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AMF buys M.J.'s endorsement

Doug Stanard, AMF Bowling Worldwide's aggressive president and CEO, is leaving no pin standing in expanding his corporation into one of the most visible recreation companies on the planet.

For years, AMF has sponsored tournaments, personalities and events, including the World Cup. It now has landed one of the world's most visible personalities: Michael Jordan.

AMF acquired Michael Jordan Golf Company Inc., plus rights to Jordan's image and name, last week under a personal services contract for advertising and marketing. Jordan's company was formed to build and operate high-profile golf practice ranges at select U.S. locations. AMF, the largest bowling center owner in the world with 353 U.S. and 87 international centers, will operate the golf ranges under its corporate umbrella.

Jordan said he wanted two programs. First, AMF will establish and operate free two-week Jordan summer youth bowling and basketball camps nationwide. The camps hope to attract more than 8,000 disadvantaged youngsters. Second, a Michael Jordan Scholars scholarship will be funded through weekend bowl-a-thons at AMF centers. AMF is committed to fund eight $25,000 yearly scholarships.

Last week, AMF announced it would pump $1-million a year over the next four years into the International Special Olympics.

Stanard took the 51-year-old AMF public Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

SUGAR DADDY: Before Steve Hoskins left his Tarpon Springs home in early October for the PBA's fall tour, his 5-year-old daughter, Lindsey, commanded: "Bring home a big check, Daddy."

Hoskins obeyed. The 1989 rookie of the year won his fifth career title at the Ebonite Challenge Oct. 15 in Rochester, N.Y., earning $21,000. He made Lindsey even happier by rolling 300 against Walter Ray Williams Jr. in the final, picking up another $10,000. Hoskins is the 11th pro to roll a TV 300.

After the win, Hoskins said, "This is for you, Lindsey, and for our new house."

Hoskins' mother, Madeline, said Hoskins, his wife, Lisa, Lindsey and 1-year-old Ryan, soon will move into that house, nearing completion in the East Lake area. "They are selling the old house this week and will move into an apartment temporarily," Madeline said. "Steve was home last week to close the deal, then returned to the tour."

Hoskins finished 14th in the Mobile 1 Classic Oct. 22 at Bay City, Mich.

TO GO PRO?: Entrants to the Sam's Town Ladies Professional Bowlers Tour events must be national or regional LPBT members starting in January.

Amateur bowlers will be eligible to compete in tour events only through qualifiers before each national tournament _ and they can't keep prize money. Amateurs who qualify must designate a charity to receive winnings. They also will be given the option of becoming members.

"The time has come for bowlers to make a decision on whether they want to be a professional or an amateur," LPBT president John Falzone said. "Pros are not eligible to compete for prize money in amateur tournaments, but, until now, amateurs have been able to win money on the pro tour."

PBA commissioner Mark Gerberich lauded Falzone for the move and said he would try to convince his board to see its merits.

The women complete the 1997 season with the $102,000 Sam's Town Invitational Nov. 15-22 in Las Vegas.

ROOKIE HONORS: Winter Park's Bill Guthrie is a long shot for PBA rookie of the year, with Anthony Lombardo putting up such good numbers. Lombardo has eight cashes, four match-play appearances and a high finish of 13th in 18 events. He leads all tour rookies with more than $16,000.

John Bauerle Jr. and Lonnie Waliczek are the other candidates. Florida pros have won their share of the honor: Steve Neff, Tom Crites, Ricky Ward, Jason Couch and Hoskins.

MONEY LEADERS: Parker Bohn III heads the PBA money winners with two titles and $204,095.

Williams is second at $196,464, Pete Weber third at $184,984 and Norm Duke of Clermont fourth at $120,760. Couch is 13th and Ward 17th.

The ESPN fall tour ends this week at Harmarville, Pa., with the final from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN.

_ Phil Gulick can be reached at Xerxes6juno.com, aol.com, msn.com or prodigy.com.

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