A FIRST FOR THE WOMEN'S AM
Those who hoped to see another epic battle between Kelli Kuehne
and Marisa Baena in the U.S. Women's Amateur might have been
disappointed that neither made it to last week's final. Kuehne,
the 1995 and '96 champ, turned pro last November and was
ineligible, and Baena was upset in the quarterfinals last
Thursday by 24-year-old Silvia Cavalleri of Italy. Nevertheless,
this year's final--Cavalleri against Robin Burke of
Houston--provided a story almost as compelling.
Cavalleri, an architectural student in Milan, defeated Burke,
the wife of former Tour pro Jack Burke, 5 and 4 at Brae Burn
Country Club in West Newton, Mass., to become the first Italian
to win the Amateur and the first European to do it in 28 years.
The victory was a coming-out party for Cavalleri, who had upset
Baena by rallying from 1 down with birdies on the 18th and 19th
holes. "I can't believe it. It hasn't hit me yet," said
Cavalleri, who also won the '96 European Women's Amateur.
For Burke the surprise trip to the final was a chance to join
her husband as a major championship winner. Burke, 34, wasn't
born when her husband, now 74, won the Masters and the PGA in
the same year (1956). She met Jack in 1985, when she went to him
for a putting lesson. Last week, as he followed her around the
course, Burke reacted to her every shot, gave words of
encouragement and drew a gallery of his own.
He contributed in other ways as well. During the lunch break in
the 36-hole final, with Cavalleri 5 up, Burke worked with his
wife on her grip. The quick lesson paid off as Robin sandwiched
two birdies around a par by Cavalleri and cut the deficit to two
after 24 holes.
However, Cavalleri, whose mother, Victoria, served as her
caddie, never lost her composure. She won the 27th hole to go 3
up, and when Burke threatened to win the par-5 28th, Cavalleri
sank a 38-foot chip shot for birdie to go ahead by four. Before
Cavalleri could close out the match at the 32nd hole,
thundershowers delayed the inevitable for 90 minutes.
Afterward Cavalleri, who plans to turn pro and try to qualify
for the women's European tour and someday the LPGA tour,
lingered in the clubhouse signing autographs and greeting
well-wishers. She and Burke had arrived days earlier as unknowns
but left as fan favorites. Who needed Kuehne and Baena?
FURYK'S TOP 10 STREAK ENDS AT BUICK OPEN
Jim Furyk, whose run of eight straight top 10 finishes was the
longest on Tour since Tom Kite had nine in a row in 1981, had
his streak snapped when he came in 15th last week in Grand
Blanc, Mich. After an opening 67, Furyk was, as usual, on the
leader board, tied for third place, but he fell out of
contention with rounds of 72 and 75 before closing with a 66.
The streak helped Furyk lock up a spot on the Ryder Cup team,
which Kite will captain. "The first thing everybody asks me is
what am I doing so well," Furyk says. "If I could pinpoint that,
it would be an easier game. I've always been a streaky player,
and I've been able to maintain this streak for some reason.
Still, I'd trade all eight top 10s in for a win, that's for sure."
WADKINS: WHY THE RUSH ON RYDER CUP PICKS?
Once this week's PGA is over, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain will
have only six or seven hours before he must select two
nonqualifiers to fill out his 12-man team. At least one former
captain thinks that's not enough time. "I would've loved to have
had one more day to decide," says Lanny Wadkins, the captain of
the '95 team, who had the same deadline when he made Fred
Couples and Curtis Strange his wild-card picks. "It happened
very quickly, especially when all of a sudden the makeup of my
team changed by two guys."
Mark Calcavecchia and Kenny Perry dropped out of the top 10 on
the points list at the conclusion of the '95 PGA. Wadkins says
that because he felt rushed, he didn't give them proper
consideration. "I apologized to Calc and told him that I had
made a mistake," Wadkins says. "I'd always considered him on the
team. When it came time to pick, he wasn't even a thought, and
maybe he should have been. I'm not saying that I would have
picked him, but I could have used one more day to decide."
The PGA of America used to wait until the Tuesday following the
PGA to announce the at-large selections but decided in 1993 that
it would get greater coverage if it held its press conference at
the site of the PGA on the day after the event. That means the
captain must contact his selections Sunday night, in advance of
the Monday-morning announcement.
"You don't have a whole lot of time to think about it," says
Wadkins. "Tom Kite is going to have several scenarios this year,
too, but he's only going to have six or seven hours to make any
QUIGLEY'S HAPPY DAY TURNS BITTERSWEET
On Sunday, minutes after Dana Quigley defeated Jay Sigel on the
third hole of a playoff to win his first Senior tour title, the
Northville Long Island Classic in Melville, N.Y., one of the
happiest days of Quigley's life turned into one of the saddest.
Quigley's brother, Paul, phoned him at Meadow Brook Club with
the news that their 82-year-old father, Wallace, had died at a
Providence hospital earlier in the day after a 10-year battle
with cancer. "I saw him on Thursday and seriously thought about
withdrawing from the tournament," Quigley said. "I didn't win it
soon enough. I wish he could have seen me win."
