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MARTIN'S PRESENCE GIVES NIKE EVENT LUSTER, WIDER AUDIENCE
Published March 5, 1998
Casey Martin's participation in the Nike Tour's Greater Austin Open (GAO), which begins today, has tournament officials expecting crowds of 20,000 on Saturday and Sunday, "based on advance ticket sales, gate projections, and Martin making the cut," according to Bill Nichols of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Last year, the event drew "about" 10,000 for the weekend days. Martin's rise "has placed him in a spotlight that shows no signs of fading." Defending Greater Austin Open champion Eric Booker, on Martin: "He's like a Tiger Woods out here" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/5). On ABC's "GMA," Jimmy Roberts reported from the GAO and said there were "more reporters and camera crews here" than there were for Woods' professional debut two summers ago. Roberts: "So, I think it's safe to say that this has exceeded even the hubbub that surrounded Tiger Woods' debut" (ABC, 3/5). THE SAME, BUT DIFFERENT: In DC, Barker Davis writes under the header, "Big Bucks, Endorsement Deals Distance Casey Martin From Nike Tour Brethren." Davis writes that Martin has "unintentionally circumvented" pro golf's "unspoken order" and that "[t]hanks to his marketability," he has "tasted the game's financial rewards before ever reaching its playing pinnacle." Former PGA Tour player John Maginnes: "He's a million-dollar man on a hundred-dollar tour. Damn right, he's different" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 3/5). The Nike Tour is gaining unprecedented exposure this week with writers from most of the top markets at the GAO. In DC, Leonard Shapiro profiles the Tour under the header, "Under PGA Tour's Wing, Nike Tour Starting To Fly." With 31 events on its schedule, the Tour's total purse of $7.4M has "more than" doubled since $3M in '90 (WASHINGTON POST, 3/5).