The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 7, 2002 - 3B
SAPP-RISE: EARLY BIRD ON COURSE
A day on the fairways with new Michigan men's golf coach Andrew Sapp,
By Matt Kramer Daily Sports Writer
It's only 9:15 a.m. on Saturday but
Michigan men's golf coach
Andrew Sapp is wide awake. He
should be too, considering he's
already been at the Michigan golf
course for three hours now.
It's early in the first round of this
past weekend's 54-hole Wolverine
Invitational. Thirty-six holes will be
played Saturday followed, by a final
18 on Sunday. It's also Sapp's first
time hosting a tournament as a colle-
giate head coach, but one would
never know that just by looking at
Dressed in the typical men's golf
coach outfit - khaki pants, black
golf cleats and a Michigan jacket and
hat - Sapp is cool and collected,
standing just off the third tee waiting
patiently for some of his golfers to
If only hosting your first tourna-
ment at Michigan was this easy.
"I've'been here since about 6:30
this morning," Sapp says with his
slight southern accent. "First, assis-
tant coach (Doug) Gross and I made
sure the course was set up, then I
went to the driving range to set that
From the looks of things, Sapp's
course set up at 6,700 yards has
already seemed to give some of his
own Wolverines the fits. Sophomore
Rob Tighe approaches Sapp on the
third tee box.
"How are you hitting it?" Sapp
"I bogeyed the last hole," Tighe
"That's OK," Sapp says, "Just
swing for the fairway here on three."
Sapp smiles as Tighe nails one
down the middle of the fairway.
"Nice shot Rob, keep it up."
The coach then immediately redi-
rects his attention from coaching the
tournament to doing something he'll
worry about much more over the rest
of the day: hosting it.
"I had to make sure that there are
enough snacks and make sure we
have coolers set up around the course
this morning," Sapp said.
Sapp may be a head coach of a
Division I-A golf team, but that does-
n't get him out of having to
make sure there are enough
Nutri-Grain bars for all the
Because there are 17
teams in this year's field, the
tournament has gone off in a
shotgun start. That means
instead of everyone teeing
off on the first hole, every-
one tees off at the same time
but on different holes.
Because this is Sapp's
tournament, he set up the
pairings. The Michigan play-
ers - freshmen Mark McIn-
tosh and Christian Vozza,
Tighe, and juniors Dave
Nichols and Scott Carlton -
have teed off on the first
three holes with players
from Michigan State and
Pairing his players with
Michigan State and Indiana
is all part of Sapp's season- Michiga
long plan of playing in tour- first ro
naments with the best
players in the country.
"I put our guys with Michigan
State because I feel that Michigan
State is the best team in this field and
Indiana may be the next best," Sapp
After watching his players come
through the third hole, Sapp gets in
his golf cart and is on the move. It
will be nearly four hours before he
Sapp sees that Carlton has driven
his ball through the fairway on the
short, downhill sixth hole, leaving
him stymied behind a tree. Sapp sees
the predicament that Carlton is in and
approaches his player.
"OK, don't force anything here,"
Sapp says to Carlton. "You probably
want to play this one under the tree,
not over it."
Carlton agrees, pulls out a low iron
and punches his shot under the tree
and onto the right edge of the green.
"Nice job, Scott," Sapp says. "Nice
Because Carlton's drive went
through the fairway, Sapp decides to
go back to the sixth tee.
"I'm going to go run up there and
tell the guys to stop hitting driver on
this hole," Sapp says.
Freshman Blake Burman, the next
Wolverine to tee off, decides to hit a
four iron. Burman nerfectly olaces
Gross, who's also serving as the rules
official for the tournament, approach-
es Sapp while the coach is watching
Carlton finish up on the sixth hole.
"How are we doing so far?" Gross
Sapp shrugs his shoulders. "I'm
not really sure."
While Friday's rain is gone by Sat-
urday morning, the course is still
being hit with a cool wind gust that is
forcing many of the players to put on
long-sleeve shirts and jackets.
"Man, it's freezing out here," Gross
says to Sapp.
Sapp smiles. "At least we'll have a
lot of beverages left in the coolers."
Just as Sapp has settled down and
begun to focus his attention on fol-
lowing one of his players, he is
approached by Seton Hall coach
"You've done a real nice job so far
with the course," Holle says. Holle
then turns the subject to basketball
and asks Sapp if he has talked to
Michigan (and former Seton Hall)
coach Tommy Amaker.
"I hear he's real nice," Sapp says.
