You may have verified or changed your opinion of the Snead-Rudolph golf match after viewing the recent rerun on NBC.
This match was played under strict USGA rules, and I resent your implication that it was shabbily done.
Both bags were checked for the correct number of clubs on the first tee. There was a delay in setting up the cameras, which could explain Snead's assertion that in the interim his caddie, a local boy from Bermuda not too familiar with USGA rules, returned to the golf shop and, seeing a club Sam had used for practice, replaced it in the Snead golf bag without informing Sam.
You say that Snead purposely dubbed shots to lose. You report that Sam was aware of his disqualification at the 11th hole but informed no one. Now follow the play. Snead played very well, but not as well as Rudolph, up to the 16th green. He four-putted a very treacherous green. Players have four-putted greens before and will again, to go 1 down. On 17 Snead recovered brilliantly and sank a good putt for a 3 and a win to square the match. He lost the match by three-putting the 18th from a spot on the green that required a miraculous approach putt to get the ball anywhere near the hole and down in regulation figures. After the clubs were returned to the golf shop more than 50 yards away Snead announced that he had too many clubs and had to lose. I believed Sam, but without any positive proof I could not, as a commentator, make Rudolph's victory a hollow one. The way the youngster went head and head with the veteran Snead and came on to win indicated to me that no matter how difficult it was for Sam to lose, it would have been a hell of a lot tougher for him to have won on this particular day. TV has helped golf. That's my intent.
New York City
•Whatever Mr. Crosby's intention may have been, the rerun of the controversial Snead-Rudolph match made no new friends for either golf or television. What was already a shabby show was made an even shabbier one because "the unctuous statements which accompanied the rebroadcast made it plain that the entrepreneurs of the show were wittingly capitalizing on their shabby notoriety" (EDITORIAL, SI, April 25). Jack Gould, the TV-radio critic of The New York Times, spoke for all friends of honest golf and honest television when he wrote: "It would have been far better for NBC to apprise viewers on April 3 of the information that it had received rather than permit the audience to think it was watching a bona fide contest."—ED.
We were very pleased with SPORTS II-LUSTRATED'S two-part condensation comprising about 40% of the whole of Robert Marshall's The Haunted Major, published by us in book form the other day. However, lest there be any confusion as a result of your introductory precede (SI, April 18), let it be repeated that in book form The Haunted Major runs 192 pages long and is not merely an element for anthologies.
President, Ives Washburn, Inc.
New York City
MORE POWER TO HER
Percy Cerutty, coach of Herb Elliott, doesn't like women athletes. Women, he implies, should just aim to look beautiful.
I'd like to answer Mr. Cerutty like this:
The striving for arete, the Greek concept for excellence, should not be confined to one sex. If a woman wants to add the 100-meter dash to her activities, more power to her.
Columnist Red Smith says that a nation that can produce Marilyn Monroe but fails in the Olympics need not feel disgraced. What would be wrong with a nation that could produce Marilyn Monroes putting the shot?
TURF: WINSOME WILLIE
After reading the article Everything Is For Keeps (SI, April 11), I decided it was time someone said something nice about William Hartack.
Every time I pick up a newspaper or magazine some writer is blasting him about his personality. They say he is not a gentleman like Eddie Arcaro or Willie Shoemaker. He is not a gentleman like Arcaro or Shoemaker because he is William Hartack and no one else. I may be wrong, but personality does not win a horse race. Skill, determination, strength and courage do. Mr. Hartack has all of these qualities.
Although I know people will strongly disagree with me, I say that Mr. Hartack is one of America's greatest jockeys.
THINKING MAN'S GAME
Your story on the Russian chess players warmed the cockles of a chessnut's heart.
We chess fans form a small and ragged army, not as rich and well-fed as the contract-bridge legions nor as loud and aggressive as the shock troops of bowling and Little League. But we would enjoy reading more than one chess story every three years.
