Sunday in Augusta, Ga., Fred Couples became the fourth former UH golfer in 14 years to win the most prestigious tournament in professional golf, the Masters.

Couples is considered by many experts to be the best golfer in the world today. Of the former Cougars to have won the Masters, he is the only one to graduate from UH.

Nick Faldo, who won back-to-back Masters in '89 and '90, played only the '75-'76 season with Houston, while Fuzzy Zoeller, who won the title in '79, played only the '72-'73 season.

Couples, who played here from '77-'80, finished Sunday's round with a four-day total of 13 under par, 275, two strokes ahead of '76 Masters champion Raymond Floyd.

The win gave Couples a $270,000 paycheck and access to a section of the Augusta National clubhouse, reserved for Masters champions. He is also granted unlimited use of the coveted green blazer, which has become almost as big as the Masters itself.

Couples began Sunday's round at 11 under par, one shot behind Australia's Craig Parry.

Through the first five holes, Couples looked shaky. He bogeyed the second hole after scrambling to save par on the first.

After a birdy on hole three put him back at 11-under, he bogeyed the par-four fifth hole, knocking him back down to 10-under, one shot behind Floyd.

Couples' game started coming around on the next hole, however.

He sank a bunker shot on No. 7 to save par, then followed with birdies on No. 8 and 9 to put him one up on Floyd heading into the back nine.

Meanwhile, Parry's game fell apart. With seven bogeys in the final round, he fell well out of contention, dropping to 13th in the field.

After birdies on No. 10 and 11, Couples utilized something all great champions must sometimes use -- a little luck.

His tee shot on hole 12 came about as close to Rae's Creek as anyone has come without landing in the water.

Couples cashed in on his good fortune by chipping to within a couple of feet from the hole, where he sank the par putt.

About the same time Couples was flirting with disaster, the seasoned veteran Floyd was making a run.

Floyd, playing in the group ahead of Couples, hit a 45-foot chip for birdie on the 14th and later birdied the 15th hole, bringing him to within one shot of Couples.

But fortune notwithstanding, Couples' par on 12 preserved his one-shot lead, and with a birdie on 14 and four consecutive pars to finish the round, Couples put the tournament on ice.

Couples was the first American to win the tournament in five years.

Other former Cougars to fare well in the tournament were Faldo and Bruce Lietzke ('70-'73), who both tied for sixth at six-under, earning $26,500 apiece.

Zoeller and Billy Ray Brown ('81-'85) both tied for seventh at five-under for $17,500 each.

Steve Elkington ('81-'85) tied for 10th at two-under, earning $6,800.

Golf is one of the richest traditions in Cougar athletics.

From 1952 to the present, 16 Cougar golf teams have won National Championships. Eight former Cougar players have won individual NCAA Championships, including Brown in 1972 and John Mahaffey in 1970.






Someone needs to tell UH Baseball Coach Bragg Stockton that we have labor laws in this state against this kind of thing.

Last month, Houston's Wade Williams no-hit the Rice Owls at Cameron Field for 10 1/3 innings before the Cougars eventually lost the game 1-0 in the 13th.

On Saturday, it may have taken a while, but Williams' teammate, Jeff Haas, registered a feat at least the equal of the near no-no. The junior transfer from Indiana State turned into an ironman, pitching a remarkable 15-inning, complete-game victory, leading Houston to a 5-4 win over those same Owls here at Cougar Field.

Haas' overtime work gave UH a split of the day's doubleheader and the Cougars' first win over Rice in 1992 after six attempts. The Cougars are 20-21 overall, and 8-16 in the Southwest Conference.

Any more work like this, and Stockton's going to have the American Civil Liberties Union breathing down his neck.

Haas' 15 innings tied the school record set by Jimmy McGee in 1963. It's only two off the conference record of 17 notched by SMU's Jimmy Bowers in 1955.

How many times does a pitcher get to give up four earned runs and lower his ERA? Now that's a complete game.

