has made golf an off-season leisure activity for years. And some of his peers have seen golf not just as a respite from their respective sports, but also a potential business opportunity. Bowen says athletes like former Cleveland Cavaliers center Brad Daugherty, Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley, and Green Bay Packers linebacker Seth Joyner either sponsor or have sponsored players. “You figure if you get five or six of these guys making $5 million a year to put up $100,000 each so that we can sponsor five of the best African Americans, that’s just one of the ways to change the tide,” says Bowen.
Prior to her five-year drought, Zina Garrison had done quite well on the circuit supporting herself. Along the way, she’d beaten longtime rival Chris Evert for the first time in 1985, Martina Navratilova (after 21 straight losses) in 1988 and won gold in doubles play at the Seoul Olympics. By 1990, the same year she signed with Advantage International, Garrison had reached the apex of her career. It wasn’t until then that she was able to see gainful returns. “I just kept pushing on until I got to the finals of Wimbledon in 1990 and I landed a deal with Reebok and Yonex and that went on for a while until I retired,” said Garrison, who also had other deals with IBM, Bike Athletic and Mazda. Through her Houston-based Zina Garrison All-Court Tennis Academy, she hopes to make it easier on other kids who dream of court glory, perhaps with less hassle. But while the battle to change the tide continues, Garrison remains realistic. “Let’s face it: It’s always gonna be a little tougher for us, that’s just part of it. It’s definitely not a situation where we’re in dire straits but we have to just keep going.”
WATCH OUT TIGER, UVA PHENOM LEWIS CHITENGWA’S TIME HAS COME
Let’s not anoint Lewis Chitengwa with “role model” status just yet. Give him a chance to enjoy his new life as a professional golfer first. Indeed, that’s not too much to ask. Or is it? “I know there aren’t too many people out of Africa in my position. I guess you could say I’m looking forward to paving the way or at least being an example to some young guys at home.” Hey, he went there first. Honest.
Unlike a lot of professional athletes, Chitengwa recognized long before he ever saw his face on the tube or his name in the paper, his role as an athletic public figure. When BLACK ENTERPRISE last profiled Chitengwa in September 1995, he was a highly regarded 20-year-old rated by Golfweek as the 1994-95 “Freshman to Watch” among college players. As a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Chitengwa first gained exposure in the United States after he beat Tiger Woods to win the 1992 Orange Bowl Tournament. Before he came to UVA on a full scholarship, Chitengwa had already gained legend status in his homeland of Harare, Zimbabwe, when, in 1993,