The Michigan Daily-Thursday, August 2, 1979-Page 11
SPORTS OF THE DAILY
play by th
to the New
3 victory o
still up in t
to go to the
were to sta
until the et
the three p
IGHAM - Golfers gleefully Woehrle, was expecting Oakland Hills
rward to slow greens and fast to yield its first sub-par winning score
yed their final practice roun- in the last six major championships to
lay prior to the start of the be held on the 7,014-yard course.
Professional Golfer's THE DEFENDING champion in the
n tournament. 72-hole chase for the $60,000 first prize
dy but the greenskeeper, Ted was John Mahaffey, who won at Oak-
mont, Pa., last year by beating Tom
Watson and Jerry Pate in a playoff.
v r' However, the rich tournament has
another defending champion - Gary
Player, who won the PGA when it was
t 10 llast held at Oakland Hills in 1972.
Daily rain has softened the huge, hilly
greens to the point where the 150 con-
S K u h n testants feel they can go for the pin
almost without penalty. Players have
TON, Texas (AP) - Out- found downhill practice puttts falling
ckey Rivers was cleared for short of the cup instead of ending up in
Rivers as cbunkerso off the green.
he Texas Rangers yesterday bunkers "I'M AT THE mercy of Mother
certainty about who would go Nature," said Woere, who has gained
York Yankees in return. Ntr,'si ohlwohsgie
YorYanesiryeAnurn a national reoutation as the keeper of
Manager Sparky Anderson Oakland Hills' greens. "I'm very
Sto seek a forfeit of Texas' 11- OkadHls res Imvr
I e ks i of T e s ' 11- pleased with the condition of the course
er his Tigers Tuesday night, - except for the rain.
s the Rangers used a player"The rough will be adequate," he
SPOKESMAN for Baseball said. "It's not necessary to have light-
oner Bowie Kuhn said Wed- ning fast greens at Oakland Hills,
t Rivers is eligible to play for because of the severe contour.
'en though the player or "I personally don't think they'll
w York will get in return was break par," Woehrle said. "By Sunday,
he air late Wednesday after- if the weather is decent, the greens will
be fast enough and the rough will be
ramble, a .335 hitter with tall." -UPI
e runs, appeared headed for Tension surround bout
as late as yesterday mor- NEW YORK - Protesters called the
heavywight title fight scheduled for
ally announced, Rivers was South Africa October 20 a "phony apar-
Yankees for four players - theid sport scheme," Wednesday, while
three minor leaguers who promoter Bob Arum questioned the
iy in the Texas farm system motives of the protesters.
nd of the season - because "They're really not afraid that the
players were identified. But fight is in South Africa," said Arum.
vetoed by Commissioner "They are afraid Coetzee will win the
n because the three had not fight. That's racism."
ivers. Gerrie Coetzee, a white South
was the only Ranger who had African, will fight John Tate, a black
vers who was acceptable to American, for the WBA heavyweight
a. title in Pretoria, South Africa. -AP
slower for PGA
THERE HE IS, the hottest item to hit the professional golf circuit since
Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson has yet to win a major tournament this
year. But Watson has one shot left-the PGA tourney which begins today
at Birmingham's Oakland Hills Country Club.
"The Lord intended thisfor a golf course"
Those were the words of world-famous golf ar-
chitect Donald Ross when he first surveyed the
Miller farmland on Maple Road back in 1916. He
then went out and promptly began work for two
businessmen and a group of prospective members
on what is now one of the toughest and most
supreme tests of golf in the world.
Sorry, Augusta National; sorry, Pebble Beach,
sorry Royal and Ancient, you can all take a back
seat to the unyielding 'monster' - the storied
Oakland Hills Country Club.
When Gary Player won the last major cham-
pionship held here - the 1972 PGA - he called this
"the toughest golf course I have ever seen." His
winning score of one over par, 281, would seem to
back that statement up quite nicely.
Remember, the PGA annually has the strongest
field of all the tour events because that is who it is
played for, the best professional golfers in the
world, only. No amateurs, no celebrities and no
In fact, there have been six major tournaments
held here, including the 1979 PGA which begins
today and runs through Sunday, and nobody has
ever broken par in any of those previous four U.S.
Opens and one PGA dating back to 1924. And
By Bob Emory
you're talking about such golfing greats as Bobby
Jones, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus and
Arnold Palmer, just to name a few of the legends
that have trekked across the famous south course
(Oakland Hills now has two 18-hole courses )
without making more birdies than bogies.
The reasons for this are obvious. Everything
that can be .reasonably and strategically em-
ployed in making a course as true a test of golf as
is possible has been done with Oakland Hills. It is
long (7,014 yds.), very tight with traps surroun-
ding almost every fairway and green, doglegs left
and doglegs right and greens that are not only as
fast as the speeding traffic on Maple, but also
resemble burial grounds for oversized elephants.
The nightmare continues.
After Robert Trent Jones finished remodeling
the course for the 1951 U.S. Open, he called it "the
greatest of modern day golf." Essentially, what he
did was create two small target areas on each
hole. One on the fairway for the tee shot and one on
the green for the approach shot. That way, as
Jones said, "No mistakes can be made without a
It was in that '51 Open that Oakland Ifills
received its nickname. After his initial round,
Hogan, who was seeking his third Open title,
looked at the 76 on his scorecard and declared.
"This course is a monster." He then went out for
the final round and shot a course-record 67 for the
title and lore has it that Hogan claims he dropped
the monster to its knees. That famous line has
never been documented, but Hogan did say this
later on: "My 67finish was the greatest round of
championship golf I ever played."
Enough said. Oakland Hills had a name for it-
Regardless of all the lore and history attached to
this course, it will always have a special place in
my heart. I grew up about a half-mile down the
road just off Maple, and so many times did my
friends and I cut through a small hole in the fence
and play eight to ten holes late in the evening. We
also did a few other things after the sun went down
on this course. Like borrow a golf cart for a mid-
night beer ride, rearrange flagsticks, jump in the
pond on the 16th and various other childish pranks.
But never once did we damage the course.
Mostly, we just snuck in a few holes in the waning
dusk trying to improve our games and being able
to lay claim to the fact that we played on the same
grounds as did Hogan and Nicklaus and Snead and
all the others. But I shant continue about all
I know the Lord never intended this course to be
trampled on by someone with my duck hook
Quote of the day - Jack Nicklaus, commen-
ting on some of 4he other players making predic-
tions that he's going to win: "They sure haven't
been doing much of that lately, but they're