"I just haven't had the time to meet
Sapp has decided to park his cart
on the seventh green and watch his
players play the 378-yard par four.
This is the first time all day that Sapp
can sit back and watch his players
play a full hole. This is also Sapp's
first real chance to talk to his players
and ask them how they are doing. As
the first few groups come through,
Sapp briefly chats with some of his
players, usually giving them some
"One of our guys won't even tell
me how he's doing," Sapp says. "All
he says is that he needs to make some
After most of his team has come
through the seventh hole, Sapp moves
to the back nine for the first time and
can see that one of his players, Carl-
Playoff games lost amid
Power Rangers marathon
Michigan golf coach Andrew Sapp looks over the Michigan golf course. Saturday,
Sapp hosted his first invitational as a collegiate head coach.
nods his head.
Because almost the entire team this
year is from Michigan, it's not unusu-
al for players' parents to follow them
this week. "Some of them play much
better when their parents are there,
some of them not as well," Sapp says.
"It's all on the individual."
Lloyd Carr and Bobby Williams
don't discuss strategy with each other
during a game, but Sapp and Michi-
gan State coach Mark Hankins have
no problem doing just that. The two
head coaches discuss how they would
play the tricky par-four 414-yard 18th
water out of the way, Sapp needs to
make sure that someone will collect
and add up the scorecards.
"You are going to be there collect-
ing the stuff right Doug?" Sapp asks
"Yeah, you got it," Gross answers.
Sapp's players have all completed
their first rounds, every player has his
lunch, there are enough beverages in
the coolers for a small army, and no
one has complained about the course
conditions being too tough. The
Michigan golfers haven't necessarily
shown that home course advantage
has done them any good. The Wolver-
ines have shot a combined 13-over
par 297, good enough for
ninth place. Nichols shot
a 69, but no other Michi-
gan player finished under
The insanity has finally ended.
ABC Family will not air another
playoff baseball game this sea-
son, and hopefully never will again.
Last week, the Disney-owned network
televised 10 ballgames. This week, it
will broadcast 10 episodes of the
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in
While it was in the middle of airing
playoff baseball, ABC Family's web-
site didn't contain a single image of a
popular pro ballplayer. No Derek Jeter,
no Barry Bonds - nothing. Instead,
the top links on the site provided
information about how to create easy-
costumes and spooky ABC Famil
ABC Family and League Bas
Major League Base- perfect m
ball, what a perfect were those
match. What were b
those evil, baseball- baII-hating
hating television exec- executive;
Villain No. 1: Hmm... we could put
baseball on C-Span or even C-Span II.
Villain No. 2: I think The Food Net-
work has space available.
Villain No. 3: No wait, I've got it -
We'll put it on ABC Family, no grown
man ever watches that trash.
After that exchange, I imagine they
each bellowed out an evil laugh while
rubbing their hands together.
Once this devilish plan was publicly
explained (as anyone who watches real
ABC Family programming will
know), we expect the hero to come
foil the plan and bring playoff baseball
back to where it belongs. But that
doesn't work when Bud Selig plays
the hero role.
Sadly, this was just the sort of pub-
lic relations gaffe that our bumbling
commissioner is best at. Right after an
exciting World Series last fall, Selig
announced plans to contract two clubs.
So after the most successful baseball
labor negotiations since the dawn of
time - which really isn't saying much
- it would only make sense for base-
ball to approve an 11:06 p.m. Eastern
start time for a playoff game on the
"S-Club 7" network.
By the time that game between the
Arizona Diamondbacks and the St.
Louis Cardinals reached the late
innings, most Michigan students were
already in bed. But the real tragedy is
that on a school night in St. Louis,
where baseball is still as popular as
anywhere in the country, an entire
generation missed a chance to see
their team beat Randy Johnson in the
playoffs because their parents made
them go to bed.
Baseball easily could have solved
this problem by forcing Disney to air
the game an hour earlier. I don't think
anyone would complain about cancel-
ing the British version of "Whose Line
is it Anyway?"
This was supposed to be baseball's
chance to expose its best product to a
captive national audience, but instead
the powers that be decided to compete
with Jay Leno because the world
would slip into total anarchy if there
was any overlap between this game
and the primetime battle between the
New York Yankees and the Anaheim
Angels, which was broadcast on Fox.
It's no wonder that youth baseball
is losing numbers to skateboarding,
soccer, PlayStation2 and the Internet.
