee Janzen
and Tom Lehman can attest. Players drive hundreds of miles from
stop to stop. They change clothes in parking lots. Heintz paid
$400 for his Taylor Made irons, while Dana gets balls from
Titleist--for $20 a dozen. "At least it's a discount," he says.
"The odds are against our guys, but every year a few make the
Tour," says tour official Bobby Riggins, who calls the players
"hordes of unlikely dreamers." Among the unlikeliest are Heintz,
28, and the 26-year-old Dana. Eleven U.S. presidents have been
Ivy League grads, but Yale's Peter Teravainen is the only Ivy
Leaguer to have made the PGA Tour, and he lasted only a year.
Economics major Heintz won the Ivy individual title in 1990, '91
and '92 at Bethpage Black, which will host the 2002 U.S. Open.
Dana, an architecture major and Academic All-America, won Ivy
titles at Bethpage in 1993 and '94. That's five straight Ivy
crowns for the two of them, yet today they sleep in Comfort Inns
and eat McMuffins. Dana has earned $6,373 in three Hooters
seasons while racking up 110,000 miles on two Honda Civics. With
zero earnings this year, he seldom uses his 25% player's
discount at Hooters restaurants. "McDonald's is still cheaper,"
Heintz, who drives a Plymouth Voyager on tour with his wife,
Nancy, and their two-year-old daughter, Eryn, has fared better.
He won this year's Decatur (Ala.) Classic and ranks second on
the money list with $71,257. "Bob has all the physical skills he
needs," says Hooters rules official Steve Rintoul, who played
the PGA Tour from 1993 to '97. "I just hope he's not too smart
for his own good." Rintoul thinks Heintz might benefit from
"playing with a certain mindlessness, like Fred Couples."
Last week Heintz and Dana followed the Hooters truck, an orange
and white semitrailer that morphs into a tournament HQ and
scoreboard, to Conway, S.C., for the Jackaroo Steakhouse and
Sauce Classic. Heintz tied for third behind winner Chad Campbell
to earn $4,273. Dana missed another cut. "I feel like Ian
Baker-Finch," he said. Soon, though, the Hooters eggheads were
trading bold predictions like kindergartners.
"I want to be on Tour and exempt for the Open at Bethpage," said
"Me, too," said Heintz.
"You and me--the final twosome on Sunday at Bethpage. You know we
own that place."
"Wow," Heintz said. "Maybe we'd better wake up."
THE SHAG BAG
One-Trick Gorilla: While Tiger Woods played conservatively off
the tees at Sahalee all week, John Daly whaled away with his
driver and missed the cut by a mile. "He had no chance," said
playing partner Wayne Grady, while Al Geiberger called Daly's
runaway-truck approach "a reckless game."
Age Before Beauty: Dave Stockton (below) wants to see more
emphasis on players over 60 years old at Senior events. "We have
a great tour, but we need to tweak it some," says Stockton, 56.
"Let's put the lowest three guys over 60 together in the last
round and see who wins. These are great names, and we should let
fans in on how hard they play." Stockton, who finished seventh
behind winner George Archer at last week's First of America
Classic in Ada, Mich., also suggests a season-ending tournament
for the 60-plus set.
Hip Check: Jack Nicklaus, take note--Archer won the First of
America with two artificial hips. "The old horse went out there
today and good things happened," Archer said.
