SI Vault
Edited by Jack McCallum and Richard O'Brien
February 26, 1996
Shannon: A Point Guard
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February 26, 1996


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"There were four or five fights to choose from," says BI associate editor Gregory Juckett of the balloting, in which editors and correspondents overwhelmingly picked Benn-McClellan. "I'm just looking at the fight itself, and it was a war."

"Happy Gilmore" Misses the Cut

It's unlikely that the yellow-trousered potentates of Augusta or Pebble Beach will be lining up at the local multiplex to catch Happy Gilmore, the 1990s' far less humorous answer to 1980's Caddyshack. On the PGA loin's political correctness scorecard, this rude, crude comedy about a hockey wannabe who blindsides pro golf is sure to be a triple bogey, even if some of us chili dippers get a minor charge out of it. After all, there's a certain raw charm in seeing a practitioner of the gentleman's game in a fistfight with his pro-am partner, who happens to be The Price Is Right host Bob Barker. "The price is wrong, bitch," Gilmore sneers at Barker.

In the person of Adam Sandler, the goofy man-child from Saturday Night Live, Happy parlays his awesome slap shot into a 450-yard drive that makes John Daly look like a kid with a peashooter. Gilmore becomes the Bluto Blutarsky of the Tour, a cursing, club-throwing (but always lovable) lout with a gallery of monster-truck types tucked around the greens.

Of course, our man has no short game or finesse. Neither does the movie: For 92 minutes Big Bertha is the satirical club of choice. None of this is calculated to win the Tour's seal of approval, though some of golfdom has gotten in on the joke—witness Lee Trevino's popping up in a couple of astonished facial-reaction shots.

Of Sandler's gifts for the dramatic arts, it suffices to say that in his last picture, Billy Madison, he played a 27-year-old elementary school student. But he has Happy's patented running-start swing down to a science, and by the last reel even his nemesis, leading-money-winner Shooter McGavin, a martini-sipping snob, is trying to cop his moves. In the end, a Volkswagen runs amok on a fairway, a TV tower collapses onto the 18th green, and Happy has to try a trick putt he learned playing miniature golf. At least there was nothing floating in the swimming pool.

A Gut-Wrenching Victory

Senior writer Tim Lay den reports on Bob Kempainen's courageous performance at the U.S. Men's Olympic Marathon Trials last Saturday morning in Charlotte, N.C.

A world-class marathoner's misery is usually private, an issue between the runner and his body, the depth of which is left to the observer's imagination. There are small clues—a grimace or, perhaps, an ungainly step—but the best runners are efficient even in deep distress, and we usually forget how difficult it is to run so far so fast.

In winning the trials, Kempainen reminded us, graphically and heroically, just how tough it can be. In the final two miles of a cold, hostile 26.2-mile race of attrition, after dropping Mark Coogan and Keith Brantly with three withering surges, Kempainen became so ill that he vomited five times. These were not routine pause-and-burp pit stops. Kempainen expelled more fluids than a month's worth of visitors to E.R.'s trauma rooms. Think orange, a stomach full of sports drinks consumed en route. Think gallons.

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