"When he heard the game wouldn't
start until 10 o'clock (central time),
my 11-year-old son Zack started cry-
ing," Marty Maier, the Cardinals'
director of amateur scouting told the
St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "And I'm
sure it was like that with a lot of
young fans in St. Louis"
It's clear that baseball has no inter-
est in actually market-
and Major ing its sport. It simply
cashes the television
all, what a check and ignores the
ch. What fact that none of its
evil, base- fans know where to
find the game on the
thinking? So why didn't some-
one with some authori-
ty on the network side at least move
these games to one of the company's
real sports networks (ABC, ESPN, and
Tom Cosgrove, executive vice presi-
dent of ABC Family, said his network
had first dibs on the playoff games
(which were sold to Disney along with
the rest of the programming for the
old Fox Family channel) and he chose
to keep them.
"We wanted them because the rat-
ings are strong and because of the pro-
motional platform they provide,"
Cosgrove told The New York Times.
"The games have brought us a strong
male audience we wouldn't ordinarily
reach. We're trying to use baseball to
bring in new viewers and get them
excited about what's happening on our
Cosgrove got a few new viewers,
but trust me - not one member of
that target audience was excited about
seeing the endless reruns of "Ameri-
ca's Funnies Home Videos" and "7th
Heaven" that will fill baseball's prime-
time slots on ABC Family this week.
His supposed purpose was further
undermined by the presentation of the
game, which included ESPN logos
and ESPN personalities like Joe Mor-
gan, Jon Miller and Chris Berman. I
watched several of these games, and it
was very seldom that I saw the ABC
Family logo. If it weren't for all the
female-centered commercials that
promised to "balance out your hor-
mones and improve your skin tone," I
would have sworn that I was watching
"The Worldwide Leader in Sports."
Maybe I shouldn't be quite so harsh
on the baseball gods. After all, they
did get a few things right. When the
Fall Classic rolls around this year, it'll
be broadcast on a real sports network
(FOX) at a reasonable hour (8 p.m.
Eastern), and the New York Yankees
will be watching at home.
Steve Jackson can be reached at
"I'm pleased with
Dave's play this morn-
ing, but the rest of our
guys did not play well at
all," Sapp said. "But
remember, we still have
another 18 holes to play
After the first round
was completed, Xavier
was the only team to
shoot under par, and it
held a seven-shot lead
over IUPUI and Michi-
gan State. (Michigan
State would eventually
win the tournament and
the Wolverines would
Jorgensen, the Spar-
tans' best player, strug-
gles at the end and
shoots 73, but two of
his teammates shoot 71
an golfer Dave Nichols watches his drive at the Wolverine Invitational. Nichols played well in the
und Saturday, earning the praise of Michigan coach Andrew Sapp for his performance.
ton, is struggling. As Carlton
approaches the 12th tee, Sapp decides
to ditch the cart and put his coaching
"I just told him he doesn't have to
be a hero with each shot," Sapp says.
"Sometimes it seems like you're their
Asked if sometimes he needs a
therapist, Sapp laughs.
With Carlton beginning to find his
swing and with the tournament now
in full swing, Sapp turns his attention
back to being host. Michigan Assis-
tant Sports Information Director Tom
Wywrot comes up to Sapp.
"We're almost done bagging all
(115 of) the lunches," Wywrot says.
"Good," says Sapp. "That fast?"
Word circulating around the back
nine is that Michigan State golfer
Eric Jorgensen is having a real good
round. He's birdied two holes early in
his round and has just knocked anoth-
er birdie in, off an impossible bunker
shot. Sapp isn't surprised; he's known
of Jorgensen ever since he was an
assistant coach at Purdue.
"He's a great player," Sapp says.
"We know he can go low on this
"It's golf," Sapp says, "This isn't
the same as basketball or football."
As all the players finish their first
round, Sapp hurries down to the club-
house to make sure that every coach
has his bag of lunches to hand out to
the players. The Michigan scores are
not in yet, but that's the least of
After making sure there really are
115 lunches, Sapp goes into the club-
house to get boxes of water that need
to be in the coolers on the first and
10th tee boxes. With the food and
As the players begin to play their
second rounds of the day, Sapp final-
ly has a chance to sit down and grab
some lunch himself. He knows that
his team still has a chance to make a
mark in this tournament, and he
knows that the home course advan-
tage will have to help sooner or later.
When all the golf is over, Sapp has a
120-person dinner to look forward to.
But the food preparation will be
someone else's problem.
Sapp smiles. "We've got a caterer
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