"I was on first base and their hitters were saying his fastball was just as strong at the end as it was in the first inning," UH first baseman Greyson Liles said.

As the game wore on and the shadows got longer at Cougar Field, some began to question how much longer Stockton was going to keep sending his ace lefthander out to the mound.

"He was going to have to take himself out of that game," Stockton said. "If I would have done it, he'd probably have shot me."

As it was, Haas saved his best weapons for the Owls. Good thing, too, because his teammates seemed to have left theirs in the dugout.

Twice in extra innings, the Cougars had the bases loaded and couldn't punch a run across. They had a runner in scoring position in every inning from the ninth on, except for the 13th, and stranded them all until scoring an unearned run on a Rice error in the 15th.

Liles, who went four for seven on the day, opened the final inning by lacing his second double of the game off reliever Tony Spears, the fourth Owl pitcher.

On the next pitch, Brian Blair hit a sharp grounder to Rice second baseman Donald Allen, who promptly kicked it into right field for his second error of the game, allowing Liles to score.

Earlier, it seemed that UH would once again be menaced by their number-one nemesis this season, the big inning. Rice's Donald Aslaksen hit a three-run homer off Haas in the sixth, erasing a one-run UH lead.

The Cougars regrouped, though, and took back the lead in the eighth on the strength of a two-run single by Derrick Dietrich and Ricky Freeman's two-out hit.

The Owls tied it again in the ninth when Joe Racina singled home Kennedy Glasscock with a sharply hit grounder just to the right of shortstop Jamie Surratt.

That would be it for the visitors from the other side of the Medical Center. When the game entered extra frames, Haas tore into the Owls like an Oregon logger downing Old Growth forests.

Although Houston dropped the first two games of the weekend series, the win was just what the Cougars needed going into this weekend's trip to Austin for a three-game series with the first place Texas Longhorns.

"Hopefully, we can go to Texas and do what we did here," Stockton said. "We may just have to pitch Haas all three."

Okay, Bragg. But just remember, the ACLU might be watching.






The explosive style of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater kept audiences riveted at Jones Hall Saturday.

With its unique blend of jazz, ballet, African-influenced and interpretative dance pieces, the company displayed its immense talents in works ranging from a highly emotional solo to an upbeat, humorous ensemble.

"Pas de Duke," a duet inspired by Duke Ellington, opened the four-piece program. With a constantly changing background -- decorated with multi-colored sequin-like decorations -- as the only major set Desmond Richardson and Lydia Roberts danced brilliantly to Ellington compositions.

Throughout Ailey's take on the ballet-like "Pas de Deux," Richardson and Roberts moved gracefully and powerfully alone, and in unison. Debora Chase also danced into the hearts of audience members with her interpretation of "Cry," a solo work created by the late Ailey for his protege and company director, Judith Jamison.

Chase, dressed in a white bodysuit and frilly skirt, began the piece with a white cloth draped across the palms of her hands. As the music piped throughout the auditorium, Chase contorted her body while she expressed the frustration, pain, sadness and eventual jubilance of her character.

While Chase danced to Laura Nyro's song "Been on a Train," she also displayed her dramatic talents as she cried, letting emotions of sadness come to the surface. At the end of the song, she stretched her hands toward heaven, then slumped over, leaving the audience seemingly breathless.

Chenault Spence's lighting techniques added tremendously to Chase's piece. After concluding her dance, Jamison presented her with a bouquet of red roses while the audience, still spellbound, gave her a roaring ovation.

"Dance at the Gym," an eight-person ensemble, featured several strong performances to techno-pop music created by Mio Morales -- whose sound is reminiscent of the Art of Noise and Kraftwerk. Pulsating throughout Jones Hall, four men and women demonstrated their extreme flexibility in highly innovative movements.

"District Storyville," the final work of the evening, gave the audience a much-needed break from the intensity of earlier pieces. It began on a somber note, as relatives of a deceased man walked through the streets of New Orleans.

