Which is the better slam?
With all the talk of Tiger Woods shooting to win all four of golf's major tournaments in a calendar year, it begs the question: Which slam is harder to win?
Senior Tour member Frank Conner is well-suited to answer that question. He is one of only two people to play the U.S. Open in both golf and tennis (the other is Ellsworth Vines). Conner, who was a member of the junior Davis Cup team and an All-American tennis player at Trinity (Texas) University, played in the U.S. Open at Forest Hills in 1966 and 1967.
Conner picked up golf at age 24 and has played in several U.S. Opens, as well as six Senior Opens. He believes golf's Grand Slam is more challenging.
"With the majors, you are playing on different golf courses. Tennis is played on different surfaces, but every tennis court you play on has the same dimensions," Conner said. "All the golf courses are different in length and different playing conditions, like the British.
"For example, there are certain courses that suit Tiger Woods' game, but there are some courses that he can't use [a] driver on some holes, so he has to account for that."
Several years ago, Conner began writing a book with Al Barkow called "Golf at Centre Court," which examined the similarities between golf and tennis. Although the book was never published, Conner points out many comparisons between the two sports.
"A drop volley is a lot like a bunker shot and the tee shot is a lot like hitting a forehand because you are shifting your weight right to left," Conner said. "Plus, technology and new equipment have changed the way both sports are being played."
Some golf enthusiasts argue that a smooth cigar goes hand-in-hand with a round of golf. Jim Thorpe, John Jacobs and Conner -- to name a few -- usually enjoy a stogie on the range or even during a round. But Jacobs says there are people who get a little steamed about him smoking on the course.
"I get letters from a lot of parents who take offense to it," says Jacobs, who tries not to be photographed or do a TV spot with a cigar. "I'm not proud of the fact I smoke, but I'm too old to do things any differently."
Tee for three
Some tee times for players of interest tomorrow:
8:25 a.m. (1st tee) Fuzzy Zoeller, Tom Watson, Jim Thorpe.
8:35 a.m. (1st tee) Hugh Baiocchi, Bruce Summerhays, David Stockton.
12:55 p.m. (1st tee) - Arnold Palmer, Dale Douglass, Larry Laoretti
1:05 p.m. (1st tee) Larry Nelson, Raymond Floyd, Jay Sigel.
1:25 p.m. (1st tee) Gary Player, Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin.
1:35 p.m. (1st tee) Allen Doyle, Don Pooley, Tom Kite.