The Michigan Daily-Thursday, June 12, 1980-Page 1I
By Scott Lewis
Brace yourselves, golf fans ...
... it's Open season for Irwin
The woman spectator, pointing to the golfer on the practice tee, turned to
her husband. "Look, he's doing an ad for braces," she said, only partly in
"No, he's not," the husband corrected. "That guy with the tinsel teeth is
Hale Irwin, and don't be surprised if he wins the whole thing this weekend."
Irwin isn't among the top favorites to win the 80th United States Open
Championship, which begins today at the Baltusrol Golf Club just outside
Manhattan. That distinction goes to Tom Watson, recognized as the world's
greatest player today and leading the PGA money list with more than
It also goes to John Mahaffey, victor in the Kemper Open earlier this mon-
th who twice has come within one shot on capturing the Open title.
Or to Andy Bean, the gangling Floridian who parlays an awesome driving
game with deft strokes around the green.
Or to Lee Trevino, the tour's second leading money winner this season.
Trevino, 38, has regained the magic swing which brought him three straight
titles in 1973 and a playoff victory over Jack Nicklas at Marion in 1971.
Or, of course, to Nicklaus himself. The past two seasons haven't been out-
standing for Nicklaus, who missed the 36-hole cut at the Atlanta Golf Classic
last week. He is out to prove, however, that he is still capable of winning a
major championship, a capacity which he displayed at the Masters in April
before finishing fifth.
Few people here are mentioning Irwin, the defending champion whose 11
tour victories include two Open titles. Six years ago, across the Hudson
River at WingedFoot, Irwin scored a four-over-par, the second highest total
ever to win the Open. That triumph established Irwin as one of the game's
bright young stars, and two years later he became one of only 16 men who
have collected more than $1 million in golf earnings.
Despite his accomplishments, the taciturn, bespectacled Irwin never
atracted many followers or landed lucrative endorsements. While the Ben
Crenshaws and Jerry Pates (whose achievements have not matched Ir-
win's) basked in popularity, Irwin became known only as a "solid pro," a
The ultimate humiliation came in the 1978 PGA Championship. The official
media guide, listing the standout performers competing in the tournament,
noted the following players: "Eichelberger, ERWIN, Funseth ... "
Irwin expectedall that to change after the 1979 Open. Playing at Toledo's
Inverness Club, he led the field for the last 54 holes en route to a fairly com-
fortable win. On the final hole, Irwin did something he rarely does on or off
the course-smile. It was a big, tinsel-tinted smile, the kind a 12-year-old
falshes after his first visit to the orthodontist.
During the post-round interview,- Irwin kidded writers about his "new
look." To his chagrin, the media spent most of their time describing Irwin's
businesslike; calculating style. He was portrayed as one of the money-
hungry professionals who are generally disliked by fans and tour members.
At age 34, Irwin realizes he will suffer from an image problem. Not even a
shiny new set of braces could erase the "dull" label he carries with him. He
seems tohave resigned himself to this fact.
When Irwin speaks with reporters now, the subject is golf-not his braces,
not his so-called lack of charisma, not his football days at Colorado, where he
was an All-Big Eight defensive back. He is courteous but somewhat cold to
writers who have unintentionally impeded what has been (and still is) an
The 7,076-yard, par 70 Lower Course at Baltusrol is made to order for Ir-
win-long, straight and narrow. That's the way it usually is at an Open Course.
The rough is unusually thick here, which may also work to Irwin's advan-
"I don't think you can physically hurt yourself here trying to get out of the
rough the way you could at Winged Foot, but this course is not for the faint-
hearted," Irwin said to reporters Tuesday.
At Winged Foot, the rough was almost knee-deep, a condition which led to
the demise of many a talented player. Irwin, who is recognized as one of the
game's top long iron men, excels at hitting out of the tall grass, as he proved
Irwin's threesome today includes another champion, Masters Severiano
Ballesteros. The 24-year-old Spaniard said he enjoys playing at Baltusrol,
but does admit the course punishes those who hit errant tee shots.
"It is much more easy to drive at Augusta," he said. "But I like this course
Interested in getting into shape? Whether you are a novice swimmer or nearly
professional, the Masters adult swimming-for-conditioning program has
something to offer you. The program is designed for every level of swimmer who
wants to make it a form of exercise. For further details about the program, which
runs from June 23-August 22, either attend the registration and informational
meeting at Fuller Park Pool tonight from 7:30-8:30, or call the Ann Arbor Parks
and Recreation Department at 994-2780.
Ballpark brawl A ht
MEMBERS OF THE New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers try to break
up Dodger Ron Cey and Met pitcher Pat Zachry during their second inning
fisticuff Tuesday night. The bench clearing brawl erupted when Cey was hit
by a Zachry pitch following two Dodger home runs. The Mets won the
SPORTS OF THE DAILY:
Jets tab Eaves
Sophomore Wolverine icer Murray
Eaves was one of four University of
Michigan hockey players tabbed in
yesterday's National Hockey League
draft. Freshman goaltender Paul
Fricker, sophomore defensemen Brian
Lundberg and Dave Richter were the
other Wolverines selected.
Eaves, a sophomore center from
Windsor, Ontario, was selected in the
third round of the draft by the Winnipeg
Jets. Eaves, who could not be reached
for comment, had said earlier in the
year that he might consider turning
professional if the circumstances were
Fricker was selected in the ninth
round by the Hartford Whalers and
Lundberg was also chosen in the ninth
by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Richter
was selected in the tenth round by the
Minnesota North Stars, the team that
Eaves' brother Mike plays for.
The Montreal Canadiens opened the
draft by selecting 19-year-old Doug
Wickenheiser of the Regina Pats of the
Western Hockey League. Winnipeg,
choosing second, grabbed defenseman
Dave Babych of the Portland Winter
Hawks of the WHL.
The Detroit Red Wings, picking in the
number 11 spot in the first round,chose
wing Mike Blaisdel of the Regina Pats.
Then after sitting out the second round,
selected wing Mark Osborne of the
Niagara Falls Flyers in the third.
Couch switches teams
CLEVELAND (AP)-Stan Albeck
said yesterday he has quit as coach of
the Cleveland Cavaliers to become
head coach of the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs announced at a press
conference in San Antonio that Albeck
has reached a multiyear agreement
with the National Basketball
Association club. Terms of the
agreement were not disclosed, but the
Spurs said Albeck has not actually
signed the new deal.
Albeck previously had signed a three-
year contrat to continue as coach of the
Cavaliers, but Spurs President Angelo
Drossos said Albeck was given
permission to talk with the Spurs by
previous Cavaliers President Nick
Mileti stepped down about a week ago
as new Cavs majority owner Ted
Stepien assumed the club's top post.
A few places still remain in
our upcoming LSAT prepara-
Call 1-261-LSAT for details