Normand Maxon's excellent turn-of-the-century costumes coupled with Donald McKayle's choreography, captured the essence of black funeral ceremonies in New Orleans. The piece ended in the quarters of Storyville -- the birthplace of jazz -- with men and women in a state of revelry. The music of Ellington, Sidney Bechet and Jelly Roll Morton contributed to the lighthearted tone of the final work.






The Student Program Board has come up with a line-up so hot for this year's Perpetual Park Party that they are going to need a fIREHOSE to put out the flames.

That's right -- SPB has gotten Mike Watt and company of fIREHOSE to headline this year's party, but the bill is not theirs alone.

Long Island's King Missile goes on after the funking, raunchy Dallas band Billy Goat. (Hopefully, Billy Goat won't slather the crowd with vanilla pudding at this show.)

British band The Wedding Present brings their sing-song act to the party while Mike and Kira Watt have a set to start off the near-to-dark portion of the show as DOS.

Local bands Shoulders, D.R.U.M., De Schmog and Toho Ehio begin the party at noon.

This Friday is tuning up to be a great show, so don't miss the fun in Lynn Eusan Park from noon 'til midnight.

If it rains, they'll play in the UC's Houston Room.






TLC is an abbreviation most people take to mean "tender loving care."

Three girls, T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli, have taken the first initials out of their names, however, and now TLC stands for their new R&B group that sings and dances to funky, street-level beats.

TLC introduces its sound to the music world on the new CD, OOOOOOOHHH... ON THE TLC TIP. The CD carries the message TLC wants to give its audience about sex, relationships and love.

"Aint' 2 Proud 2 Beg," the first track on the release, has headed up the R&B charts. A strange combination of T-Boz's sultry voice and Left Eye's rapping and hip-hop rhythms turns out sounding great.

"Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" conveys the idea that society thinks women shouldn't be sexually aggressive. But in the single, TLC advises women: "Screamin' loud and holding sheets/Scared that you'll be called a freak/ Gotta let it go while you can."

TLC wears a funky, baggy, street-chic attire on the "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" video. While the ladies are singing and rapping openly on the video about sex, their steet-level attire is adorned with muliple condoms. Left Eye even wears a condom over her left eye.

The girls say they wear condoms to signify the importance of safe sex

Another sure hit from the CD is "Shock Dat Monkey." It tells women that if their husbands/boyfriends are having affairs with other women, the best thing for them to do is sleep around too.

The lyrics explain, "If you do unto him/ What he does all the time/ That's the only thing for sure/ To keep that nickel (man) in line."

With its great beat, "Shock That Monkey" could cross-over from R&B into the pop music arena.

OOOOOOOHHH... ON THE TLC TIP has a varied collaboration of musical talents.

The romantic ballad singer, Babyface, and his producing partner, L.A. Reid, produced "Shock Dat Monkey."

Daryl Simmons, Dallas Austin and Marlley Marl, whose credits include Heavy D and L.L. Cool J, also participated in the creation of OOOOOOOHHH... ON THE TLC TIP.

Purchasing TLC's new CD is bound to make you funky.






Though the debate whether to castrate Steven Allen Butler died over three weeks ago, Jew Don Boney, chairperson of the National Black United Front, spoke about the case and his involvement in it at Pathfinder Bookstore Saturday.

On March 7, Butler purportedly told District Judge Michael McSpadden that he wanted to be castrated instead of going to prison. Instead of a 35-year sentence, he would receive a 10-year probated sentence and deferred adjudication.

Butler reportedly read accounts of McSpadden's viewpoints of castration being an effective way to prevent sexual offenders from committing more sex-related crimes and opted for castration to receive a lesser sentence.

The plan collapsed March 16 when no physician could be found to perfom the operation because of the debate and controversy surrounding it.

Boney became involved in the case when Butler's brother called him, asking for help since the family did not know what to do, he said.

"My first involvement was to stop castration from being used on Butler because I felt that it was wrong. The lawyer (Clyde Williams) didn't let the family know about what was going on in the case. There is a false impression that the family supported castration being used on Butler," Boney said.

