Forget Nick Nolte, nobody was more down and out in Beverly Hills this week than the PGA Tour. Hey, Deane Beman, you want to talk tour-moil? Start with this three-putt:
1) The best golfer on the planet, Seve Ballesteros, is planning to play in three straight tournaments in the Southeast. Unfortunately, those three are not Doral, Bay Hill and the TPC, but Lake City, Fla., Savannah, Ga. and the prestigious Wiregrass Classic in Dothan, Ala., at which first prize is about $18,000 and a month's use of the greenkeeper's Chevette.
2) The second-best player, Bernhard Langer, may have to reconsider his commitment to the PGA Tour in order to avoid being taxed by two countries—West Germany and the U.S.—thus putting him in the somewhat undesirable 90% bracket.
3) The hottest player extant, Mac (Attack) O'Grady, continued his one-man assault on Mount Beman. Somewhere in there, O'Grady may have had something to say, when he chose to speak, but most of the time he was publicly likening Beman to Hitler and railing against the tour for giving too much money to charity and not enough to him. For good measure, Mac the Knife cut up historic Riviera—site of last week's L.A. Open—calling it "a cheap public course" and "a good runway for LAX." All of which made you wonder if Mac wasn't starting to lose a bit of his luggage.
"There is an uneasiness on the tour right now," says Hal Sutton. Yes, and the Bay Area had a spot of rain last week. At the University of Golf, Deane Beman is roped to his chair and a few of the students are looking for lighter fluid.
It's nobody's fault—and everybody's. Golf is stuck in an awkward age. Nobody wants to admit that the Jack Nicklaus era has reached December—because nobody wants to see what waits on the other side. It's like the moment in a movie when the babysitter hears a noise in the basement and starts toward the cellar door. Don't go down there!
What will come out? A decade of floppy disc printouts—Cooks and Kochs and Hochs, tan accountants with backswings and a lot of pastel shirts—or a new D'Artagnan, swinging in to save us all? What's keeping him? Whatever happened to Ben Crenshaw? Or Jerry Pate? Or Bruce Lietzke? The way things are going, Herb may win before Tom Watson does again.
Q: What do Donnie Hammond, Bob Tway, Doug Tewell and Corey Pavin have in common, besides needing IDs to write checks?
A: They've all won this year on the tour.
The list of recent PGA winners is as anonymous as the guest registry at the No-Tell Motel. In the last two years 17 pros won their first tournament. To win $100,000 now is an honor equivalent to having your name in the phone book, yet no one seems to want it in heavy lettering. In the '80s no one has won five tournaments in one year; it happened eight times in the '70s.