Big Wheels Keeping up with the Fleishers is no easy task for Sammy Rachels and the other members of the Senior tour who prefer a motor home to a hotel room

March 04, 2002

Sammy Rachels's permanent address is the family homestead in
DeFuniak Springs, Fla., but his heart has always belonged to the
open road. When he joined the PGA Tour in 1975, he was one of
several players to travel in an RV. "It was pretty much a
corrugated shoebox," Rachels says, "but I loved the lifestyle."
Rachels roamed the golf landscape for the better part of a
decade, but he didn't arrive as a player until his stunning
rookie campaign on the Senior tour last year. He won two
tournaments and more than $900,000--"I can't believe it's legal
to give away this kind of money," he says--and in September he
plunked down $170,000 for his dream (motor) home, a Fleetwood
Discovery, and rejoined the caravan. "It's nicer than my house,"
he says. "I'm serious. It cost more."

Since the start of the 2002 season Sammy and his wife, Pia,
have, for all practical purposes, lived in the Fleetwood. Last
week they skipped the Audi Senior Classic in Mexico
City--"They've already got 22 million people there. I didn't
need to add to the problem," Sammy says--to make the drive from
Florida to Valencia, Calif., for this week's Toshiba Senior
Classic. He was behind the wheel for all 2,300 miles of the
trip. "The king of the road," he says.

Alas, Rachels is made to feel like a pauper every time he pulls
up at a tournament and sees Bruce Fleisher's Featherlite Vantare
Prevost, a $1.3 million penthouse on wheels. No one will ever
accuse Fleisher of being the maharaja of the motorway; he still
travels to tournaments by private aircraft, while a hired driver
pilots his 50,000-pound bus, and spends most nights on the road
in a hotel room. "I don't want to call him a p----," says
Rachels, "but he's not a real RVer." Fleisher doesn't disagree.
"Sammy lives in his; I don't live in mine," he says. "I'm
spoiled. I prefer to stay in a hotel, and on Sunday afternoon I
want to get home to my own bed as soon as possible."

About the only thing Fleisher uses the Prevost for is to play
host to his pro-am partners, which is why he keeps bottles of
Cakebread and Silver Oak on hand. Does he feel guilty about
under-using such an extravagant toy? "Hey, there's a flip side
to that," Fleisher says. "Sammy can stay in here anytime he
wants." --Alan Shipnuck

FOUR COLOR PHOTOS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY DAVID WALBERG Cruisin' cousins Fleisher's top-of-the-line RV has all the extras, but the Rachelses get more mileage out of their modest rig.

Tale of the Tape Bruce Fleisher Sammy Rachels

Endorsement deal Free use of vehicle "None, but taking offers"

Wheel base 45 feet 37 feet

Diesel engine 500-hp Series 60 Detroit 330-hp Caterpillar

Fuel tank capacity 235 gallons 90 gallons

Miles per gallon Seven 8-10

Sleeps Four Four

Longest trip 740 miles 2,300 miles

Most consecutive
nights in RV Five 24

Kitchen Microwave, electric stove, Microwave, gas stove,
fridge fridge

TVs Two (42" plasma, 25") Two (27" and 17")

Satellite dish Yes "No. It blew off
during a storm"

GPS Carin "No. A map still
works just fine"

CDs/DVDs "A handful" 220

Extras Remote-controlled shades "Rachelsized" custom
cabinets

Golf gear A few clubs and balls Two sets of irons,
three drivers, four
putters

Who drives? Chauffeur. "I did sit in "Me. I'm a
the seat once" control freak"

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)