Butler was told by his lawyer that he would have to spend 35 years in prison, or he could be castrated instead, Boney said. Since Butler has an I.Q. of 69, he did not understand his rights, and, as a result, he was manipulated by the political system, Boney said.

"Where are all the lawyers in town? Where are all the judges? Where was the NAACP? Where was the American Civil Liberties Union? When we get to this point in 1992 that this (castration) almost came into being, something is wrong," Boney said.

Williams persuaded Butler's fiancee to get him to agree with castration, Boney said.

"It (castration) was portrayed as an innocuous procedure; Butler thought he would still be able to have sexual relations," Boney said.

Butler's family wants to change lawyers because they feel like they have been "sold out," he said. Instead of Butler being castrated, they feel, the judge should have ordered Butler to receive psychological treatment, he said.

Butler will be like hundreds of other prison inmates who need to be treated for their sexual problems, yet stay in jail instead of being cured, Boney said.

Boney also said that castration was a form of cruel and unusual punishment, therefore unconstitutional: "The Eighth Amendment rolled off the judge's (McSpadden) back like water on a duck," Boney said.

The media played an important role in setting up public opinion in favor of Butler's castration by referring to him as a "convicted child molester," he said.

Previously, Butler has been convicted of fondling, but not having sexual relations with a child; the media's depiction of Butler caused public opinion to be against him, he said.

Boney also compared the use of castration to punish sexual offenders to experiments conducted by Josef Mengele in Nazi Germany during World War II.

"It isn't up to a judge to play God. It's up to him to implement laws, not create them," Boney said.






After six years of study, assurance she would be granted a bachelor's degree in Italian studies, completion of her approved degree plan and being approved for graduation, Suzanne Walton is enraged that UH has denied her a degree.

Walton was assured by a professor and academic advisor that while UH had not yet gained approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to grant an Italian studies degree, this was just a formality. Later, she was told the degree plan had actually been approved by the THECB.

Walton said, "All through my college career, I've heard students complain about the inadequacies at UH, and I think this exemplifies just a classic case of it. This could only happen at UH."

Now, UH administrators are scrambling to make up for their mistake and help Walton out until they get approval from the THECB to grant her degree.

Chair of the Hispanic and Classical Languages Department Dennis Parle said based on the news that the Board of Regents had approved the Italian studies degree, he announced to the department that they could now offer the degree, which has been approved at all levels on the UH campus, but the THECB must still give final approval before UH can officially grant the degree. UH has submitted a proposal for the degree plan to the THECB, but the board is under no deadline to approve it, and no one can say when it will be approved.

Parle admitted a mistake was made. "In my inexperience, and I admit this, I thought that (Regents' approval) meant we could offer the degree," he said.

Parle said the professor, Luisetta Choemel, and the academic advisor, June Waldman, who encouraged Walton were only following what they believed to be true.

College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication Associate Dean Lawrence Curry said mistakes were made at the department and college levels.

Approval of Walton's degree plan bears Curry's signature, and Walton's graduation application bears Waldman's signature as the college degree-plan analyst.

Curry said someone probably didn't read the course book accurately. A side note states the Italian studies degree is offered at UH pending THECB approval.

Curry said one of the reasons his college expected quick approval was because before now, approval of new degree plans was handled by THECB staff in a less-formal manner. Now, any new degree programs must go before the official board.

Meanwhile, Walton cannot land a job without a degree.

"I talked to somebody at the Italian consulate and explained my situation to them, but they are basically not interested in anybody without a degree," she said.

Walton has a 4.0 GPA in her major and a 2.63 overall. She has also attended the Lorenzo de' Medici school in Florence, Italy, earning four diplomas in cultural studies there.

Curry said he is currently writing a letter for Walton to put with her resume stating she has completed all the requirements for her degree and has even offered her an alternative degree in classical studies.

"Our effort has been to do whatever is possible to help her because the mistake is ours," he said.






A large portion of American society is deprived of the time-honored convention of marriage. Homosexual marriages aren't legally-binding, so most gay couples simply don't worry about tying the knot.

