Thursday, July 22, 1976
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
(; . Touching all Nicklaus, Miller headline
the bases star-studded Windsor field
III_ Bill Stieg
The game of golf...
... a pure sport
AT LAST, BIG TIME tournament golf is back in the Detroit area.
So how come everyone is watching channel 7?
Lost in the quadrennial hoopla of the Olympics is another
fine sports presentation from our neighbors to the north, the
Canadian Open. It has all the big stars, plenty of prestige and a
lot of pressure. But it still hasn't attracted much attention.
Actually, it's easy to see why. To those who don't play, golf is
not really interesting. Golfers don't look like athletes, and the
game itself can seem very boring and almost silly.
That's the basic position of many non-golfers. Trying to
explain golf's attraction to someone who doesn't play is like
trying to describe a symphony to a deaf person, or trying to
explain a spiral without using your hands. It's hard to sound
sensible, let alone convincing.
But there must be something that draws us to that first tee
to start four generally frustrating hours of climbing hills, carry-
ing a bag, and occasionally swinging a club. I think the reasons,
like the game itself, are personal.
Golf is a very personal game. It is a "pure" sport in that
external influences are at a minimum. Like the other most
obvious pure sports-track, swimming, skiing, skating, gymnastics
and diving-golf is an obsolutely individual sport. Whatever hap-
pens to your golf ball depends entirely upon what you do to it.
Football, baseball, basketball and hockey are group efforts,
with teams formed, by artificial boundaries, such as school or
country. Sports like tennis or wrestling are individual in a sense,
but you need an opponent, and your performance is directly
affected by his play.
Golf, then, is a pure sport. Like track, skiing, et al, it is
fairly free of artificial rules and is straightforward in its
object. Run to the finish line. Get down the mountain. Hit
the ball in the hole.
The setting of a game of golf is unique in sports. The game
has no boundaries, as anyone with a chronic slice can attest to.
No other sport except skiing takes place in such a natural setting.
Many of us learned in junior high about the three basic themes
in literature: Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature and Man vs. Himself.
At the risk of sounding too philosophical about a game, golf con-
tains more of the latter two themes than any other sport. (Skiing,
again, may be he exception.)
In tournament play, the element of Man vs. Man is added, and
with it, intense pressure. In a game that requires as much finesse
as golf does, pressure affects play immeasurably.
In sports like football and hockey, such pressure can help
an athlete because he can unleash his tension by belting his oppo-
nent. In basketball, he can run harder and harder to relieve the
pressure. In golf, it just builds and builds . . . there is no outlet.
Which is why golf is such a thinkingperson'sgame. The
player who keeps his cool the longest is most often the winner.
Just ask Jack Nicklaus, who is always calm. Or ask Tom
Weiskopf, the hot-headed smooth-swinger who most agree
would be one of the game's top players if he could control his
All of this is old news to the thousands who will roam the
Essex Golf and Country Club. They know what it's like to play
this unique game. A good guess is that ninety per cent of the
spectators at a golf tourney play the game themselves.
They aren't watching great all-around athletes. A potbelly
like Mickey Lolich's, which is a laughable oddity in the major
leagues, would go unnoticed in the PGA.
But these golfers are amazing, nonetheless. It takes remar -
able skill to pound a ball 270 yards with one swing, delicately chip
it with the next, and then gently tap it into a small hole. And that's
with thousands of people staring at you.
But besides all this, golfing is fun. There are few things in
athletics more satisfying than the look and feel of a cleanly hit
long iron shot that soars high and far to a distant green, bounces
once or twice and nestles next to the pin. ..
Now if I can only do that once in a while I'll be in business.
By BILL STIEG
Special To The Daily
WINDSOR, Ont. - A star-
studded field attacks a splendid
golf course today as the tour-
ing pros return to the Detroit
area for the $200,000 Canadian
Open at the Essex Golf and
For the first time since the
PGA championship at Oakland
Hills in 1972, Detroit area golf
fans will be able to see the
game's best in action. And, as
in '72, both the field and course
The traditional big names-
Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller,
Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer,
Gary Player - will tee it up in
today's opening round along
with more recent big winners
like Masters champion Ray
Floyd and U.S. Open champ
AND DEFENDING champ
Tom Weiskopf - a two-time
Canadian Open winner - and
you have a field as strong as
any of the major champion-
The course is worthy of such
a group of stars, as the golfers
MONTREAL M) - Sprinter
James Gilkes of Guyana, whose
country pulled out of the Olym-
pics with 30tothers in a political
dispute that has rocked these
Games, asked the International
Olympic Committee (tOC) yes-
terday for permission to com-
pete on his own.
The 23-year-old sprinter, who
was entered in the 100-meter
and 200-meter dashes, became
the first athlete to crack the
solid barrier thrown up by black
nations protesting New ea-
land's sports ties with segre-
gationist South Africa.
Gilkes' attempt to become
the first man without a coun-
try in Olympic history was
the first act of defiance
against the boycott.
The IOC received the request
in a letter late Wednesday, af-
ter he had attempted unsuc-
cessfully to meet with IOC of-
ficials. A spokesman for the
IOC said he did not know what
action the nine-man executive
board would take when it meets
However, when tne boycott
started, the IOC issued a state-
ment in which it said it would
"keep the door open for any
team or athlete to come back
into the Games."
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OPEN 'TLL MIDNIGHT
found out for themselves in
practice rounds yesterday and
"I had heard that this was a
good course, but short," said
Floyd yesterday. "But I'd like
to meet whoever said it was
short. He must be a big hitter."
Coincidentally, the Essex
course was designod by Donald
Rossthe Scottish architect who
built the Oakland Hills layout.
But that's about all the courses
have in common.
THE ESSEX course has none
of the monstrous traps or
mounds in the greens that are
found in Oakland. And Essex
is quite a bit shorter, measur-
ing 6696 yards.
But the fairways are narrow,
the greens small and the traps
cleverly placed. It is consid-
ered a "shotmaker's" course-
one that reveals thoughtful
placement instead of big hit-
"It's a difficult test of golf,"
said Floyd. "It can be reward-
ing if you play well, but it can
grab you if you don't."
Miller, who won the British
Open just two weeks ago, likes
the course and his chances.
"IT'S AN excellent course,"
he said after a particularly suc-
cessful practice round. "It's so
beautiful. The greens are per-
fect. I haven't played too many
courses with greens like this."
'-It gives you a chance to play
alt your irons. I felt like I could
hit every shot stiff to the pin.
I could play in the low 60's. I
won't say I will, but I feel I
Miller predicted a winning
score of about eight under par.
Par for the course is 35-35--70.
Though the greens are seem-
ingly flat, they have subtle con-
tours that could hurt a careless
player. The same goes for the
fairways - the trouble is not
obvious but can catch a player
The course received much
rain Tuesday night and yester-
day morning, and was washed
with sunshine yesterday after-
noon. The rough is long but not
NADIA Comaneci, who finished the womens all-round individ-
ual gymnastics event with two more perfect scores of 10 yes-
terday, is seen here holding a "perfect" position on the un-
50c DISCOU N
with Student I.D.
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Two Michigan wrestlers, Mark
Churella of Farmington and
Mark Johnson of Rock Island,
Ill., were named All-Americans.
Churella finished third at 150
pounds in the NCAA tournament
and Johnson was second at 177
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JULY 23, 1976