Musical Chairs: In 1991 Daly, the ninth alternate, slipped into
the PGA Championship and won the Wanamaker Trophy. This year
David Ogrin, the 11th alternate, got in. Here's how: Jim Carter
replaced Darren Clarke, who returned to Ireland to join his wife
and new baby; Clark Dennis filled in for Bruce Lietzke,
sidelined by a hernia; Robert Damron subbed for sore-armed Mark
McNulty; Neal Lancaster filled a vacancy created when qualifier
Billy Mayfair claimed the spot reserved for the Buick Open
winner; fifth alternate Stephen Ames of Trinidad couldn't get
into the U.S.; Mark Wiebe replaced Frankie Minoza, who has an
ailing back; Rocco Mediate replaced sore-necked Bernhard Langer;
P.H. Horgan replaced Michael Bradley, who withdrew with a bad
back; Billy Andrade got Steve Jones's spot when Jones withdrew
after a friend's death; and 10th alternate Brett Quigley
reportedly missed his flight to Seattle, leaving Ogrin to
replace Dan Forsman, who came down with kidney stones. On
arrival at Sahalee, Ogrin--who would finish 44th--spotted
12th-alternate Rick Fehr and said, "Sorry, Rick, I'm here."
Golfy Gadgets and Vegas Strip Tees
The sport's gizmo gurus and carnival barkers convene in Las
Vegas for the PGA's Aug. 22-24 International Golf Show. At
February's far larger industry shindig in Orlando, sellers
hawked their wares with help from women in low-cut bodysuits, a
trick-shot artist or two, an artificial waterfall and a wind
machine that produced 50-mph gusts. Equipment is selling more
slowly these days, and companies such as Bridgestone, Spalding
and PowerBilt are expected to be no-shows this week, so you can
bet that those who do set up shop in the land of Flying Elvises
will make the most of their opportunity. More than 1,100
merchants representing at least 50 nations will crowd the
775,000-square-foot Las Vegas Convention Center while George
Carlin and Tom Jones headline nearby. You can log onto
www.pga.com for a live cybercast of one of the biggest, loudest,
shiniest shows in golf.
DOW GETS BULLISH
In the 31 months before the 1958 PGA Championship, the first PGA
contested under stroke-play rules, Dow Finsterwald finished
second in 17 Tour events while winning only one, the Tucson
Open. In that stretch the 1957 Vardon trophy winner made 72 cuts
in a row, a streak that ranks fourth on the alltime list, yet
pundits called him Mr. Bridesmaid. In the final round of the '58
PGA at Llanerch Country Club in Havertown, Pa., however, he shot
67 to top Billy Casper by two. That victory seemed to ignite his
career. The mild-mannered Finsterwald won six Tour events in the
next two years. He starred on the American squad that won the
'59 Ryder Cup and later captained the '77 U.S. Ryder Cup team.
By then Finsterwald had his own show on NBC, an instructional
program whose title was as jazzy as the man himself. It was
called Golf Tips--Dow Finsterwald.
What do these players have in common?
They're the only PGA champs since '72 to win more than a dozen
international events before their PGA triumphs.
Which young player will make the best pro?
Matt Kuchar 51%
Justin Rose 23%
Jenny Chuasiriporn 17%
Sergio Garcia 9%
--Based on 8,492 responses to our informal survey
Next question: Which was the best major championship of 1998? To
answer, go to www.cnnsi.com/golf.
Has Tiger Woods played as well in 1998 as Lee Janzen, Mark
O'Meara or Vijay Singh? Here are their vital stats.
SCORING AVG. DRIVING DISTANCE
69.93 JANZEN 274.3
69.57 O'MEARA 266.8
69.85 SINGH 275.6
69.17 WOODS 294.8
PCT. OF FAIRWAYS GREENS IN REG.
71.3% JANZEN 68.9%
68.3% O'MEARA 65.1%
68.2% SINGH 66.9%
68.9 % WOODS 67.7%
SAND SAVES PUTTS PER G.I.R.
46.7% JANZEN 1.74
47.3% O'MEARA 1.76
48.4% SINGH 1.79
53.8% WOODS 1.80
BIRDIES PER ROUND PRIZE MONEY
3.85 JANZEN $1,064,362
3.77 O'MEARA 1,614,796
3.61 SINGH 1,334,253
3.97 WOODS 1,522,567
Shots over par by John Daly in this year's Grand Slam events.
Daly, who missed the cut at the PGA, finished 1998 with a
74.5-stroke average in the majors.