ODD MAN OUT
Lew Horne's National Minority Golf Foundation is fighting for
At a time when golf is taking bows for bringing people of color
into the game, the organization focused on that very purpose--the
National Minority Golf Foundation--is in dire need of funding.
The First Tee, a World Golf Village initiative that promotes
golf in low-income areas, has garnered big bucks from the golf
community, and the East Lake project in Atlanta has succeeded on
the strength of $25 million from the pocket of developer Tom
Cousins. Meanwhile, the NMGF, which during its first four years,
1995 to '98, received more than $1 million from the USGA and
another $50,000 from Cousins, has yet to secure its first
guaranteed dollar for 1999. The USGA has encouraged NMGF
president Lew Horne to look elsewhere. "We don't give evergreen
grants," says USGA executive director David Fay.
"It's ironic, given the perception that the face of golf is
changing," says Horne. The NMGF's mission is to direct
minorities into the administrative, commercial and competitive
areas of the game. Although the National Golf Foundation reports
that African-Americans make up 3% of the nation's golfers
instead of the 1.8% they represented 12 years ago, blacks and
other minorities still comprise less than 1% of club pros,
white-collar employees, staff members of the game's governing
bodies and competitors in professional and top amateur
tournaments. "It is our business to know where the jobs are or
where opportunities for a talented young player might be," says
NMGF vice president Barbara Douglas, "but without the NMGF, we
will look up five years from now and find that one-percent
Until recently the organization has been hampered by its
difficult birth. Established in 1995 and headed by John
Merchant, the first African-American to serve on the USGA's
executive committee, the foundation was poorly organized.
"Things were done with good intentions but without precise
thinking," says Grant Spaeth, a former USGA president and a
former NMGF board member. A year later Merchant was forced to
resign from the NMGF amid charges that he had misappropriated
money from a client. When Horne and Douglas took over last year,
they were basically starting from square one.
So far the steps have been small. Neither the game's governing
bodies nor golf manufacturers have gotten behind the NMGF,
creating a chicken-and-egg dilemma for Horne. "The USGA, the PGA
of America and the PGA Tour are widely advertising their
commitment to expanding minority golf," he says, "but their lack
of support has hurt our credibility when we have attempted to
get contributions from private foundations and corporate
entities. They tell us, 'How can we justify supporting an
organization that isn't supported by its own industry?'"
'99 PURSES RISE AT RECORD PACE
To calculate how much the prize money on the PGA Tour will
increase in 1999, we called each tournament and asked what its
purse will be. "Ten million dollars," said a Bay Hill
Invitational official. Then she laughed. "It's not that crazy
yet," she said. "We're going up only a half million, to $2.5
Only a half million. Such is life on Tour these days. Next year
purses will shoot up 40.3% to $134.4 million for 47 events, the
biggest leap ever. (The next largest was 30.8% between 1967 and
'68.) The top gainers: Doral, up $1 million; the Mercedes, up
$900,000; and the Entergy Classic in New Orleans, also up
$900,000. Included in our tabulations are the three new $5
million World Championship events, in which the winner's
caddie--if he is paid the standard 10%--will earn $100,000, or
$46,000 more than Greg Kraft received for coming in first in the
'93 Deposit Guaranty Classic.
What's pushing Tour purses skyward? Unwavering corporate support
and a whopper of a TV deal. When the Tour landed a four-year,
$400 million contract with the networks in May 1997, it was a
given that there would be more money for everybody. Commissioner
Tim Finchem demanded that each tournament raise the pot to at
least $3 million by 2002. (The Tour now kicks in about 50% of the
money. The other half of the purses, along with tournament
operating budgets, comes from corporate sponsors and ticket
Whether the Tour will ever see another growth spurt like 1999's,
or if everyone will benefit from next year's influx of cash,
remains to be seen. April's Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic,
for example, will be bolstered by nearly 800 sponsors, ranging
in size from the title sponsor to A Cleaner World, a dry
cleaning business. "Our tournament has been a strong sell so
far," says Steve Jones, the Classic's marketing director, "but
can we continue at this pace? Will the contributions we make to
charity keep rising with the purses? Our projections look good,
but only time will tell." --Rick Lipsey
The Shag Bag
Who's That Girl? She was dubbed Mystery Blonde by Australia's
Courier Mail and Tiger Tamer by the New York Post, but Joanna
Jagoda (below), who accompanied Tiger Woods to the Presidents
Cup, wasn't talking. Neither was Woods. Jagoda, a student at the
University of California at Santa Barbara, received high marks
for her classy gown as she walked hand in hand with a tuxedoed
Tiger to last Wednesday night's gala dinner at the Grand Hotel
and Casino in Melbourne. Reportedly seen at the British Open,
Jagoda apparently is new to walking golf courses. By Saturday
she wore bandages on her blistered heels.
Green-Grocer Delivery: Tammie Green, who played on this year's
U.S. Solheim Cup team while pregnant, and husband Bill Parker,
the CEO of Kroger, are the proud parents of Tina Marie, who
weighed in at seven pounds, two ounces when she arrived on Dec. 3.
