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Good Night's Sleep Par for a Chinese Golfer's Course

November 20, 1987|ANN CONNORS

Talk to amateur golfers and they might tell you that the Chinese had the right idea when they banned the sport, which seems to have a frustration factor higher than any other athletic endeavor. But since the sport was reintroduced to the populace, it has attracted such heady participants as Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, who, his wife reports, is actually sleeping better since he learned how to play the game. "When I first went up to Beijing to teach him, his swing was awful," said Peter Tang, who has been teaching Zhao for more than a year. "But it has improved a lot. Now it looks like a swing." China has built six golf courses in the last five years, having plowed up all its old courses in 1949, a drastic measure many an American golfer has considered. But now that they have the game back, the Chinese are taking it seriously. Zhao, for example, has his swings recorded on video so he can see what he's doing wrong. That has helped the Chinese leader to develop a formidable drive, says Tang, who boasts that Zhao can hit "over 180 yards and very straight."

--After getting some heavy hitters on its side, a Little League division in Massachusetts that had been told it would lose its charter because of three teams of handicapped youngsters has instead received official certification. The board of directors of Little League Baseball Inc. had threatened to revoke the charter for the entire 32-team Brockton Little League if the three teams were not banned. But Democratic Sen. John Kerry vowed to intercede in Congress, and the state commissioner of mental retardation threatened to sue, alleging rights violations. The national officials reversed their decision, saying they would allow the special league if the coaches and managers received special training for working with the handicapped. "It's all over," said Roy Groux, an organizer of the special league, the only one of its kind. "I feel like my wife just had a baby."

--A Pennsylvania prison's idea to serve reconstituted butterballs was a real turkey, said more than 1,000 inmates, who used a hunger strike to persuade officials to serve the real thing instead. "According to our last report, the strike is over," Doris Newton, an assistant to the Graterford Prison warden, announced. "They are going to be giving them fresh turkeys." The inmates began the strike Monday night and ended it Wednesday night, after being promised they would get the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Prison officials had planned to use the reconstituted turkeys because it took less time than the three days that had been needed in the past to prepare the dinner.

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