The Kemper Open had a unique boast for its pro-amateur tournament until a hacker named Gerald Ford agreed to grace Congressional Country Club with his presence.
The Kemper's pro-am is distinguished as one with a blind draw for the amateurs. All their names are put in a hat, meaning they have as much chance of playing with Tom Watson as with James S. Kemper Jr., chairman of the board of the sponsoring insurance firm.
Other tournaments seed amateurs to play with the pros in their pro-ams.
But there will be one exception to the blind draw in the Kemper because the U.S. Secret Service must know who is going to be playing with former President Ford. He will play with touring pro Jerry McGee and tee off at 9:48 a.m.
Otherwise, the competition is open to the public. Anyone willing to pay $1,500 for the privilege of playing with golf's best can still apply.
There are 208 berths set aside for amateurs, although the sponsor reserved some spots for its agents and others around the country, the sponsor paying their entry fee.
There will be 52 fivesomes made up of one pro and four amateurs each. The participating pros will be determined by the 60 leading money winners before the Kemper.
Though some pros are said to be less than enthusiastic about playing in pro-ams, a spokesman for the Kemper says, "We have had very few instances in the last six years in which pros did not participate. According to PGA regulations, if a pro is among the top 60 earners he has to show.
"An individual may ask the tournament director to be excused, if he is ill or something like that, but the director has the right to say no. For the most part, the pros like to participate because they can make extra money and get in an extra round of practice.
"The amateurs who play are mostly major supporters of golf around the country. They help keep the tournament going. A goodly chunk of the pro-am money goes to charity; it could be more than $100,000."
There will be two days of hobnobbing for the amateurs. Tuesday will be "fun day," to get acquainted with the pros at a cocktail party and to have the names drawn from a hat for the fivesomes. The tournament will be played on Wednesday, followed by an awards dinner.
There will be $7,500 in prize money for the pro-am competition.
Half will be split among the 10 pros with the lowest individual scores, the remainder among the pros as captains of the teams with the best scores, ranging from $750 down to $150.
Among the amateurs already entered are Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, Redskin quarterback Joe Theismann and former Oakland Raider placekicker George Blanda.