The general chairman of this year's Kemper Open golf tournament at Bethesda's Congressional Country Club said yesterday the club's members probably will be polled after the tournament to determine whether the Kemper will remain at Congressional.
"I'd like to think we would continue," said Robert H. Miller. "The membership approved it by 90 percent when the tournament first came here. I would not think there would be a problem."
This year's tournament, May 31 through June 6, will be the third in a four-year contract between the Kemper and Congressional. Under terms of the agreement, either the club or Kemper may withdraw from the contract after the fourth year by notifying the other within 30 days after the tournament.
Labron Harris, executive director of the tournament, said the Kemper Group, the insurance organization that underwrites the cost of the tournament, "would like to stay at Congressional forever." The Kemper Open moved to Congressional in 1980 from the Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. Kemper guarantees Congressional a profit of at least $250,000 for playing host to the tournament.
Harris explained the change of par on the 7,054-yard course from 70 to 72 for the tournament. The sixth and 10th holes, both long par-4s in past PGA events at the club, will become par-5 holes for the tournament.
"It was something the players wanted and the PGA approved it," Harris said.
The sixth hole now will be 542 yards long after being lengthened 66 yards. The 10th will play 493 yards after being lengthened 33 yards.
Harris said ticket sales are running ahead of last year, but declined to be specific. Tickets are $6 for the practice days, Monday, May 31, and Tuesday, June 1, and $15 from Wednesday through Sunday, June 6. Wednesday is the pro-amateur tournament; the tournament itself will begin Thursday.
Among the leading golfers scheduled to participate are Jack Nicklaus, the leading career money winner on the PGA Tour; Craig Stadler, last year's tournament winner and the 1982 Masters champion; John Mahaffey, winner of the 1980 Kemper; Johnny Miller; Seve Ballesteros; Gary Player; Chi Chi Rodriguez; Andy Bean; George Burns and Dave Stockton.
One of the leading money tournaments on the PGA Tour, the Kemper has a purse of $400,000 with $72,000 going to the winner.