Adrian Ozuna, president of the Gay and Lesbian Student Organization, said no state allows gay marriages, although a case pending may soon allow them in Washington, D.C.

He said legal problems keep a lot of gays out of unofficial marriages; for instance, they can't file joint tax returns. But he said many gays would pursue marriage if the practice were as accepted as it is for straights.

For gays seeking a commitment to a permanent monogamous relationship, unofficial marriages, or unions, are available. They are not regarded as legal by most institutions, but Ozuna said most people in the gay community recognize them.

Most churches won't perform such a ceremony.

Lawrence Herbert, a United Methodist minister at UH, said his church takes the stance that marriage is for heterosexuals only.

"I consider (homosexuality) an abnormality," he said. "The main thing is this lifestyle should not be thrust upon other people.

"(Gays being legally married) would place a stamp of legitimacy to it, which I think would be a mistake."

Herbert acknowledged that most ministers are, like himself, "locked in our upbringing and the stances of our churches, especially the mainline theological stances." But he said he could not help a gay couple in need of a pastor to perform the ceremony.

"The Methodist Church does not approve of same-sex marriages," he said, "but I would say, `God bless you, and I hope that you find happiness in this life.'"

Patrick, a senior English major, and Edward (not their real names) plan to get married in May when Edward moves to Houston.

After Edward answered a classified ad in the Public News last October, the two corresponded by mail and met for the first time in January. Patrick said he only wanted a friend, but as the two got to know each other, through over 600 pages of letters, their romance blossomed.

In late January, they decided to get married. A friend of Patrick's, also a UH student, will perform the ceremony.

Patrick said his parents have met Edward and like him a lot, but they don't know either one is gay or that Edward will soon be their son-in-law.

Patrick said he is unsure how his parents will react to the news.

"I'm almost to the point where I need to tell them," he said.

"My parents definitely have biases against gay people," he said. "They believe it's a sin. They believe in a lot of stereotypes about them -- they think gay people abuse children, and all gay people are promiscuous.

"My dad objects to the word gay, because he doesn't believe a homosexual can be happy."







Recent findings indicating that American children are increasingly born into poverty have been attributed in part to the rising number of minority immigrants, mostly Hispanic, settling in urban areas, but these aren't the only ones joining the ever-growing ranks of the poor.

Karen, 27, moved to Houston four years ago from Syracuse, N.Y., in search of new opportunities and a fresh start in life. Today, however, after a series of bad breaks, Karen is desperately trying to find work to support herself and her 5-month-old son, tottering precariously on the fence that delineates necessities, like food and shelter, from being literally homeless.

Karen's story is not atypical. Her husband has been in jail since January on drug charges, and she quit her job as a bartender after a harrowing drug-related shootout involving several employees at the bar where she worked.

"It's too dangerous," she said, of trying to find another job as a bartender. "People come in with Uzis and stuff, saying `we're going to blow you away' over a $1 pool game. You know, the balls wouldn't come out."

What is perhaps atypical about Karen's story, though, in the eyes of the public and the media, is that she is a poor mother seeking welfare benefits -- and she is white.

"The part of the myth or the reason it's so easy for the public to gravitate toward the poor being all minorities is that the media outlets in major metropolitan areas show more minorities," said Chuck Adams, public information officer for Texas Department of Human Resources. "The fact of the matter is that a majority of people on welfare are white."

City Council member Eleanor Tinsley agreed: "Statistically, there are just more white people, so there's more poor white people. There's not any doubt about that."

Adams said the media in big cities like Houston consistently project images of minorities as society's chief recipients of welfare benefits and as the primary perpetrators of crime, leading to negative stereotyping and giving an altogether skewed view of the national picture.

"We don't have the luxury of sending camera crews to a small town outside of Spokane, Wash., to do a piece on poverty," Adams said, "just as Channel 13 isn't going to wait for a white man to rob a liquor store. This isn't to say that night in and night out, there's more white crime; it's just easier to show what's going on in your area."