Heat-Packin' Hacker: A Georgia high school student was shot by a
golfer when, according to police, the 15-year-old boy tried to
rob a foursome at gunpoint last week at Hidden Hills Golf and
Country Club in Stone Mountain, Ga. The youth, whose name wasn't
released, was with two accomplices when they stopped a cart
rounding a curve and held up its two riders. The boy fired at a
second cart rounding the curve, and a rider in that cart pulled
a gun out of his bag and shot the youth, the police report said.
Police sergeant Ron Eunice said the injured boy, who was in fair
condition on Monday, and the other two would be charged with
attempted robbery, kidnapping and aggravated assault. The
shooter was not charged.
EurO'Grady: Mac O'Grady got through Q school--the European Q
school, that is, where his play last month earned him a card for
the '99 Euro tour.
Augusta Fresh Air: Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player
are joining forces to build the 27-hole Big Three Club in
Augusta, just 15 minutes from Augusta National. Groundbreaking
is set for spring '99, and the target opening date is April 2001.
Bear in Mind: Tiger Woods, who once had Jack's accomplishments
stuck to his wall, has won 30% (3-6-1) of his Ryder and
Presidents Cup matches. Nicklaus won 63% (17-8-3) of his Ryder
Explosion Shot: John Daly, asked to name the toughest shot he
faces on a golf course: "Not to drink one."
The Spirit: Founders Gary McCord and Andrew Magee will join
nearly 30 other pros and 90 amateurs for Friday's Santa Claus
Classic at the TPC of Scottsdale. The Classic's five-year
contribution to charity: more than $1 million.
GETTING IN ON THE GROUND FLOOR
With golf companies suffering through months of miserable
earnings, massive layoffs and threats of new USGA regulations,
golf stocks are reeling. In other words it's a good time to buy.
Operated by Golf Investment Management of Vero Beach, Fla., the
Golf Associated mutual fund has a New Year's tee time on Wall
Street and will begin trading at $10 a share. "The golf industry
has bottomed out," says Michael Williams, president of Golf
Investment Management. "We're bullish on golf stocks by midyear
'99." Industry leader Callaway has seen its stock plummet from a
high of $33.95 on February 23, to $10.50 as of Monday's close.
Others have followed suit, but about 15% of the fund's assets
will include pure golf stocks, with 65% in golf-related
companies. Williams's come-on: "Investors can get into a booming
industry that has had a temporary setback."
ELS'S FUN IN THE SUN
Long before Tiger Woods won five times in 16 starts on the PGA
Tour, Ernie Els won six of 10 on South Africa's Sunshine tour. On
Dec. 20, 1992, Els shot a final-round 67 to dust Hugh Baiocchi
for win number 6 at the Sunshine's year-ending Goodyear Classic.
The win capped a banner homecoming for Els, who in '91 had been
0-fer on the Nike tour. He won the South African Open in January
'92, and the next week was victorious in the South African PGA.
Three weeks later Els came from five back to win his country's
Masters, becoming the only man other than Gary Player to win the
South African triple crown. In March, Els shot 64-64 on the
weekend to win the Sun Classic, and in November he won the
Players Championship. A month later the Goodyear capped a great
year as Els put the Sunshine tour in a whole new light.
After being named captain of the U.S. team for the Presidents
Cup, Jack Nicklaus said that in time the five-year-old event
would eclipse the 71-year-old Ryder Cup. Which Cup runneth over?
Dashing international alpha male-host Seve Ballesteros shoulders
praise after upset in '97
Dashing international alpha male-host Greg Norman praises
shoulder after last week's upset
1 UP RYDER
Pathetic Miguel Angel Martin clashes with Seve and is dropped
from the European team
Apathetic Jumbo Ozaki asks Peter Thomson in October to be dropped
from International team
2 UP RYDER
In '91 Bernhard Langer misses a crucial six-footer, and the U.S.
wins the War by the Shore
In'98 Nicklaus misses the point and tells his guys to have fun,
setting up the Melbourne Massacre
3 UP RYDER
What do these players have in common?
They're the last three men to go 5-0 in a Presidents or Ryder
Cup. Maruyama did it in Melbourne, O'Meara in the '96 Presidents
Cup and Nelson in the '79 Ryder Cup.
What was the best shot of 1998?
Mark O'Meara's winning putt on 18
at the Masters 35%
Se Ri Pak's wedge from the water on 18
in the U.S. Open playoff 19%
Jenny Chuasiriporn's 45-foot putt
to tie the Open in regulation 17%
Brian Watts's clutch bunker shot
at the British Open's 72nd hole 15%
Justin Rose's holed wedge on 18
at Royal Birkdale 14%
--Based on 2,526 responses to our informal survey
Next question: How will the huge increase in purses in 1999
affect your interest in the PGA Tour? To vote, go to
The folks who maintain the World Ranking determine the strength
of a tournament field by assigning a point value to each
entrant. (The top-ranked player is worth 50 points; No. 2, 34;
No. 3, 30 and on down to No. 100, worth two points.) Here were
the strongest fields of 1998.
1. PGA 736
2. PLAYERS 700
3. BRITISH OPEN 693
4. MASTERS 661
5. U.S. OPEN 632
6. BAY HILL 581
7. MEMORIAL 481
8. INTERNATIONAL 427
9. WORLD SERIES 426
10. BYRON NELSON 425
The difference, in dollars, in the 1998 worldwide earnings of
the 12 members of the U.S. Presidents Cup team and their poorer
International counterparts, who won anyway.