Boy, that Jack Nicklaus is really great, isn't he! Yes siree! He beat Arnold Palmer in winning his first professional tournament and so now he has become a "superstar," a "wonder man of golf," and "one of the most extraordinarily gifted players of the post-Hogan generation," according to your sensational Alfred Wright (That Big Strong Dude, June 25).

Certainly it takes a fine golfer to beat Palmer, but let's not go overboard in our lavish praises. I mean Jack Nicklaus had a good weekend and all that, but are we going to put him in a class with Arnold Palmer already? Sheesh!!

Alfred Wright is obviously not to be taken seriously, but I'm still having my name changed.
Alexandria, Va.

I liked your well-illustrated story about the National Open victory of Jack Nicklaus—with one exception. It does not seem right that Jack should have been called "Dude."
Columbus, Ohio

As an American I have to wonder what reflection it will have on President Kennedy's physical fitness program when a rather plump fellow like Jack Nicklaus can most decidedly defeat a slim, trim athlete such as Arnie Palmer.
Scranton, Pa.

He ought to be called "Tierce" Nicklaus. (To save you looking it up, tierce is bakers' parlance for "tub of lard.") And you can have him. He addresses every shot as though it were taking a major effort of will to strike the ball, at long last. Though thoroughly sickened by sportswriters' hysterical adulation of Palmer, one can still find pleasure in watching Arnie play, even when he is "off."
Oakland, Calif.

I am personally fed up with golfers who claim that a leaf crashing heavily to the sand or an earthworm turning over in his hole ruined their concentration. A prime example took place in the National Open when a good golfer by the name of Palmer became involved in such alibi-making.

Can't you just imagine Stan Musial refusing to step into the batter's box in the ninth inning of a tied World Series game until the crowd was hushed, or Bob Pettit stubbornly waiting to shoot a free throw in the NBA championship game until the photographers had quit snapping pictures? These things are a part of life, and if the golfers find them so overwhelming perhaps they should consider a change in vocation. Or better yet, why don't they just stop making excuses and start being honest?

Baseball calls its mistakes errors, football calls them fumbles and tennis calls them faults. Why can't professional golfers be men and call a goof a goof?
Pana, Ill.

I'm getting sick and tired of having sailing instructors, landlocked mariners and now experienced yachtsmen promote the malicious myth that the boy scouts' square knot is a proper device for fastening two lines (ropes to you) together (Part IV, Better Boating, June 25). Its very name belies this. Lines are bent together, not knotted, hence any device designed to do the job is called a bend. To do it properly the bend must hold fast without binding, must never shake free and yet be easy to unfasten. Only the carrick bend (see above) fulfills all these conditions. The square knot, which is more properly called the reef knot, fulfills none of them. It is correctly used only to put in reefs or tie shoelaces. (That's right, the "bow" in your shoe is nothing but a double-slipped reef knot.)
New York City

"Six knots are all you need." I doubt that. I do not think anyone who is much around sailboats would be happy unless he could tie a few more than the six knots you give in your article.

There are at least seven more knots essential to "better boating":

Carrick bend, necessary in joining two heavy ropes.

Bowline on a bight, essential in lowering a man.

Timber and half hitch, essential in towing a spar.

Strangle knot, essential in putting a quick whipping on the end of a rope.

Sheepshank, very necessary in quickly and temporarily taking the strain off a weakened portion of a rope.

Running bowline, commonly used to snag things over the side.

Figure eight, important in keeping a rope from unraveling until a whipping can be put on. Never an overhand knot.
Orange, Calif.

I have long been waiting for an article describing the wonderful National League team we have here in Los Angeles, and William Leggett has done a magnificent job in creating one (L.A.'s Swift Set Sprints to the Top, June 25).
Glendale, Calif.

Every other issue of your magazine devotes page after page to praise of either the Giants, Dodgers or whoever wins five games in a row in the National League. After my Cleveland Indians swept a four-game series from the mighty Yanks and moved three games ahead in first place, only a few lines. Let's let the sports fan know about the surprise team of '62—the Cleveland Indians.
Lorain, Ohio

For a good sports magazine you sure have some dumb readers. William C. Lavery (19TH HOLE, April 23), probably figuring that 10 managers are 10 times better than one, said that he will bet a two-year subscription to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED that the Chicago Cubs will finish at least fourth. I'd sure like to take that bet, because right now the Chicago Cubs are fighting to stay out of the cellar.

Then Dick Erickson and Peter Applebom (19TH HOLE, June 18), both evidently hypnotized by San Francisco fever, state that San Francisco will not only take the pennant, but win the World Series, pointing out that the Dodgers lost two while San Francisco was winning three. Well, William Leggett hit the nail on the head, for it is the Dodgers who will win the pennant in the National League.
North Hollywood

I particularly enjoyed your article on the St. Johns River (Sassy Bass Among the Hyacinths, June 25). About 15 years ago a group of us in four inboard speedboats portaged from Cocoa to Lake Helen—and ran down the St. Johns to Jacksonville. It was a beautiful and interesting trip.

Incidentally, the lake's name may be "Helen" officially—but back then it was known as Hell V Blazes, and still is by Floridians.

Photographer Richard Meek did a magnificent job.
Medfield, Mass.

My father, Loyal F. Payne, an avid trackman who recently celebrated his 50th class reunion at Oklahoma State University, has made an interesting comparative chart of performances in his day and now. Although the world and U.S. records arc easily obtainable, the comparison of more average athletes is not so apparent. Dad has compared the 1912 class with the 1962 Big Eight conference meet and the Kansas Interscholastic meet and discovered that the high school youth of today outdid the college athlete of 50 years ago in every event except the 100-yard dash. In five events Class A (enrollment 150 to 474) high schools better Class AA (over 475 students).

The opinion of several qualified educators Dad consulted was that youth has progressed as much mentally as physically. They attributed the higher, wider and faster feats to better training and equipment, finer coaching, more adequate nutrition, keener competition, more competition and more interest. I would add to these the fact that my father and his brothers worked their way through college as did many of their contemporaries. This is certainly no longer necessary. Also the interest of the nonparticipant in almost all sports has increased tremendously.

Just imagine what the comparison of these records to those of 2012 A.D. will be! Every boy an astronaut.
Newark, Ohio