Anyhow, when you did give us a little article, you did it right. The story was excellent. It was as good as your Olympic coverage, in quality if not quantity.
Grateful for these crumbs thrown to the thinking man's game.
San Bernardino, Calif.
GOLF: WHISTLE AS YOU WORK
The pictorial report on the Masters was most handsome, but I would like to see you campaign for a better pro-spectator relationship which could benefit the whole circuit.
Let the PGA use its monopolistic pressure to require the prominent display of spectator courtesy rules on programs and adjacent to scoreboards. In the DeSoto Open, according to some reporters, Jay Hebert had to call two strokes on himself when a spectator inadvertently moved his ball.
Let the PGA request the two big television programs—which create the large unsophisticated galleries—to slip a few wise words on spectator comportment into each telecast during the running comment on the match involved.
Finally, but certainly not least, let us have all the young men on the tour act as if they were playing a game they enjoy.
I suspect the prima-donna attitude is currently overworked. It is possible to compete in a tight sport for large money without acting and looking as if you hated and despised everybody within 500 yards.
JOHN D. McDONALD
•Aye, aye. But Hebert's penalty was imposed because a spectator kindly moved a stump in a water hazard—not the ball inadvertently (no penalty for that).—ED.
HOW TO PICK OLYMPIANS
I propose that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S capable writer, Jeremiah Tax, take the initiative to correct an inequitable situation which was only hinted at in the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED article (The First Olympians, April 11). The Olympic basketball selection committee is composed of eight NCAA representatives, eight from the AAU and four from the armed services. In a year in which the collegiate talent was overwhelmingly superior, the 12-man voting block of the AAU and the armed services placed five men on the 12-man squad. Many impartial observers felt 11 or even 12 players deserved to be picked from the college ranks this year.
A new system of selection is needed [perhaps through a committee] of NBA professional coaches, many of whom normally attend the tournament to search for talent. Only then will the most talented and deserving athletes be chosen to represent the U.S. in the Olympic Games.
The lads competing for an Olympic trip should be picked on talent, not politics.
•Reader Robertson is right in assuming that organizational politics influenced the Olympic Selection Committee's choices in Denver—choices in which SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Jerry Tax did not concur. It is doubtful that our amateur officials would ever allow professional coaches to participate in these choices. But one change in selection procedure is possible and would help: to give the Olympic coach a voice in picking his squad. At Denver, Pete Newell was not even allowed into the room where the Selection Committee met.—ED.
DISSENT IN ST. LOUIS
Regarding the transfer to St. Louis by the Chicago Cardinals (The Unhappiest Millionaire, SI, April 4), Mr. Wolfner is very happy, the local sponsor, Mr. Griesedieck, is getting the desired publicity, having already taken many bows, while the local fans are left unhappy at the way the transfer was stuffed down their throats without having had the opportunity to express their wishes on the move.
The local sponsor had announced that he was spending $40,000 on a committee of eight people to determine if the area wanted and would support pro football. What this committee did to determine that pro football was wanted is unknown. However, had the committee permitted the fans of this area to vote, had they printed the following ballot in the local newspapers, I am positive that the Cardinals would still be in Chicago:
1) I vote for the transfer.
2) I vote against the transfer, since I desire the television policy of the previous years to continue, namely, television of all Chicago Bear or Cardinal home games, plus all road and home games of the Cleveland Browns.
That's right. We will be giving up the Bears' and Browns' games for the privilege of paying $6 for a sideline seat, $5 for an end-zone seat to watch the Cardinals, with little or no television of road games. (It would mean $24 a game for my family, which is impossible for me.)
The point is, however, should a team be transferred into another area without first being assured that the fans want the transfer by popular vote?
East St. Louis, Ill.
•Let fan Lenoy remember that pro football is a private enterprise. He and other fans will have a chance to cast their ballots at the box office when the Cardinals line up in Busch Stadium.—ED.