Johnny Comes Limping Home
It's Miller time in California's wine country. Johnny Miller will take his first Senior swing of the year in Napa, his hometown. Miller, who was thought to be avoiding competition due to his notoriously bad putting, recently revealed that he had broken his right knee in January, when his parked car began rolling and he jumped in and banged his kneecap on the dash. At the Transamerica, Miller may well outdrive such Senior stalwarts as Isao Aoki, Hugh Baiocchi and defending champ Dave Eichelberger, but he'll have a tough time outscoring them. Time heals knees, but the yips can last forever.
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Tennyson: Tour Shouldn't Shed a Tier
Michael Clark had three top 10 finishes on the Nike tour in 1997. He finished 30th on the money list. Still Clark had trouble getting into this year's events. "I was up a creek without a paddle," he says. According to Nike tour rules, only tournament winners and players who rank from 16th to 25th on the money list have been fully exempt. (The top 15 graduate to the PGA Tour.) Some Nike golfers thought that was wrong. "The most competitive players should keep their right to play," says Brian Tennyson, who believes there have been too many club pros, Q school qualifiers and slumming PGA Tour players filling Nike fields. He helped draft a rule that will ensure a year's eligibility for players ranking 16th to 55th on the Nike money list. The change will be ratified by the Tour's policy board next month. "I'm glad we got it passed," Tennyson says. "What we've done will be fairer than the old system."
Kermit Turns Prince
Until the 1968 Kaiser International, Kermit Zarley was the last name in golf. Zarley, who preceded Walt Zembriski, Larry Ziegler and Fuzzy Zoeller in golfing Z-dom, was dubbed the Pro from the Moon by Bob Hope for his odd moniker. At the inaugural Kaiser, however, Zarley proved his game was no joke. He birdied five of the last eight holes at Silverado Country Club in Napa, Calif., on Sunday to win the event that 28 years later would become the Michelob Championship. It was the first of two Tour victories for Zarley, who was among the first pros to film his swing and lift weights. He wrote three books on religion and world affairs and launched a Web site, www.kermitzarley.com, devoted to his life and writing. This week the Senior tour's Z man tees it up in the Transamerica at Silverado, a course that seems to bring out his A game. It was also the scene of his lone Senior victory, the '94 Transamerica.