The Utah State Men's Amateur, still the longest continuously held golf tournament in America, will be contested for the 92nd straight year this week, this time at Alpine Country Club.
One hundred thirty-eight players will tee it up at Alpine beginning Wednesday. By Sunday, just two players will be left to battle in a 36-hole match-play finale.This State Am figures to be a wide-open affair with no clear-cut favorites. Last year's champ, Eric Hogg, isn't entered, since he turned professional last fall. The champion of the previous two years, Bruce Brockbank, is also a professional. The only champion of the 1980s who will be competing is 1986 titlist Brad Hansen, who will come from California to play. The rest of the 80s champions have either turned pro or moved from the state.
UPSTAGED: How would you like to be Woody Blevins, who scored a double-eagle on Jeremy Ranch's par-5 13th hole last Thursday? Playing the white tees from 480 yards, he used a driver and a 5-iron to record the rare feat.
Later the same day, Kurt Moore, the Utah long-drive champion, also made a double-eagle on the same hole. The only difference was that Moore made his from the blue tees 542 yards away. And Moore made his with a driver and, get this, a wedge that went in on the fly.
"It was the longest drive I've ever seen," said Lanny Nielsen, the Jeremy head pro, who was playing in the same group with Moore. "He only had 132 yards to the pin, so it must have been 400 yards."
RARITIES: Nielsen wondered if that might have been a first, two double eagles, which are much rarer than holes-in-one, on the same day at the same hole.
According to Golf Digest Almanac, two golfers in the same group scored double eagles at the Pecan Valley Golf Course in San Antonio in 1982. And on Sept. 4, 1983, Oscar McCash Jr. scored two 2s on the par-5 8th hole at Decatur Country Club in Texas in the same day.
Those last two feats are quite amazing - either that or they tell some might tall golf tales down in Texas.
JORDAN ON THE LINKS: If you have nothing better to do next weekend, you can sit in front of the TV set and watch Michael Jordan and Bill Laimbeer . . . play golf.
They'll be part of the $400,000 Celebrity Golf Championship, which takes place at the Edgewood Golf Course in the Lake Tahoe area Friday through Sunday. The idea behind the tourney, which began last year, was to take some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment and line them up in a high-stakes golf tournament.
Besides Jordan and Laimbeer, other entrants in the field of 67 include Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino, ex-NBA star, coach and TV analyst Billy Cunningham, Detroit Piston Coach Chuck Daly, Florida football coach Steve Spurrier and New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor.
"I'd rather be hitting golf balls than quarterbacks," said Taylor, a seven-handicap. Jordan has expressed similar sentiments, saying he wants to pursue a professional golf career someday.
There are 33 players with handicaps of six or under competing for the $75,000 top prize in the 54-hole, stroke-play event. NBC will televise the final two rounds and USA Network will televise the opening round.