For three decades now one of the standard phenomena of the American sports scene has been the winter golf tour, that exhausting and yet inspiriting trek which annually begins in Los Angeles early in January and proceeds via a weekly four-day tournament across the southwest and the Gulf states to the Atlantic Coast and its spectacular climax, the Masters tournament in Augusta in early April—this year, April 3 to 6. It is a world of its own, the road to Augusta, and to capture its singular flavor SPORTS ILLUSTRATED sent Artist Tony Ravielli out to the tour earlier this winter to record its manners and mores. On these and the following two pages, Ravielli's revealing sketchbook of life on the tour is presented—the familiar faces, the typical sights and sounds, the characteristic vignettes that are repeated daily and with only mild variation as the caravan of some 250 players makes its cross-country journey: L.A., Pebble Beach, Tijuana, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Tucson, SanAntonio, Houston, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Pensacola, St. Petersburg, Wilmington and Augusta. Beginning on page 68 another view of the tour is presented by Herbert Warren Wind, or rather by "Harry Sprague," a young driving-range pro writing home to his backer about his first winter following the sun, the dust, the strain.
Frank Stranahan and Frank Jr., 3, get together on the practice tee: "I haven't seen him for three weeks and now he's lost his groove completely.'
Another father and son combo: Dick Mayer, the Open champion, checks the swing of Ricky, 5, a frequent and resolute visitor to the practice tee.
Before every round the pros tune up methodically on the practice range; many return to practice and experiment daily even after a good round.
Doug Ford (right, foreground) checks his card while J. C. Goosie (left, rear) studies the board to see if he has "made the cut" for final two rounds.
Out on the course, Shirley Littler, Gene's wife, follows him on a tense final round. Wives generally get over-golfed early, assemble at clubhouse.
The putting green is the touring pro's village green—the place where he can find a little conversation and humor with his friends at almost any hour.
Harvey Raynor (left), PGA tournament supervisor, talks things over with two members of dawn patrol, Billy Booe (center) and Bob Goalby.
For 30 years and more a fixture of the tournament scene, Duke Hancock, the famous professional caddie, is now retired but still follows tour.
At Thunderbird clubhouse, that stalwart of the entertainment world and pro-amateur events, Bing Crosby, reviews day's play with partner Burke
Fred Hawkins and wife Valerie go through that recurrent chore of the nomadic life: unpacking the rear seat and the trunk of an overstuffed car.
You can never tell from his demeanor whether affable Mike Souchak has just come in from burning up the course or just weathered a bad round.
Down the fairway, enveloped in concentration, walks Ed Furgol, the old campaigner who has stayed on the tour despite an injured right arm.
If there is anyone who epitomizes the tour, it is Jimmy Demaret, as young today as in 1901 when he first made the circuit with Bret Harte.
Focus of a typical autograph session is Dow Finsterwald, the young man from Ohio, who finished in the money in 72 consecutive tournaments.
At top, a.m.: Don Cherry listens to Tommy Bolt. At bottom, p.m.: Bolt listens to Cherry, who heads floor show at plush Phoenix nightclub.
...and after a 76