The $2 Million Man Comes Back for More
Dan Dierdorf may be the biggest celeb among Boone Valley Golf Club's members, but the football talking head, who outweighs Hale Irwin by 100 pounds, takes a backseat to Irwin when the Senior tour comes to town. The two-time all-Big Eight football player—Irwin, not Dierdorf—needed nary a member's bounce last year as he shot a bogey-free 200 to win the Boone Valley Classic. Irwin went on to set a single-season record for earnings on any tour. Having already broken that mark by raking in $2,344,670 this year, he's as close to an odds-on favorite as any golfer can be.
? ESPN, SAT., 5:30 PM; ESPN2, SUN., 6:30 PM
Playing the Shell Game
The silly season is upon us, so it's time to tune in Shell's Wonderful World of Golf. The series began in 1961, and after a 22-year hiatus from '72 to '94, Shell's made-for-TV duels are celebrating the fifth anniversary of their resurrection. Next week executive producer Terry Jastrow and his staff will be at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y., filming a match between Justin Leonard and Davis Love III. The real scrambling, however, will occur 3,000 miles west, in Santa Monica, Calif., where editors will be putting the finishing touches on Fred Couples versus Ernie Els, the season's debut match, which was played on Aug. 17 at the Nicklaus North Course in Whistler, B.C., and airs on Oct. 6 on ESPN. How silly are such events to the players? "It's not life-or-death," Els said after the match was filmed. "We joked around a lot, but I still didn't want to lose."
Arnie vs. Philamon
Thirty-five years ago Arnold Palmer was eyeing his fourth straight Texas Open title and a place in history beside venerable streakers Walter Hagen, who won four straight PGAs, and Gene Sarazen, who won four Miami Opens in a row. Then along came a portly 24-year-old whom one reporter described as "a medicine ball on legs." Philamon Webster Rodgers-Phil for short—outplayed Palmer to win at San Antonio's Oak Hills Country Club that week. Young Rodgers's third Tour title earned him comparisons with Jack Nicklaus, for whom he was often mistaken. Today, Rodgers fly-fishes more than he plays golf, but he entered this year's Utah Showdown and finished 59th. "I only did it so I could say I played in my 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s," says Rodgers, 60. He never won a major, but in the '80s he helped his friend Nicklaus overhaul his short game, a major achievement in itself.