WBEZ | golf http://www.wbez.org/tags/golf Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Fairway Flapper http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-05/fairway-flapper-107139 <p><p>The latest screen version of <em>The Great Gatsby</em> opened this week. That calls to mind the story of Chicago&rsquo;s own Edith Cummings.</p><p>Born in 1899, Cummings grew up in Lake Forest among the social elite. She attended an exclusive boarding school and made her formal debut. Her father and brother were golfers. It seemed natural for Edith to take up the game.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-15--Edith%20Cummings%20%288-25-1924%29.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 396px; float: right;" title="Chicago's own Edith Cummings ('Time'--August 25, 1924)" />She became very good very fast. There were no female golf pros yet, so Cummings played in the few amateur tournaments open to women. In 1919 she qualified to compete in the U.S. Women&rsquo;s Amateur for the first time.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Cummings became a favorite of the galleries. She was young, beautiful, and bursting with energy.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;She swaggered like a bullfighter, ready to pounce on any mistake her opponent made,&rdquo; one reporter wrote.&nbsp; A magazine called her the Fairway Flapper, and the name stuck.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Cummings built up an impressive file of press clippings. Yet she couldn&rsquo;t seem to win a championship. After another near miss, one of her fans said &ldquo;Too much dancing, too much bootleg liquor.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In 1923 she finally broke through. The Women&rsquo;s Amateur was being played at the Westchester Country Club outside New York City, and Cummings advanced to the 36-hole final match against the country&rsquo;s top female golfer, Alexa Stirling. This time the Fairway Flapper was ready. Cummings closed out the three-time champion on the 34th green, 3 &amp; 2.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Her victory made Cummings a national celebrity. She was featured in newspapers and all the &ldquo;ladies&rsquo; magazines.&rdquo; The climax was a cover story in <em>Time</em> magazine on August 25, 1924. Cummings was the first female athlete&mdash;indeed, the first golfer&mdash;featured on the magazine&rsquo;s cover.&nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The<em> Time </em>story came as Cummings was about to defend her Amateur title. But the magic was gone. Cummings was eliminated in an early round of match play. After 1924 she seemed to lose interest in competitive golf.&nbsp;She never won another tournament.<em> </em></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-15--Stirling%20in%201915.jpg" title="1915--Alexa Stirling [left] with Edith Cummings, and Edith's father and brother (Library of Congress)" /></div></div><p>In 1934 Cummings married businessman Curtis Munson.&nbsp;When she died in 1984, most of the sporting world had forgotten her.&nbsp;And yet, Edith Cummings did attain her own bit of indirect immortality.</p><p>While in boarding school she&rsquo;d met a young Princeton student named F. Scott Fitzgerald.&nbsp;Years later, in <em>The Great Gatsby</em>, Fitzgerald created the character &ldquo;Jordan Baker&rdquo;&ndash;a champion golfer&ndash;based on Cummings.&nbsp;Trouble was, in <em>Gatsby</em>, the lady golfer is&nbsp;a cheater.&nbsp;</p><p>Why would Fitzgerald portray his old friend that way? There are probably a dozen scholarly journal articles offering an explanation. In any case, nobody ever accused the real Edith Cummings of any rules-bending or underhanded play.&nbsp;Win or lose, the Fairway Flapper from Chicago was always a credit to the game.</p></p> Wed, 15 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-05/fairway-flapper-107139 Justin Timberlake rehearses for the Ryder Cup opening ceremonies http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-09/justin-timberlake-rehearses-ryder-cup-opening-ceremonies-102745 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/JT.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/50378333?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Justin Timberlake recites the poem &quot;Golf&quot; by Randy Sabado with accompaniment from the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.</p></p> Fri, 28 Sep 2012 11:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-09/justin-timberlake-rehearses-ryder-cup-opening-ceremonies-102745 Chicago's greatest golfer http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-09/chicagos-greatest-golfer-102598 <p><p>The world&rsquo;s finest pro golfers are in town for the Ryder Cup. Today we&rsquo;ll talk about Chicago&rsquo;s greatest-ever golfer, Chick Evans&mdash;an amateur.</p><p>He was born Charles Evans Jr. in 1890, the son of an Indianapolis librarian. The family moved to Chicago shortly afterward. When Chick was eight they bought a house in the sparsely-settled Rogers Park neighborhood, at 1413 West Pratt Boulevard.</p><p>That accident of geography changed the boy&rsquo;s life. The house on Pratt backed up onto the Edgewater Country Club. Chick became a caddie and started playing golf. By the time he turned 16, he was a splendid player, and was already being written up in the Chicago newspapers.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Evans%20teen-1907%20%28CDN%29.jpg" title="The 16-year-old sensation (Chicago Daily News)" /></div><p>Golf was new to America in 1906. Becoming a professional wasn&rsquo;t a promising career move&ndash;in earnings and status, a golf pro ranked about the level of a plumber. Evans decided to remain an amateur.</p><p>He attended Northwestern for a while, then dropped out. Evans was a cheerful, outgoing person who made friends easily. He went into the brokerage business, but continued playing golf on the side. He won a collection of second-tier tournaments.</p><p>In 1916 the kid from Edgewater became a certified golf immortal, winning both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open championships in the same year. Nobody had ever done that before. In the Open he set a scoring record that would last twenty years. And he did it using only seven clubs.</p><p>Evans also wrote about golf in newspapers and magazines. In 1921, a year after his second Amateur victory, he penned an autobiography. He also produced a series of golf lessons on phonograph records.