SI Vault
Edited by Cameron Morfit
May 10, 1999
Golf on the Radio Medium Rare
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May 10, 1999


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Scott Dunlap, a 35-year-old who played the Nike tour in '98, has made the biggest move up the World Ranking so far this year, while Tom Kite has sunk like a stone. Here are the players in the top 100 last year or this year who have made the biggest jumps since the end of '98.

'98 RANK '99

Scott Ounlap




David Howell




Rocco Mediate




Frank Lickliter




Alex Cejka




Tom Kite




M. Bradley




P. Stankowski




Trevor Dodds




Nick Faldo




*Rankings below 200 unavailable.

Golf on the Radio
Medium Rare

Golf on the radio has never played as well as, say, baseball on the radio. Golf play-by-play requires too many people for too little payoff, and instructional bits are too hard to follow. That leaves the sport only music (Deejay Singh, spinning your favorites) and talk (bunker rakes: in or out?), which is why so few golf shows succeed.

Hooked on Golf, on San Francisco's 50,000-watt KNBR-68 (680 AM) every Saturday at 9 a.m., is the exception. Based on ratings, market size and the fact that cohosts John Abendroth and Mitch Juricich have been on the air for five years now, it has to be considered the most successful of the few golf radio shows in existence. "When we started [in '94], the station director was leery of us doing a bunch of 'Here's the proper grip' segments, which you can't show on the radio," says Abendroth, who made 10 cuts on the PGA Tour from 1975 to '77 and still keeps his game sharp enough to make an occasional stab at the Nike tour. "We've found ways to get around that."

Over the past five years, tuning your radio to KNBR (or your computer to on a Saturday morning has meant hearing people like Juli Inkster, Sam Snead and Harvie Ward. Rules guru Grant Spaeth, the former USGA president, is a frequent contributor, as is CBS announcer and Senior tour favorite Gary McCord. Then there are the no-names, like the retiree who played 50 rounds of golf in 50 states in 50 days and called in regularly to update his progress. Abendroth and Juricich even have a TV show, also called Hooked on Golf, which is in its fifth year of syndication on Fox Sports. The first time they taped it, Juricich had to give Abendroth a shot of brandy to get his mouth to work

While their TV show tends to be a travelogue, Abendroth and Juricich try to provide "the biggest variety possible" on the radio, Abendroth says. There is at least one constant. Juricich, who can shoot 92 one day and 79 the next, is the Everyman. Abendroth, who gives lessons at nearby Crystal Springs Golf Course, is the expert. "Take the new Srixon ball," Juricich says. "He might say, 'What feel.' I say, 'How's it going to help me? What's the difference between a Top-Flite I knock in the water and a Srixon I knock in the water?' "

Abendroth and Juricich are routinely asked for autographs. Their TV show is moving into Los Angeles. No one will ever mistake their show for one of those sports-talk radio programs that thrive on contentious debate, but that's fine with them. "With a baseball or a football team it becomes territorial—my city against your city," says Juricich. "In golf there's more kinship."

Tiger's NCAA Record Falls
Paul Casey's 60 Sets New Low

Last week, while winning the Pac-10 championship at Seattle's Broadmoor Golf Club, Paul Casey, a sophomore at Arizona State, shot the lowest round in NCAA history, a 10-under-par 60. Casey made up an eight-shot deficit to defeat Stanford's Joel Kribel in the final round; bettered the previous NCAA low of 61 (set by Tiger Woods at the '96 Pac-10s); won his second straight conference crown; and led the Sun Devils to their fifth straight title. He also broke Byron Nelson's Broadmoor course record of 62, which Nelson had set while winning the '45 Seattle Open.

Casey made 11 birdies, including six in a row from the 3rd through 8th holes. At the 485-yard par-5 18th, he reached the green in two, but his 50-foot eagle putt grazed the edge of the cup. After draining the three-foot comebacker, he had a 15-under 265 (67-66-72-60) for a two-shot victory over Kribel, while the Sun Devils finished 21 strokes ahead of UCLA. "I really didn't think too much while it was happening," Casey says. "It was just a dream."

Tour Stats Upgrade
Information Overload in 'OO

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