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U.S. OPEN / OAKLAND HILLS | NOTES

Four Decades Might Be Enough for Nicklaus

June 17, 1996|THOMAS BONK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — Is Jack coming back? Jack Nicklaus played his 40th consecutive U.S. Open and hinted once again that there won't be a 41st.

"Sure, I might play again if I win the Senior Open or the USGA wants to say goodbye five or 10 years from now," he said. "I would certainly consider that.

"I think at age 56 the chances of being any better at 57 are not real good."

Nicklaus shot 72-74-69-72 for seven-over-par 287.

He also said he will play in the British Open next month.

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Add up all the shrimp cocktails eaten, golf shirts sold and corporate hospitality tents rented and Oakland Hills Country Club may have made as much as $3 million from the U.S. Open.

There are 29 corporate tents that rent for $37,500, or about $1.1 million. A tent near the ninth hole with 100 tables that rent for $5,000 brings in $500,000.

Time Life rented a couple of rooms in the clubhouse for $250,000, and the board of directors room was rented out at $25,000 a day, or $175,000 for the week.

Sales of merchandise such as hats, shirts, drinking glasses, umbrellas and bag towels were expected to total as much as $8 million. Added to all the other revenue, even after expenses the greens at Oakland Hills take on a whole new meaning.

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Tiger Woods birdied the last hole to finish with a 72, but his four-day total of 14-over-par 294 wasn't enough to make him the low amateur.

That honor went to Randy Leen, a 20-year-old Indiana University sophomore who finished at 291. Trip Kuehne, 23, who just completed his senior year at Oklahoma State, was second at 293.

Leen was the last player to make the field. He was cutting the grass at home in Dayton, Ohio, when his mother ran out to tell him he was in to replace Fred Couples.

"You know, Tiger is a great player, you know," Leen said. "I might have beaten him this tournament, but what I have done is nothing compared to what he has done. I don't think any amateur golfer has ever accomplished what he has done."

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Numbers game: Leen wasn't only the low amateur, he was also the runaway leader in the "you know" category with 36 in his interview session Sunday.

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Corey Pavin closed with a 74 and finished at nine-over-par 289 in defense of the U.S. Open title he won last year at Shinnecock Hills.

"I wish it wasn't over, but it is," he said.

"I just didn't score very well. I was grinding as hard as I could. I just came up short this week."

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