SI Vault
November 02, 1998
Baseball Bucks Golden Mike Award
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November 02, 1998


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With two scratch players on its roster, the tanned California team was favored in the matches held on Oct 21 and 22 at St Andrews's Old and Jubilee courses. "Their team is stronger. We have an 18 handicapper and a 15," said Richard MacKenzie, St Andrews's caddie master and the author of A Wee Nip at the 19th Hole, a history of caddies. "At least that's what we told them."

MacKenzie's men welcomed their foes with a banquet on Oct. 16. Billed as "a buffet with running refreshment" it became a refreshment marathon that ran into the wee hours. The eve of the match found players on a pub crawl. Finally, on the 21st, the bleary Americans woke to do battle with the Scots and some serious St. Andrews weather. With howling winds off the North Sea making rain—and a few putts—go sideways, the Scotsmen won in a blowout, 13-7. "Their local knowledge was a mystery to us," said Pebble Beach's Bob Keenan.

Afterward, MacKenzie hoisted the victors' trophy, a Scottish drinking bowl called a quaich. He upended two bottles of single-malt whisky into it, and the quaich made the rounds. Players from both teams then hit the old town's crooked streets while MacKenzie and Mike Lehotta, Pebble Beach's caddie master, stayed behind to plan a rematch.

"This could be the beginning of a great rivalry," MacKenzie says. "We hope to make a tradition of trashing them on the course and in the bar."

The Moceanu Case
Whose Money Is It, Anyway?

Teenage gymnast Dominique Moceanu's nickname is Unique, but her conflict with her parents is all too familiar. Last week, more than two years after springing into the limelight at the 1996 Olympics, where she was the youngest member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. women's team, Moceanu, 17, asked a district court in Houston to declare her an adult, with full power to control her own finances.

In her suit Moceanu states that she "has reason to believe that her father has mismanaged" millions of dollars she earned from endorsements, exhibition tours and other work, including an autobiography in which she wrote, "My parents were amazing...the best." A trust fund established in her name "is, for all practical purposes, broke," her suit contends. "I never had a childhood," Moceanu told the Houston Chronicle. "[My parents] haven't been working since 1996. Where is their income from? Me."

Dumitru Moceanu, a former used-car salesman and restaurateur, used some of his daughter's earnings—with her consent, he says—to construct a 70,000-square-foot gym in Houston and to found Moceanu Gymnastics, Inc., a coaching and promotional venture. The business is registered in Dominique's name, and Dumitru says it's solvent.

If anyone is taking advantage of his daughter, he contends, it's a posse of hangers-on that includes coach Luminita Miscenco, with whom, as of Monday, Dominique was living in a Houston apartment. Dumitru recently fired Miscenco and threatened to contact the INS about having her deported to Romania. Dumitru is also considering filing "tortious interference of parental rights" charges against Brian Huggins, a married, 32-year-old family friend, whom Dominique contacted after she left home on Oct. 17. Huggins denies having an improper relationship with Dominique or designs on her money. "Both parents are extremely upset," says Katherine Scardino, the lawyer for Dominique's parents. "Their position is that she lacks the maturity to handle her own affairs."

Wrong, according to Dominique's former agent, Stan Feig. Dumitru "was going to build an empire off her," says Feig, who represented Moceanu during the Atlanta Games. "I think Dominique realized that if she didn't get control of her life, she would not have a dime left to her name."

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