It seemed like a lot of money then

February 09, 2009

When Shearson Lehman Hutton sponsored what is now the Buick Invitational it awarded a Zero Coupon Bond to the player who recorded the low score of the day. The bonds were worth $50,000 upon maturity, 20 years in the future.

Gregg Twiggs, who won the tournament in 1989, had the low score in the third round, a 64. His Zero Coupon matures next month, as the San Diego Union-Tribune's Tod Leonard noted in his pre-tournament feature on Twiggs last week.

It was a substantial sum by tour golf standards in 1989, almost half the $126,000 Twiggs earned for winning the tournament. A tie for 24th in the Buick Invitational that concluded on Sunday was worth $48,760. What a difference 20 years makes.

Andy Bean, incidentally, thought he had won a Zero Coupon Bond when he shot a 62 in the second round of the tournament in 1987. When he was informed that Craig Stadler had equaled his 62, Bean asked, "So we split it, right?"

Wrong. The money was rolled over to the following day.

"Which one of you geniuses came up with that idea?" Bean replied.

-- John Strege