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His Airness to return to Celebrity Championship next year

Steve Yingling

Jim Gluckson, Isuzu tournament media director, expects NBA icon Michael Jordan to return to next year’s event.

“Next year, the tournament will go to the second week in July and we expect him to play,” Gluckson said. “This year’s date was a particular problem because he has other commitments.”

Asked about the significance of Michael Jordan’s absence this week, former Detroit Piston Bill Laimbeer said, “It means everybody else we’ll get more air time. One complaint people in Michigan always had was no matter where we were playing, especially on Saturday, they were always showing Michael Jordan.



“For TV, they should show the leaders.”

Mark Rypien, the 1992 Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, feels comfortable with his backup quarterback situation in St. Louis.



“It’s a good situation. (Starting quarterback) Tony Banks is a young kid who made some great strides last year,” Rypien said. “He’s still a little green, but he’s doing exceptionally well for a young kid.

“At the same time, the game is about winning and who can get it done.”

The Rams have surrounded Rypien with several familiar and successful coaches from his past. Former Redskins coaches Jim Hanifan and Jerry Rhome will serve as offensive line and offensive coordinator, respectively.

“We’ve rekindled some old friendships there and it’s a good situation,” Rypien said.

The 1990 celebrity champion doesn’t expect to contend for this week’s title because of his limited practice time.

“I really don’t play much golf anymore,” Rypien said. “I’d like to be in a position kind of like I was last year when I opened with 74-73. At least you have an opportunity to see the leader board. In years past I’ve opened up with an 80 and came back with a 75, then you just kind of go and enjoy the things that Lake Tahoe has outside of golf.”

Unique best describes the way Steve Gatlin became interested in golf.

After playing football, basketball and baseball in high school, the business manager for the Gatlin brothers thought he’d begin his collegiate athletic career in Odessa, Texas, by taking a weight lifting class.

“I remember looking out the window one day and there was a coach out there and about 25 pretty girls learning how to hit a chip-and-run shot. And I said, ‘What’s wrong with this picture? I’m in here lifting weights for no particular reason.'”

Gatlin enrolled in a golf class that spring and has become a decent player. His three-round total of 237 left him 11 strokes behind brother Rudy in 1996.

“Rudy’s a little better player than Rudy or I, but on any given day one of us can beat the other two,” Gatlin said. “My goal in life isn’t to beat my brothers. It’s to enjoy the game. I think you can get a little too competitive in a particular family. You have to be careful about that.”


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