</p><p>All these activities brought in money. Evans was proud of being a &quot;gentleman golfer.&quot; Though he&#39;d never played for prize money, now there was question whether he could keep his amateur status.</p><p>Chick&#39;s mother finally came up with a plan. Her son had been forced to drop out of college because he couldn&#39;t afford it. Why not use his golf earnings to set up a college scholarship fund for caddies?</p><p>Evans thought it was a great idea, though it took a while to convince golf officials the plan would work. In 1930 the Western Golf Association agreed to help develop the program. Since that time, over 10,000 caddies have become Evans Scholars.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Evans%2C%201922%20%28CDN%29.jpg" title="Evans in 1922 (Chicago Daily News)" /></div><p>Evans took a financial beating in the 1929 market crash. Again he resisted the idea of becoming a golf pro, and took a sales job at a milk company. He continued to play in the U.S. Amateur, eventually running his string to 50 in a row.</p><p>I met Chick Evans once. It was sometime during the 1960s at the Columbus Park Golf Course. He was practicing chip shots. I still don&rsquo;t know what he was doing there. But somebody recognized him, and a dozen or so of us teenagers went over to meet him.</p><p>He was very gracious. He signed our scorecards and talked to us at length, asking each of us questions about ourselves and our golf games. He was everything that I&rsquo;d hoped Chick Evans would be.</p><p>His farewell to golf was suitably dramatic. In 1978 he was finishing up a round at the Glenview Club. Evans was frail and nearly 88 years old, but he managed to put his second shot on the home hole about 25 yards short of the green. Then he pitched in for a birdie.</p><p>He died the next year. But the Evans Scholarships continue. And the county forest preserve course in Morton Grove is now named the Chick Evans Golf Course.</p></p> Fri, 28 Sep 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-09/chicagos-greatest-golfer-102598 Medinah: Glory of the golf world http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-09/medinah-glory-golf-world-102692 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/The%20American%20Ryder%20Cup%20team%20prepares%20for%20the%20weekend%20competition%20at%20Medinah.%28AP%20Photo%20David%20Phillips%29.jpg" title="The American Ryder Cup team prepares for the weekend competition at Medinah.(AP/Photo David Phillips)" /></div><p>Tucked in the western suburbs, Medinah Country Club is one of the most revered golf courses in the country. Now the world will get to see this famous club, which counts like likes of Michael Jordan among its 615 members, with&nbsp;the <a href="http://www.rydercup.com/">Ryder Cup </a>in action this weekend. This is the first time this prestigious tournament, which rotates between the United States and Europe and is played every other year,&nbsp;has made its way to the Chicagoland region. The tournament has brought record-setting crowds to the region: The actual three-day tournament, which starts Friday, is expected to draw 40,000 to 50,000 partisan fans&nbsp;and the impact to the local economy is projected to reach $150 million. (Pro-shops are already seeing sales through the roof.) Internationally, the Ryder Cup&nbsp;is the third most watched sporting event, right behind the Olympics and soccer&rsquo;s World Cup; over 1,800 media credentials were distributed to cover this year&#39;s event.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/European%20Captain%20Jose%20Maria%20Olazabal%20and%20U.S%20Captain%20Davis%20Love%20III%20%20will%20compete%20for%20the%20Ryder%20Cup.jpg" style="height: 261px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal and U.S Captain Davis Love III teams will compete for the Ryder Cup. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)" />The European team, led by Captain Jose Marie Olazabal, will be challenged by the American team, led by Captain Davis Love III. Twenty-four of the top 36 players will be in action on Course #3. Tiger Woods, who won both PGA tournaments held at Medinah, and Phil Mickelson are among the Americans trying to upend the 2010 defending champions. Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy, two talented players on the PGA circuit, will be lead the charge for the&nbsp;European team. Despite playing for Europe, Donald (a Northwestern grad) is the only golfer that actually lives in the area. On Sunday, the home crowd will wear a sea of red, since Americans are encouraged to wear red in the final day of action.&nbsp;</p><p>The planning for Medinah to host the 2012 Ryder Cup actually took root during the 1999 PGA Championship. Medinah member and Ryder Cup General Chairman&nbsp;Don Larson said the decision was made by the PGA of America after the western suburban course successfully proved it was worthy to host this year&rsquo;s event.&nbsp;Medinah has hosted seven national tournaments and six majors, including the 1999 and 2006 the PGA Championships.&nbsp;The Ryder Cup was impressed with Medinah&#39;s facility, its course and its location near Chicago.</p><p>For the past four years Larson and his staff have worked closely with the PGA-America to prepare to the course and contend with the onslaught of visitors and the intense media spotlight.&nbsp;Course #3, established in 1928 following the previous two courses at Medinah, is known as a long, tough course. All the greens have had some minor alterations to make them all identical, but there was one noticeable alteration, according to Larson. &ldquo;The major change was the 15th&nbsp;hole: We made it a drivable par-4 with a high risk, high reward consequence,&rdquo; he said. The hole that may be a determining factor is the 16th. Bears kicker Robbie Gould played in the Pro-Am game on Tuesday and said it is the most difficult hole on the course. Gould also said the course was in perfect shape.&nbsp;It is a wonder with the severe heat this summer that the course did not suffer the consequences. Larson credited his grounds crew and the decision to close the course several weeks ago; the recent rain has resulted in terrific conditions.</p><p>Larson thinks that when the players leave Medinah they will remember &ldquo;a spirited atmosphere of competition and friendship with the love of the game of golf.&rdquo; There is no money at stake in the win on Sunday. But make no mistake: The honor of winning the Ryder Cup is important to every golfer.</p></p> Thu, 27 Sep 2012 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2012-09/medinah-glory-golf-world-102692