A club pro from Rehoboth, Mass., Quigley became the first Monday
qualifier to win a Senior tour event this year. The last
four-spotter to win was Vicente Fernandez in the 1996 Burnet
Senior Classic. Only six Monday qualifiers have ever won on the
Quigley, 50, has made a career out of overcoming the odds. He
joined the regular tour in 1978 but never finished better than
101st on the money list and lost his exemption after the '82
season. In recent years he has overcome a drinking problem, and
he spent much of this season trying to play his way into Senior
tour events. Quigley, an uncle of PGA Tour player Brett Quigley,
won't have to do that anymore. In addition to the first prize of
$150,000, Sunday's victory carries a one-year exemption.
"No more Mondays," said Quigley. "This day has changed my life
forever, I promise you."
NIKE PLAYER WINS BATTLEFIELD PROMO
Chris Smith, 28, earned a ticket to the PGA Tour at last week's
Omaha Classic, and he did it in style. Smith, a former
All-America at Ohio State, shot the lowest 72-hole score in Nike
tour history, carving up the par-71, 6,948-yard Champions Club
in 26-under-par 258 (63-65-64-66). His 11-stroke margin of
victory over runner-up Barry Cheesman was another Nike record.
The victory was Smith's second in a row on the Nike tour--he won
the Dakota Dunes Open two weeks ago--but more important, it was
his third of the season (he also won the May 29-June 1 Upstate
Classic). This year, for the first time, any Nike player who
wins three events in a season receives a promotion to the
regular Tour. Smith is the first player to take advantage of the
new policy and will be exempt through 1998. "I'm excited about
getting back," said Smith, who had played his way onto the Tour
once before. "I have complete control of my game right now."
Smith, whose family owns Rock Hollow Golf Club in Peru, Ind.,
turned pro in 1991 and in '95 was seventh on the Nike money
list. That top 10 finish earned him an exemption on the regular
Tour in '96, but he made only $41,112 and lost his card. This
year Smith leads the Nike money list with $191,151. In the last
four weeks alone he is 76 under par, has earned $108,688 and has
lowered his scoring average from 70.24 to 69.33.
THE SHAG BAG
Ben Crenshaw says he'll have surgery on his arthritic big toe
after this week's PGA and sit out the rest of the season.
Crenshaw, who missed the cut at the Buick Open, has had only one
finish in the top 40 this year....Deb Richard shot a
five-under-par 67 on Sunday for a one-stroke victory in the LPGA
Friendly's Classic at Agawam, Mass. It was the first victory for
Richard, a four-time winner on the LPGA tour, since she
underwent back surgery a year and a half ago....Bernhard Langer
claimed his 50th career victory, firing a bogey-free,
eight-under-par 63 on Sunday to win the Czech Open at Karlstejn.
It was his third European PGA triumph of the season....Helen
Alfredsson, who hasn't won an LPGA event since the '94
Ping/Welch's Championship, shot a 12-under-par 276 (74-65-
67-70) to win the McDonald's Championship of Europe at
Perthshire, Scotland....Fred Funk had shot 26 consecutive
rounds of par or better in the Buick Open, until his 74 on
Friday. Last week Funk, bothered by muscle spasms, wore a magnet
taped to his right shoulder.
COLOR PHOTO: JACQUELINE DUVOISIN Cavalleri got a lift in the final match when she chipped in for birdie at the 28th hole. [Silvia Cavalleri celebrating]
COLOR PHOTO: HEINZ KLUETMEIER Faldo (left) and Woods kept the Masters' average low. [Nick Faldo helping Tiger Woods don Masters' blazer]
The best golfers measure themselves by their performance in the
major championships, but how do the majors stack up if they're
measured by the quality of their winners? By averaging the World
Rankings of the champions the week before their victories, SI
discovered that in the '90s the Masters has had the
MASTERS U.S. OPEN
'97 TIGER WOODS 13 ERNIE ELS 8
'96 NICK FALDO 9 STEVE JONES 100
'95 BEN CRENSHAW 33 COREY PAVIN 9
'94 J.M. OLAZABAL 10 ERNIE ELS 11
'93 BERNHARD LANGER 5 LEE JANZEN 34
'92 FRED COUPLES 1 TOM KITE 22
'91 IAN WOOSNAM 1 PAYNE STEWART 8
'90 NICK FALDO 2 HALE IRWIN 90
AVERAGE 9.3 AVERAGE 35.3
BRITISH OPEN PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
['97] JUSTIN LEONARD 19 ? ?
['96] TOM LEHMAN 13 MARK BROOKS 44
['95] JOHN DALY 109 STEVE ELKINGTON 17
['94] NICK PRICE 3 NICK PRICE 2
['93] GREG NORMAN 4 PAUL AZINGER 6
['92] NICK FALDO 2 NICK PRICE 15
['91] IAN BAKER-FINCH 25 JOHN DALY 168
['90] NICK FALDO 2 WAYNE GRADY 55
AVERAGE 22.1 AVERAGE 43.9
What do these players have in common?
They use an interlocking grip instead of the overlapping style
favored by most pros
The amount in dollars won by Tiger Woods so far in 1997 (in 15
starts), breaking the previous Tour record of $1,780,159, set in
'96 by Tom Lehman (22 starts).