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The PGA Tour's decision to ban Severiano Ballesteros from playing in tour events in 1986 is both understandable and petty. Here's the understandable part. Two years ago the PGA Tour changed what was known as the Conflicting Event Rule at Ballesteros's request. He had complained that the rule was unfair in that it required a foreign golfer with membership in the tour to play in at least five U.S. tournaments for every one he played outside his native country. That was difficult for Ballesteros because Spain had only two tournaments and he played in numerous other events on the European Tour. O.K., said the PGA Tour, a foreign golfer who is a member of the tour only has to play in 15 tournaments here to get an unlimited number of releases to play abroad.
Ballesteros said he was happy with the rule change, and in 1984 he played in 15 U.S. tournaments. This year he played in only nine. Most of the time he played in Europe, where he often gets appearance money, a practice barred in the U.S.
The PGA Tour was justified in taking away Ballesteros's membership, but it is being exceptionally petty and shortsighted in ruling that he cannot play in any PGA Tour events at all in 1986, except for the USF & G Classic in New Orleans, where he is defending champion. Foreign golfers who are not tour members can play in six PGA Tour cosponsored or approved events. Why put greater limitations on a lapsed tour member than on those who have never even been tour members? In essence, the PGA Tour has told the best golfer in the world to get lost, and we agree with Ballesteros, who says, "It was a thoughtless decision that can only harm international golf."
HEY, BUDDY, THAT'S MY SPACE
Hold on to your seat belts for the latest in the condo craze. It's a gas. Condo parking is here. Or at least it is outside Williams-Brice Stadium at the University of South Carolina, where 89 fans have bought choice parking spaces for their cars at $7,500 a crack. Each condo buyer gets the right to tailgate with up to seven guests per game, plus the use of a new 7,000-square-foot clubhouse containing space for barbecues, a kitchen for more ambitious dishes and, if things get either dull or cold outside, dance floors and fireplaces.
Condo parking is the brainchild of two Gamecock fans, Ed Robinson and George Flynt, partners in The EnMark Corporation, a real-estate development company in Columbia. Robinson and Flynt were in their office a few days after a game last season having a drink and talking about how inconvenient the setup was, what with thousands of tailgaters and a paucity of Porta-Johns. Then it dawned on Robinson that there was an acre of vacant land on one side of the stadium. Six months and $625,000 later, condo parking, or what Robinson calls an "exclusive tailgate facility," was in business. All available spaces sold immediately, and the resale market looks solid; Robinson says one would-be buyer recently offered him $16,000 for a space.
Robinson has gotten calls from officials or developers interested in pursuing the idea at West Point, Memphis State and Ohio State. He warns, however, that to be successful, condo parking has to have "an elitist atmosphere" that draws the kind of person who might buy a skybox at a ball park. Has his condo parking made outsiders jealous? "Definitely!" Robinson exclaims.
When trainer Vinny Aurigemma began racing a 5-year-old pacer named Division Street last February, he and the horse's new owners were somewhat disappointed. They had paid $320,000 for Division Street, a record for a 4-year-old gelding, but he wasn't racing up to his talent. The horse was obviously a bit of a flake. Very nervous before a race, he would take the lead, but once headed by another horse he would refuse to go for the front again. Last May driver Michel Lachance suggested that Aurigemma put earplugs on Division Street that could be pulled out during races. The plugs would serve a dual purpose: They would relax the horse so he could concentrate on racing and, when they were pulled out, the sudden burst of noise would spur him into an extra burst of speed.