HOGAN: A LOSS MADE GOOD
Ben Hogan and his articles ("The Grip," March 11; "Stance and Posture," March 18) have upset Charlottesville and everyone who plays golf. The University of Virginia golf team is practicing in the rain to test Ben's theory.
Personally, I think the articles contain some of the soundest thinking we have ever had. It has been our loss that many of the top players of the past have not been able to impart their knowledge to others. Now we have the greatest champion of our era giving good advice to those who will listen.
Hogan and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED have made a great contribution to the game of golf.
Professional, Farmington CC
My husband is poised in the living room, a firm yet relaxed grip on the poker, squarely facing the coffee table and addressing a small but valuable ashtray. For goodness sake, send the swing installment so I can get him out of here. All he keeps mumbling is, "So far, so good."
MRS. JAMES PARKER
New York City
March 25, 1957
HOGAN: FRIENDLY PERSUASION
CAN YOU SEND ME 250 COPIES OF HOGAN'S FIVE LESSONS? I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE THEM TO THE MEMBERS OF MY CLUB.
J. D. RUFFNER
•We will try, but copies of the first installments are hard to locate.—ED.
Hogan's lessons have been clear and informative, but any thought that they will improve my game is, regretfully, a fantasy.
JOHN RICE PRINGLE
Hot Springs, Ark.
Hogan, Wind and Ravielli—magnificent. But must I wait three more weeks to play in the 70s?
WILLIAM P. ARNOLD JR.
HOGAN: THE BUDDY SYSTEM
Here is how to benefit from Hogan's lessons. Get an extra copy for a golfing friend, pick up a couple of clubs and work on it together, one man correcting the other on the basis of Hogan's advice and Ravielli's drawings. I have found it to work beautifully . . . .
Hogan's advice on the stance is the soundest and most important article on golf basics I have ever read. I have played the game for a long, long time, with a present handicap of 8 (up from 2 in 1946), yet Hogan's dicta on the position and movement of the elbow in stance and swing are something I have never before understood. Golf is a great game because it is a cerebral game. Thinking good golf is vital to playing good golf. For that reason I doubt whether we can take Hogan too seriously when he says that he sees no reason why anyone who has mastered his lessons cannot play in the 70s. To play in that bracket you must be able to think and plan your round, which is an art in itself. Hogan is the greatest thinker in golf. For that reason Hogan is the greatest golfer we have known, as well as the greatest competitor.
H. T. F. FARRELL
HOGAN: 99% OF THE ANSWER
Hogan hits the answer to the game of golf in the fifth line of his first essay, "The Grip" (SI, March 11): "How many hundreds of thousands of shots I have hit on practice fairways. . . ."
Digest Hogan's fundamentals. Then hit golf balls till your arms drop off, and, man, you'll really play golf as it was meant to be played.
HOGAN: NEW MASTER
I don't know a darn thing about golf. But I do know this: Artist Anthony Ravielli is a genius!
MARTIN J. PETERS
New York City
HOGAN: IN DEFENSE OF NELSON
The March 11 cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has awarded the title "greatest golfer of our time" to Ben Hogan. Greatest champion perhaps, greatest competitor the game has ever known, gamest golfer, all these things may well belong to Hogan. The title "finest swinger of a golf club" goes to Snead, and the sentimentalists will always remember Bobby Jones perhaps as the man who gave the most to the game because he gave the game to the people.
But the title of "greatest golfer of our time," as determined by the consistent ability to get the ball in the hole with the minimum number of strokes, belongs to Byron Nelson—205 competitive rounds during the years of 1944-45 with a stroke average of 68.47 stands supreme in the recorded history of the sport.
STEELHEAD: THE DAY
Your wonderful Mr. O'Neil's Excalibur: The Steelhead (SI, March 11) has finally explained to me fully and satisfactorily the look on my husband's face on a bitter cold February evening in 1955. That expression far surpassed in pride and pleasure the wedding-day look, the day-the-first-son-was-born look and even the look of the day-of-the-big-raise.
It was the end of the final day of the fishing season on Oregon's North Umpqua River, and from the murky, sleeting, cold gloom of an icy river path my triumphant spouse, icicles literally hanging from his face, announced he had come home with two steelhead caught that afternoon. I'm certain it was the best day of his life, and after reading Mr. O'Neil's piece I think I know why.
