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ONGOING DISPUTE : Ballesteros and Beman Renew Battle Over Restrictions on Foreign Players

June 15, 1989|MAL FLORENCE | Times Staff Writer

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Seve Ballesteros said he's getting a consistent answer from Commissioner Deane Beman of the PGA Tour on the restrictions put on him and other foreign golfers.

The PGA Tour requires that foreign players play in at least 15 tournaments to be eligible for membership. Otherwise they are limited to five tour events a year, in addition to the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

Ballesteros, a Spaniard regarded as one of the world's best players, has had a running argument with Beman about the rule.

They met again Tuesday in a session that included Britain's Nick Faldo and Sandy Lyle, West Germany's Bernhard Langer and Japan's Isao Aoki.

"Deane Beman is a very tough man," Ballesteros said Wednesday. "After the meeting, I had the impression that he didn't have any feelings about our situation.

"We explained to him many, many things and all he said was, 'No, no, no.' I think I have the feeling that he's taking this situation a little bit personally and this is very sad.

"One thing that is interesting is that most of the players I've talked to are 100% on our side and ready to support us."

Beman wasn't available for comment.

Among the proposals made to Beman, Ballesteros said, was reducing the number of tour tournaments for eligibility from 15 to 12. Ballesteros said he and the other foreign players are committed to tournaments in their own countries and that the 15 figure is just too demanding, considering the travel and fatigue factors involved.

"He (Beman) just said no to everything," Ballesteros said.

Ballesteros also said that Langer and Lyle had met with John Mahaffey and Larry Mize Wednesday to plead their case. Mahaffey and Mize are the player members of the Tournament Policy Board.

"Every time I come to the United States, I lose three weeks," Ballesteros said. "One is the week before I play and then when I come back (to Europe), I take a week off."

Ballesteros said that there's a possibility that some foreign players will reject the touraltogether if a resolution can't be reached.

"I think we're talking about four players, Langer, Lyle, Nick Faldo and myself," Ballesteros said. "I love to play in this country, but it's very tough for us to come here and play so much and the number of 15 is too much."

U.S. OPEN FACTS AND FIGURESAt Stake: 89th U.S. Open Golf Championship.

Site: East course, Oak Hill Country Club (6,902-yards, par 35-35--70).

Dates: Today through Sunday.

Format: 72 holes stroke play (18 holes daily).

Cut: After 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 60 scorers and all tied for 60th place and all players within 10 strokes of the lead.

Playoff: 18 holes stroke play.

Purse: $1.1 million.

Winner's Share: $200,000.

Field: 156 (150 pros, 6 amateurs).

Defending champion: Curtis Strange.

Former champions in field: Andy North, Hubert Green, Scott Simpson, Fuzzy Zoeller, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Curtis Strange, Jerry Pate, Hale Irwin, David Graham, Tom Watson, Larry Nelson, Gary Player, Raymond Floyd.

Last champion at this site: Lee Trevino, 1968.

U.S. Open Records: Low 72 holes, 272, Jack Nicklaus, Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, N.J., 1980; low 18 holes, 63, Johnny Miller, Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, 1973.

Television: Today and Friday: ESPN, 10 a.m.-noon PDT, and 2-5 p.m. PDT; Saturday: ABC, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. PDT; Sunday: ABC, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. PDT.

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