Sally Shipman, who is with the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County, said: "There are more Anglo people; blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately represented."

None of the welfare agencies in the Houston area keep records on ethnic breakdown, which is likely because such data may be perceived to be "couched right in racism," as Adams said.

However, records at the Westheimer Social Ministry, a church-affiliated, tax-exempt, non-profit organization that gives emergency assistance to the indigent in West Houston, show a large number of white clientele in recent years.

From 1989 to 1991, 2,878 whites have come through WSM's doors seeking assistance, compared with 4,038 Hispanics, 2,931 blacks and 270 other ethnic groups.

Peg Dudar, director of WSM, said the large number of Hispanics can indeed be attributed to the influx of Mexican immigrants to Houston. But because these immigrants are not U.S. citizens, these numbers should not be considered a reflection of the welfare system.

"They (the Hispanics) can't go to welfare departments," Dudar said. "A lot of them move over the border to have their children born here, and those children can be eligible for any of the benefits -- AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), food stamps, whatever. But that doesn't get them into the welfare system. None of them are dipping into the troughs; they can't do that."

Dudar made a presentation on March 31 to the Harris County Commissioner's Court, outlining her organization's disgruntlement with the current system in which city apartment complexes deal with indigent residents delinquent on their rent -- something about which Karen knows all too well.

"I paid the rent late; all they want (the management at her apartment complex) is the late charges," Karen said, referring to $120 in accumulated late charges her complex has leveled at her because she paid her $400-a-month March rent payment late.

Her complex is threatening to evict her and seize all her possessions if she doesn't pay the charges within three days.

"I was tripping last night," Karen said. "I was saying, `Oh God, I don't want to be out on the street with my baby.'

Apartment complexes routinely charge anywhere from $2 to $5 in daily late fees on top of the $25 late charge after the third day of the month, Dudar said.

Dudar's main point of contention, however, is that before an indigent person, who cannot pay his or her rent, can apply for welfare benefits, he or she must go to court and obtain an eviction notice from a county constable, that must be produced at the welfare department -- costing another $60.

"So now, a client owes all of that (the $25 late charge, the daily late fees and the $60 for the eviction notice), and if they don't pay it, it rolls over as rent at the end of the next month," Dudar said. "So next month, your rent is $500."

Often an indigent renter is unaware he or she can obtain the eviction notice at such an early stage in the game, and the apartment complex arranges for the notice itself -- many days of additional late fees later.

"What I would propose," Dudar said, "is that they (the welfare agencies) accept the late notice of $25 and leave it at that (rather than forcing the indigent renters to the $60 eviction notice)."

As a result of this process, people like Karen embark upon a frantic tour of the city, clock running, rushing from welfare departments to church coalitions, striving to secure enough money to pay off their apartment complexes before being tossed out onto the pavement.

"Meanwhile, they should be out looking for work," Dudar said.

Unlike most big cities, Houston has only two welfare agencies: The Texas Department of Human Resources and Harris County Social Services.

The perpetual lines and sloth-like, tedious processing of paperwork at HCSS has so far produced a meager offering of $20 in food stamps in the two-month period Karen has been unemployed and seeking benefits.

Her frustration is more than evident -- and the racial tensions that sadly mar the welfare process are equally apparent.

"I'm a minority because I'm white. I'm not prejudiced; that's just how I feel. All those Mexicans, they get everything. Their husbands are sitting outside with their nice trucks, you know? I don't understand it; what am I doing wrong?

"My girlfriend, she's Hispanic, went to welfare a few weeks ago. Her husband does construction and makes a lot of money. She applied for emergency food stamps and got $200 right there. They gave me 20 bucks. How much formula (for her baby) does that buy?"

Getting day care for her baby, costing about $90 a week, had been a virtual impossibility, Karen said, until Children's Protective Services agreed to take care of the infant while she tries to find work.

Karen, who has a high school education, wants to go to college.

"I don't care about me; it's the baby."



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