14 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, July 16, 1997
he maize and blue leaves-
Michigan alumnus John Schroeder
D EARBORN When John
Schroeder arrived at a
the Tournament Players Club of
Michigan for the Senior Players
Ca mpionship last week, the
atmosphere felt comfortable. And
for Schroeder, that was a change - a
shift from the pressures of real life
Cynics would question what could
be troubling a man who plays golf on
the Senior PGA Tour for a living.
Skeptics might wonder what prob-
lems could possibly plague a 51-year-
old multi-millionaire who calls Del
Mar, Calif., home.
But without meeting Schroeder,
without understanding the life of the
man, the skeptics and cynics would
remain clueless to his reality.
'-or the majority of his life, suc-
cess has laid at Schroeder's feet and
money has made his troubles fade
- until recently.
All his life, John Schroeder
has played golf and has
played it well. His
game earned a.
lore when he achieved All-America
status as a collegian, and with his
eventual induction to the University of
Michigan Hall of Fame.
If asked, his immediate passion is for
Michigan athletics. His exuberance for
hi alma mater is shown repeatedly -
even on his bag. A well-aged Michigan
football bag tag dangles from the side
of his Cobra golf clubs, and one of his
sticks is insulated by a Michigan head
The bag and its contents not only
symbolize the major aspects of
Schroeder's life but show where he was,
where he is now and where he is going.
As a confused University student in
the late 1960s, Schroeder spent his
f his life's
t a n d s
best play ers,
on the Senior
denced by his
on last season's
money list (out of
drew him back
The family, shich had always
enjoyci the finest comforts of sporting
larne, to had to deal with a larger
issue thin golf
the accident "restructured my whole
lile," Schroeder said.
No, I I months at: the cciden
Scbroccltr xxas back in Michnn, bun
this tie le golf ca use donino d his
thoucli His daughter remtins in the
San Diego area in his x ife's care.
Playing in Michigan put Schroeder in
a comfort zone, unlike the feeling of a
normal tour week.
Schroeder's cousin, Del de Windt,
who followed Schroeder throughout his
four rounds at the TPC, said having
Schroeder in town was exciting for hin.
"It's special to watch him play in per-
son," de Windt said. "I talk to him every
week while he's on tour"
De Windt wasn't the only relative in
town cheering for Schroeder.
His youngest daughter, Jenny, settled
in Ann Arbor last week for her fresh-
man orientation. For Schroeder, the
visit to Michigan further reinforces his
connection to the state and his affinity
for the University.
Michigan "is where I met my wife,
made some great friends and where all
three of my children go." he said. "It's
very important to me, and it shaped
who I am."
So when he took to the links last
week. Schroeder had a clear focus: to
win the final Senior Tour major of the
year. The Michigan Daily trailed
Schroeder through the tourmament as he
rolled through four days of highs and
lows on the undulating terrain.
If two is company and three is a
crowd, it was never as apparent as in the
opening round. Calvin Peete, who
began the day playing in a threesome
with Schroeder and Rives McBee, with-
drew after five holes, complaining of a
Schroeder, three under to that point,
retained his rhythm and turned in one of
the lowest nine-hole totals of the tour-
natntet, recordiig a 32 on the I1-it
H-I e finished lhe rount lhee under nr,
#. 4 S 4
and au niece tswo stots off the lead. the secondl gp it dix This oftece sip
outing wss a dramatic improsieti a sadltle couse foi the 51-yeir old
over his 79 in le opeig rounid list -and ie ciit ilzed
year. and he was quick to pcint out the "Today tle coicitiions were as ideal
nine-shot itovios emeti. as you'd ever want to have, Ie said.
But soon ifter putting out on the 18th "And we were the second groip fill, so
green, he showed lie knew why lie was the course was there for the taking.
the focus of the local media. And take it he did, compiling another
"Go Blue, huh"lie asked rhetorically. 69 - x ith a litie help from his friends.
After carding a 69, contention The atTable nature of the golfing set-
became a possibility, and the former eran brought out numerous Michigcut
Michigan All-America was everyone's supporters, who reminded Schroeder
fasorite alum. The hometown hero was that lie was their player.
making good. Nearly every solid shot was accom-
"It's great to be kind of in my second panied by a shout of "Go Blue" from
home," lie said. "That's real positive." the onlooking gallery, and 'M' hats
ROUND: -3, tied at 69 could be spotted throughout the accom-
Schroeder reveled in the support, tip-
ping his cap every time lie struck a shot
within inches of the flag or whenever he
Early and often. The recurring outdrove playing partner McBee.
themes of Schroeder's second round set "In any team sport, the home court is
the tone for a day of ideal conditions. an advantage," Schroeder said, referring
Surrounded by family, friends and to his following.
fellow Wolverines, he teed off in the He remained optimistic about his
million to begin a career-counseling
program- show ing loy a iy to his alma
"I do feel very strongly as an ex-
scholarship athlete that you have an
obligation to pay the University back,"
he said at the time.
But the visit last week was about
golf, and that was what Schroeder want-
ed to focus on - however difficult it
may have been.
He has parlayed an investment in the
fledgling Cobra Golf company into
mass wealth, and now uses his status as
one of the company's founders to pro-
vide for his family.
But money doesn't necessarily buy
happiness. And that cruel reality hit the
Schroeders last summer.
Schroeder's eldest daughter, Patty,
was paralyzed in August following an
accident on a lake in Pontiac. Ihe
tragedy occurred just months alter her
Michigan graduation, and joy quickly
turned to sadness.
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T2 - 1996 Bel Alantic Classic
74 - 1996 FHIP Health Care Classic
T6 - 1997 Kroger Senior Classic
77 - 1996 PGA Seniors'