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Air's Army : Jordan Plays With Palmer in Pro-Am, Holding His Own and Drawing 17,500

July 16, 1993|From Associated Press

AURORA, Ill. — They were five deep at the tees and five deep at the greens, with the rest strung along the ropes surrounding the fairways.

They came to see Michael Jordan, king of the basketball courts, play golf with Arnold Palmer, king of the fairways.

What normally would have been a crowd of about 5,000 for a pro-am round of the seniors tournament at Stonebridge Country Club on Thursday swelled to an estimated 17,500.

As the players approached the first tee, fans shouted their approval of the dream matchup, with the focus on the star of the Chicago Bulls.

And Jordan held his own on Palmer's turf for a while. Then Jordan's game disintegrated toward the finish.

Palmer has played with presidents, world leaders and celebrities of all sorts and in front of bigger crowds than even Jordan can draw. Yet, he seemed a little apprehensive of the "Jordan crowd."

Palmer shot 37-36 for a one-over-par 73. Jordan, who plays to an eight handicap, shot an estimated 36-45-81.

"Michael swings the club very well and has a lot of potential," Palmer said. "I was pleasantly surprised the way he goes after a golf ball. I enjoyed the game."

After nine holes, it was Jordan 36, Palmer 37. Jordan bogeyed No. 11, but through 13 holes the two were at par.

"Then I woke up," Jordan said.

Over the last five holes, Jordan found nothing but trouble, including an out-of-bounds tee shot on No. 14.

"I was nervous at the start, and it was a thrill to play with him," Jordan said. "I just wish I had played numbers 14 through 18 better. This was the best of the summer--to get to play with a legend and get to know him. Nothing can replace this."

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