THE ANDY DILLARD story did not end on the last day of the U.S. Open.
The 30-year-old Oklahoma State University product is still
realizing benefits from his unlikely charge during the June
Dillard, who has lost his tour card, has received sponsor
exemptions to play in two PGA events since the Open, according
to agent David Hardin from Oklahoma City-based Cambridge Sports.
One of the events is the Hogan Tour Tulsa Open, set for
Aug. 21-23 at the Golf Club of Oklahoma. The other is this
week's regular PGA Tour stop at the Chattanooga Classic.
Willie Wood, another Oklahoma State product, has also received
a sponsor's exemption into the Tulsa Open field, Hardin said.
Dillard, who plays out of Oak Tree Golf and Country Club
in Edmond, also has an outside chance of receiving sponsor
exemptions into the Greater Milwaukee Open, Las Vegas Invitational
and Buick Southern Open.
Dillard, who was just playing in events on the Texas mini-tour,
had to go through two qualifying stages in order to make
the Open field.
Dillard's heroics at the Open was called "Dalyism," something
created during last year's PGA Championship when John Daly
was the last entry into the field at Crooked Stick Golf
Club in Carmel, Ind. Daly's enthusiasm and booming drives
won over the crowd and Daly, in a span of four days, vaulted
from anonymity to the PGA championship.
"It isn't fair to compare (Dillard and Daly)," said Hardin,
whose company also represents Daly. "To start with, John
won the PGA. But the media drew comparison because they
were both underdogs and both attracted crowds."
Like Daly, Dillard was an unexpected name listed among the
leaders. On the first day, his six birdies on the front
nine attracted attention. He was second going into the third
round, when he was paired with another Oak Tree gang member
and Open leader Gil Morgan. He charmed the media and his
"I'm just glad to be here" attitude and blue-collar approach
won over the fans.
ABC's Brent Musburger called Dillard "the people's choice."
Unlike Daly, however, Dillard fell out of the picture. He finished 17th.
Still, the $18,069 was his largest tourney paycheck in five
years. It also made casual bets at Oak Tree casual again,
instead of necessary.
"As people heard about him making six birdies in a row,
they flocked to his group," Hardin said. "Andy had bigger
crowds following his group than some of the big names. I'm
sure that has gotten the attention of some of the chairmen
of these events."
Still, Dillard's tournament schedule is open. He is limited
to five sponsor's exemptions. That would leave him with
three more, but it may be tough.
"Sponsor's exemptions are tough to get," Hardin said.
"If he uses all five, I'd be very, very surprised. Chances
are against it. He has written to the remainder of the tournaments
on the schedule.
"The Hogan events are regional in nature and exemptions
are given to golfers with local ties. That helped him at
Tulsa. On the regular tour, there is so much competition.
Take a tournament winner from four years ago who wants to
come back and play, but no longer has a tour card. He can
ask for a sponsor's exemptions and probably get it."
Tulsans will get a chance to watch the other local
golfer who made noise at the Open July 20th when Morgan
joins Mark Hayes, Willie Wood and David Edwards as competitors
in the American Heart Association Charity tournament at
Tulsa Country Club. Organizers hope it will evolve into
an annual event.
"We almost pulled it off this year," TCC head pro Rob
Brown said. "There were some details we couldn't work out.
Next year, I'm sure we'll have a shootout."
This year, each of the four PGA Tour golfers will lead a
foursome in an 18-hole scramble. The four pros will begin
teeing off at 1 p.m. Admission is free.
Think the new Ping Zings are overrated? Don't tell
it to Gibby Gilbert. In the four tournaments Gilbert has
used Ping's latest creatation, he has recorded two second-place
finishes as well as back-to-back victories on the PGA Senior
Tour. He was among the leaders after the first two days
of this weekend's U.S. Senior Open.
"I used to laugh at people who used Pings. Now, I'm not
going to let go of 'em," said Gilbert, who has a contract
with Cougar Golf - not Ping. "My contract says I need to
have at least one (Cougar) club in my bag. That's my wedge.
The Pings are staying."
University of Tulsa golf signee Tim Beans of Phoenix
is having a good summer. He won the Arizona Junior Golf
Championship. He also finished third in the American Junior
Golf Association Mission Hills Championship.
Last year's runner-up, Bill Bishop, is among the
favorites in the The Oklahoma Golf Association Junior Boys
Championship, which begins Monday at Lawton Country Club.
Others who figure to do well in the 15-17 age division are
3A champion Berry Sewell of Clinton, Chance Cozby of Bartlesville
and 4A runner-up Jason Sherl of Webster High School.
The first two days will be a stroke-play qualifier, followed
by match play Wednesday through Friday. Two matches are
scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. The finals are Friday.
The South Central Section PGA is getting into the
television business in a search for more exposure.
It is launching a regional weekly golf show called "Inside
the Pro Shop." It will be shown Tuesdays at 5 p.m. on HSE
(United Artists Cable 27). The host of the program will
be Rick Nuckolls, section president and head pro at Reflection
Ridge in Wichita, Kan. The show will focus on equipment,
tips, rules and course etiquette.