A diverse U.S. team used guts and giggles to win back the Curtis Cup
Jenny Chuasiriporn and Beth Bauer were the newsmakers going into the 30th biennial Curtis Cup match between America's best female amateurs and a team from Great Britain and Ireland, but the kids weren't the story. Cup vets Kellee Booth and Brenda Corrie Kuehn led a 10-8 U.S. victory that brought the Cup stateside for the first time since 1990, giving the U.S. a 21-6-3 lead in the series.
The home team at the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis was a mismatched set, a combination of seasoned amateurs and youngsters like Chuasiriporn and Bauer. Four players were 33 or older; the other four were under 23. Last month her teammates voted to postpone a four-day practice to stay in Wisconsin and root for Chuasiriporn in her U.S. Open playoff. Her sunny, why-worry take on golf set the team's attitude. "The Open was great," she says. " Se Ri Pak and I were polite to each other, but we didn't talk until the end, when I said 'Jump in the water.' I was going to jump in if I won, but Se Ri wouldn't do it."
"With four young players and four mature ones, we were a good fit," said Carol Semple Thompson, 49, when the Cup was won. "I didn't intimidate them." As if. Even the veterans were so loose that Corrie Kuehn, 33, said, "I laughed and giggled all week."
Chuasiriporn and Bauer, the 18-year-old U.S. Junior champ who will join Jenny at Duke this fall, didn't live up to their clippings. "It's tough when you have everyone in your face, saying, 'Win it for us, win it for us,' Chuasiriporn said. She and Bauer went a combined 1-4-1, dropping both of their matches as a team in the foursomes competition. They were benched on Sunday, but when Corrie Kuehn knocked in a four-footer to clinch the Cup, the first embrace she got was a strange four-armed one. It was Chuasiriporn and Bauer, striking for a simultaneous victory hug, their best team-up all week.
Watch L.A. Liaw
The number is 12. That's how far under par Henry Liaw (rhymes with pow) went at the par-70 Alhambra ( Calif.) Golf Course during a junior tournament on July 14. Twelve is also his age. Henry, who hails from Rowland Heights, a Los Angeles suburb a few strip malls from Tiger Woods's boyhood home in Cypress, clouts 260-yard drives and chases birdies like a Tiger cub. Two weeks after his 58 broke the course record at Alhambra, he fired a course-record 65 on the Babe Zaharias Course at Industry Hills, a track so tough that Tom Watson once said amateurs shouldn't be allowed to play there. "I try to hit it straight like Justin Leonard. He's my favorite," says Henry, who won his age bracket at the Junior World Championships in San Diego last month. So fearless is he that during his 58, he kept score by shouting "That's eight!" and "That's nine!" as his birdies piled up.
Henry's father, Nick, who owns an auto-parts warehouse, came to the U.S. from Taiwan with wife Cindy in 1978. Nick, who doesn't play golf, calls the game "good for kids because it trains them to be patient and to respect others." He also believes that "the green of the grass protects their eyes." His 5'5", 130-pound son, whose framing table holds plenty of burgers and strawberry ice cream, had his eyes and putter working last Friday in Pasadena. Henry won the Eaton Canyon Junior Tournament, the latest of his 30-plus junior tides. Of the inevitable comparisons to Woods, Henry says, "He's better than me." So far.
In business as in golf, the penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard can be stiff. Jack Nicklaus learned that lesson last week when shareholders sued his publicly traded company, Golden Bear Golf Inc., for misstating its 1997 earnings. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, Fla., on July 28, the day after New York's NASDAQ exchange suspended trading in Golden Bear stock (symbol: JACK). Golden Bear touched off the crisis when it issued a restatement of its '97 earnings. Instead of a $2.9 million loss, as originally reported, the company now says it lost $24.7 million. Its stock, which traded at $22.50 four days after the firm went public in 1996, dipped to $4 before trading of it was halted.