MRS. JAMES H. TERRY
STEELHEAD: OLD FRIENDS
Congratulations to Paul O'Neil for the magnificent steelhead piece—the talk of sportsmen here. You'd guess that O'Neil was born and brought up on the banks of Tarheel Hole in the Skagit. He actually gets into the character of the steelie and draws a picture of the attributes that make him, above anything else between fins, the finest of all fish to Northwesterners. Does O'Neil come from here?
MRS. JOSEPH CONNELLY
•Paul O'Neil used to play hooky from the University of Washington at Seattle to go after the steelhead.—ED.
I was born in Washington but moved away to the prairie states at an early age. My father fished for steelhead many times in the streams of Washington. He always maintained that it was the greatest of fishing and would often tell me stories of the sleelhead. His eyes would light up and he would relive each experience. He would have loved to have read Mr. O'Neil's article. I can just hear him saying "amen" to Mr. O'Neil's statement, "He burns with savage energy."
Roseville Community Unit Schools
In the March 11 issue the fine portrait of the steelhead trout was credited to Rudolf Freund. The artist responsible for this illustration was actually John Langley Howard.
A CHANCE TO FISH AGAIN
Bully for rep√™chage's etymology and definition (E & D, Feb. 25).
Now, how do you pronounce it?
GLENN F. GOSTICK
•Reppayshage—the last syllable to rhyme with massage.—ED.
OPEN TENNIS: THE TIME FOR PROGRESS IS NOW
Whether or not one likes it, professional tennis is here to stay (It's Time lo Open Up Tennis, SI, March 18). Whether or not this is good for tennis as a whole is yet to be proved. If the professionals are intelligent enough to put back into the game as much, or maybe a little more, than they take out of it, there is no reason why the standard of amateur tennis cannot improve far beyond where it is today. The end result could only be a growth of the game as a whole, both as a spectator sport, professional and amateur, and, most important of all, as a participant sport which could be carried on by our young people throughout their lives. . . .
Tennis today has a great opportunity. More and more of our educators, fully realizing the value of organized sports programs, are becoming increasingly aware of the value of sports such as tennis, golf, swimming and others which can be enjoyed by all long after they have left school or university. . . . With top amateur tennis presently limited to a short stretch along the eastern seaboard and an equally limited area on the western coast, with rare exceptions, the touring professionals have a unique opportunity to spread the gospel of tennis in areas where it would otherwise be absolutely impossible to display it. The interest is present throughout the country. No other proof of this is required than to look at the list of sponsors of matches on the present professional tour, such widely scattered cities as Houston, Louisville, Boise and many others. . . .
Only through an enlightened attitude on the part of the professionals and a more open-minded approach by those governing the amateur game can this be brought about. . . . All those interested in the continuing progress of the game of tennis can only hope that these discussions can come about at the earliest possible time. The possibility of real progress was never more present than right now.
F. R. SCHROEDER JR.
•Ted Schroeder, one of the alltime great competitors for the Davis Cup (he won seven matches, lost three), was the country's top-ranked player in '42 and won the Wimbledon Singles championship in '49. He never turned pro.—ED.
OPEN TENNIS: OUT IN THE ARENA
A cheer for Helen Wills Roark! Tennis has been in a Sargasso Sea of conservatism long enough, and the playing of an open tournament would put tennis on a footing with the other spectator sports.
Tennis has been stigmatized as a "sissy" game played by dandies tricked out in white flannels and blazers, but even Sunday hackers know that a top player requires as much strength, speed, courage, stamina and intelligence as any halfback or ice-hockey goalie.
In Australia, where the Davis Cup is likely to remain for a long time, tennis is a big spectator sport. And the fans at Kooyong Stadium are as vociferous and rabid as any bleacherite at Ebbets Field. In this country if anyone shows his enthusiasm with more than polite handclapping he is severely stared at by the club members in their boxes.
Tennis is an exciting test of skill and strength—more so than some of the recent television fights I have seen—so let's have some open tournaments and get tennis out of the polite drawing-room atmosphere and into the arena where it belongs.