Name golfers and winners alike will dot 'best' Kemper field

Phil Jackman

May 28, 1991|By Phil Jackman

In Phil Jackman's column on Monday, it was noted that the ballot for second base on The Baltimore Sun's all-time team did not include Dave Johnson. The omission was due to an error by the newspaper, not the Orioles. A corrected ballot will run in all editions of The Evening Sun and The Sun on Thursday, June 6. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.


Reading time, two minutes:

When Ben Brundred, general chairman of the Kemper Open beginning at Avenel Thursday, says, "We've probably got the best field we've ever had," he's not blowing smoke.

The last few years, a couple of big names on the PGA Tour have avoided the relatively new but maturing course in Potomac, while the foreign contingent was at home fulfilling obligations prior to returning here for the U.S. Open in mid-June.


Greg Norman, a two-time champion of the event and a crowd-pleaser, is back after avoiding the tourney, as are household names like Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw and Payne Stewart and past winners Gil Morgan and Tom Byrum. It's another list of entries that impresses, however.

There have been 21 stops on the tour this year, with 20 winners, and the Kemper boasts half of them in its 156-man field. They include two-time victor Corey Pavin, Kite, Ken Perry, Jay Don Blake, Mark Brooks, Andy Magee, Steve Elkington, Larry Silveira, Ted Schulz and Lanny Wadkins.

One who won't be there is two-time winner and money-leader Corey Pavin, who pleaded exhaustion and withdrew yesterday. He faes disciplinary action for entering, then backing out, says Brundred.

* Hey, where has all that dynamite, down-to-the-wire competition that is supposed to mark the NBA playoffs gone all of a sudden? About the only charge has come from the Chicago Bulls putting the despicable Detroit Pistons out of their misery in just four games.

* It might not be a bad idea if the ballot for The Baltimore Sun's all-time Orioles lineup was corrected. After all, leaving off Dave Johnson, the most successful second sacker ever in this town, is a bit much. Amazingly, the nominees were selected by the ballclub and it wasn't as if Dum-Dum lacked visibility the last several years.

* Not since the days when Billie Jean King, Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong and Chris Evert invariably showed up in the semifinals of the major tournaments has women's tennis been so deep and competitive. Still, it's hard to make a case for them grabbing prize money equal to the men.

Clearly, and often without justification, the men are the main attraction at the biggies and, as witnessed at the French Open, they usually work about twice as hard and long as the women. It's not unusual for a guy to go five grueling sets in a first-round match while the top-rated gals are cruising through a series of 6-1, 6-0 cakewalks right up to the quarterfinals.

* Time was when all a sports fan had to do on Memorial Day was wake up, check out the baseball standings, make a mental note that there was a pretty good chance the league leaders would make it to a pennant and arrange to attend or listen to a ballgame.

Yesterday, you probably noticed, it was slightly different. French Open tennis came on TV live from Paris at 9 a.m. A baseball game followed, then the NBA playoffs, more baseball, an auto race and the final, gripping game of the World League of American Football regular season. Everything but hockey (thank you, Pittsburgh Penguins).

* Speaking of the Pens, hockey fans probably will be talking about the "Year of Mario" until the equator freezes over and there's an NHL franchise in Taneytown. Down 2-1 in games to the blazing Minnesota North Stars a week ago, it was obvious Pittsburgh needed its leader badly.

Lemieux recalls, "Before warmups, I bent down to lace my skates and I felt a sharp pain and spasms started. I skated a bit and things loosened up but the spasms returned."

Mario rested, eased his way into the game and the rest is history, as were the North Stars. Pittsburgh won three straight for its first Stanley Cup and, surprisingly, was met by a bigger crowd at the airport than any of the great Steelers champions of the '70s.

* Worst stat heard lately was one uttered by a commentator during yesterday's Yankees-Red Sox game on ESPN: "[Plate umpire] Al Clark called the fewest strike threes on 3-and-2 pitches last season."

* Obviously, the formula for success in the WLAF is losing as much as you win. Birmingham and New York/New Jersey, both streaking to 5-5 marks at the end of the regular season, are the home teams against Barcelona (8-2) and London (9-1) as the playoffs start.

* Famed cyclist Greg LeMond isn't saying his sport is the toughest, but . . .

Pleasantly surprised with his recent effort in the Tour Du Pont, the defending Tour de France champion says, "This sport has a way of bringing you down to earth. You can win the biggest race going, take a week off and, when you come back, you finish 100th."

LeMond says he's ahead of the conditioning schedule he set for the Tour de France in July and feels he could be a factor in a couple of events leading up to it. He's looking at Tour Du Pont winner Erik Breukink and Pedro Delgado of Spain as the guys he'll have to beat in the charge toward Paris.

* The Army must have changed a bit. I don't recall a guy like Stormin' Norman being able to show up at parades, sporting events, lawn parties and political rallies with regularity no matter how many stars he had on his shoulders.

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