The 1997 "New America Grand Prix" is over and now passes away
forever to make way in January for the "New U.S.C.A. Grand Prix" - an
inclusive performance-based system that will track all players in all
USCA sanctioned events at all levels, in both American and
International Rules. Below, the top events of the year and the
top-performing players are acknowledged and ranked - but first, here's
news of the 1997 U.S. Open...
The U.S. Open, played in the first week of December in Palm Desert and Rancho
California, was the anticlimactic final tournament in the 1997 New American Grand Prix. The
strength of the field and the size of the tournament were both greatly reduced from former years,
when the U.S. Open was at times the strongest International Rules tournament on the calendar.
The U.S. Open is one of the few tournaments dually sanctioned - by both the
U.S.C.A. and the
A.C.A. (American Croquet Association). Its decline mirrors the senescence of the A.C.A. itself,
whose formation a decade ago spearheaded significant reforms in the U.S.C.A. leading to more
International Rules play and broader education of U.S. players in the form of the sport played
predominantly in most other countries.
Though plagued by rain, the tournament was not significantly affected by El
Nino, according to
A.C.A. President and Tournament Director Stan Patmor of Phoenix, Arizona, and all the games
were played out in the pre-planned format - the "Patmor Draw." Canadian Leo McBride earned
"holder" status and confirmed his reputation as Canada's strongest player by fending off the
challenge of Denver's Rich Lamm, who fought his way to the top of the elimination ladder.
McBride was the only competitor to successfully complete triple peels.
1. Leo McBride
2. Rich Lamm
3. Dan Mahoney
4. Mike Lufkin
6. Louie Nel
8. Gordon Milse
9. Maurice Marsac
10. Marc Gilutin
The much-weakened Championship Flight allowed several former first flighters
with 5 handicaps
to move up to the rarified air of Championship croquet for the first time.
First Flight was divided into low-handicappers (which saw Melanie Marsac go
Maryholt Maxwell take second) and high-handicappers (where Hope Harmon took first and
Carmen McDaniel came in second).
Social Flight was won by Martha Tucker; Lloyd Hillman was second.