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Scorecard November 17, 1997
Edited by Richard O'Brien and Hank Hersch
November 17, 1997
Horse of the Year?...Athletes on Family Leave...Abdul-Jabbar v. Abdul-Jabbar...Transatlantic Rowing...Golfer's Dream...Isiah Lops the Layup Line...The Venus Diaries
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November 17, 1997

Scorecard November 17, 1997

Horse of the Year?...Athletes on Family Leave...Abdul-Jabbar v. Abdul-Jabbar...Transatlantic Rowing...Golfer's Dream...Isiah Lops the Layup Line...The Venus Diaries

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Far more impressive were the accomplishments of Favorite Trick, who won four straight races in Kentucky before moving on to Saratoga, the summer hotbed of 2-year-old racing. After winning the Saratoga Special on Aug. 13, Favorite Trick came back in the Hopeful Stakes on Aug. 30 and won by a length and a half. His streak continued in the Breeders' Futurity on Oct. 18 at Keeneland. Saturday's Juvenile simply reaffirmed what everyone already knew: The Trick is a special colt. And in a year when special horses have been so rare, when only one has done everything he was asked to do, it says here that the baby is the champ.

Murderer's Row

In 1995 Joseph LeGuen of Brest, France, rowed solo across the Atlantic, a voyage that got prominent coverage throughout his homeland. When he returned to France, LeGuen spent much of the next six months lecturing about his trip, trying to persuade one of his listeners to join him on a two-man crossing. After a talk at a high-security prison in early 1996, he was approached by an inmate named Pascal Blond, who was almost finished serving a seven-year sentence for manslaughter. (He had earlier done seven years for murder.) Says LeGuen, "We settled everything in 20 minutes." The two soon started training for the Atlantic Rowing Challenge, a 2,700-mile race for two-man crews from the Canary Islands to Barbados that began last month.

Prison officials were so excited by Blond's decision that they financed the cost of the boat he and LeGuen would need for the Atlantic crossing. A dozen inmates assembled the 23-foot vessel, Atlantik Challenge, from a kit. "Some people find it odd that I have chosen a convicted murderer to row across the Atlantic with, but I look at, at Pascal as another human being, not a 1 criminal," the 50-year-old LeGuen said before the pair set off on Oct. 30. "The race will give him an opportunity to gain respect and dignity."

Each evening prisoners across France receive updates on the position of Atlantik Challenge, which Blond and LeGuen row in two 10-hour shifts daily. At the start of the Challenge, 30 boats were competing; 24 remained through Sunday. With 1,450 miles and another five weeks to go, Blond and LeGuen were in second place.

Rocky Fore

For every 12-handicapper who has wondered whether he could make the PGA Tour given an abundance of time, teaching and titanium, the life of Gregg (Braddo) Bradford should be of interest. Bradford, 31, is the lucky guinea pig in a made-for-TV, nature-nurture experiment that will totally immerse him in the game, all expenses paid, for the next two years.

In the fall of 1996 Bradford told high school buddy John Paterson that if he could swing it, he'd just as soon play golf for a living. (Imagine that!) At the time Bradford was working in marketing for Paterson's television production firm in Los Angeles and hadn't played much since his days on the Fern-dale (Wash.) High team. "Since I'm a TV producer, the thought that entered my mind was, Wow, I wonder how many people would be interested in watching a guy live his dream?" says Paterson, who is producing a cable series that will follow Bradford as he preps for the 1999 PGA Tour's qualifying school.

Thanks to a cadre of enthusiastic backers, Bradford will get unlimited lessons from the David Lead-better Golf Academy and access to its sports psychologists and physiologists; have de facto membership at Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert, Calif.; and receive a hot-yellow Yamaha cart emblazoned with his name and sponsor logos. When he's not trying to harness his driving—early scouting reports say he has a nice short game but is wild off the tee—Braddo will live in an apartment provided by the city of Palm Desert.

As for the dubious notion that an average duffer can reach the Tour in two years, Paterson knows it's a long shot but says Braddo is good at everything from racquetball to playing the drums. "Everybody has hit that one perfect shot, stiffing it right at the flag, and thought, You know, I wonder if I could do it?" says Paterson, who is in negotiations with networks to sell the series. "This is about golf the way that Rocky was about boxing. This is his greatest dream." Says Bradford, "I picked the right friend and stuck with him. I knew eventually he'd pay off."

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