A BOGEY FOR GOLF
The booming popularity of tournament golf can be laid to the magnetism of a very few players—Palmer, Nicklaus, Player, Snead. If a tournament has them it is a box-office smash, and if it doesn't it has no more appeal than an all-male dance troupe. Tournament sponsors have long wanted the Professional Golfers' Association to insure participation of its superstars in tournaments, but there has been no insurance. Instead, the PGA took a regrettable step backwards when it sanctioned a $75,000 exhibition called "World Series of Golf," September 8-9, making it impossible for Palmer, Nicklaus and Player—the "World Series" competitors—to compete in the Denver Open that week.
"Low blow!" cried Ray Korte Jr., president of the International Golf Sponsors Association, and rightfully. He recommended cancellation of all western tournaments, including the Denver Open. He said an action that could result in tournaments being dropped "must be frightening to the hundreds of players who travel the circuit for money." Indeed, the players were angry. Said Don January: "We don't have enough to say about something like this."
Jim Gaquin, tournament manager of the PGA, now frankly admits the handling of the World Series event was "a mistake." Potential sponsors are wising up to the fact that golf's stars are likely to skip certain tournaments, and a number of them have demanded the same, skip-proof dates. "It has put me in a position of making one sponsor deliriously happy and alienating the others," says Gaquin. More important now is that a faith has been shattered, and the game will suffer for it until the PGA learns that big tournaments need big names and a meaningless, gimmicky World Series must never conflict with established and meaningful events.
August 5, 1962
SONNY OF SUNNYVILLE
Except to his sparring partners (he knocks out one per session) Sonny Liston in camp is not the old sobersides he has been pictured. Patrons of the Pines, the Catskills resort where he is training to fight Floyd Patterson, have found Liston waggish and hammy, a 220-pound merry-andrew, whose great heap of a body astride a skinny English bicycle is a comic sight, flitting about the grounds in the manner of a performing bear. He waves to neighbors and passes time with admiring kids. His public workouts lure the guests from their pinochle, mahjongg and cha-cha lessons. He enters the tent that serves as his outdoor arena to shouts of "Hi, Sonny!" "What say, Champ!" "Look, dear, there's Sonny!" He does head stands on a table, bouncing and rolling precariously as if to begin a one-man avalanche. He bends the boards, skipping rope in perfect time to a rock record of Night Train. He poses willingly with the guests, gagging up the Polaroid shots by spreading his huge hands over a man's bald head so that it looks as if the man is wearing a hat of brown bananas.
The general manager of the Pines said at first he feared that in Liston he had bargained for trouble but since has found him to be "a great guy, friendly and obliging as you please." A little red-haired boy, one of Sonny's frequent companions, said he thought fighters were supposed to be real rough—but "not Sonny. He's nice. We talk a lot. No, never about boxing. Mostly just about things. You know. Like he was a friend of mine."
WHEY OF LIFE
Milk is food for babes, but for grown men wheaten bread.—Philo, 40 A.D. "You said it!" said Percy Cerutty, Australia's angry old man of athletic agonies. Lashing out at unsuspecting university students in Adelaide last week, the man who reared Miler Herb Elliott on raw rolled oats, raisins and nuts cried: "Milk has a psychologically terrible effect upon the male animal and should be banned early in life. Once he has the taste of milk he will never properly develop as an individual. It makes a boy"—hold on, now—"mother-drawn."
Later, still wound up, Coach Cerutty spelled out the lurking villainy inherent in milk drinkers. "The poorer types of athletes," he said darkly, "are mothers' boys never properly weaned. Their addiction keeps them on a sort of psychological umbilical cord."
Naturally, dairymen, health experts and football players unanimously countered "nonsense"—and the local milk board ran 12 columns of ads in the Melbourne Sun saying, "From the day you are born, as long as you live, you need milk." Cornered, Cerutty reluctantly recalled that Elliott used to slug down four glasses of milk daily while breaking four-minute miles, and admitted that he himself cuts his tea with milk. "I like the flavor," said Cerutty lamely.
GETTING A HEAD
It was a giant and a beauty, the 14-point elk bagged by John B. Irick north of Chama, N. Mex. in 1959. Irick, naturally, had it mounted and took it home. Predictably, Mrs. Irick said it should be donated to the New Mexico Fish and Game Department.
Traveling half in and half out of a borrowed jeep, the elk made it to Santa Fe, startling motorists en route but delighting the Fish and Game people, who put it in a warehouse. It was one fine specimen, they agreed, but after weeks in the field watching elk, the game wardens were in no mood to have an elk watching them. So last fall the gorgeous head was sent to the New Mexico State Fair.
Alas, all fairs must end. The elk, now lovingly called Cabeza de Vaca, after the New Mexico explorer who never quite knew where he was, wound up on the wall of the capitol custodian's office, where the receptionist objected to its staring at her. It simply had to go, said the regretful custodian, and palmed Cabeza off on the state records office, which has a high ceiling and a low seniority.
There Cabeza de Elk rests today, hanging in peace, and we like to think of him there in years to come, gazing majestically—if fixedly—over future generations of archivists. As for Mr. Irick, he has given up elk hunting.
THE INSIDE TRACK
•Southwest and Big Eight conferences will be the first to adopt a common letter of intent agreeing, in effect, to keep hands off each other's football signees. The Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences will follow suit.
•Irving Kahn (TelePrompTer Corporation) is back in the picture—and big—for the closed-circuit televising of the Liston-Patterson fight. Graff, Reiner and Smith, the firm that beat out Kahn in the bidding, ran into trouble and now Kahn is renting them equipment, arranging for use of the lines and taking over the community antenna set rights.
•Patty Berg, well set financially and, at 45, tiring of the travel grind, will quit the women's pro golf tour after this season.
NEW GIRLS IN TOWN
"The girls," they are called in Newport. They are Gretel, the Australian challenger for the America's Cup and her companion ship Vim, and last week they suffered the frequent fate of new girls in town—no one came out to play with them. Columbia disappeared to get her mast restepped. Easterner went into dry dock to have her bottom scrubbed. Nefertiti put on 1,000 pounds and Weatherly crept home to catch up on her beauty sleep.
Just as well, for with no one watching, Gretel broke her boom. Eyes politely averted, American yachtsmen overlooked the distress. But along with the boom, the ice was broken. Gretel was not perfect, she had at least one blemish—and wasn't she just another 12 meter after all? Seeming indifference became kindly interest. "She looks very fast," conceded Columbia's Charlie Morgan, who had really been peeking at the girls all along. Don McNamara, whose novitiate Nefertiti was now down to her sailing lines said, "She's a sweet hull and carries a fine set of sails." Indeed, Gretel is young and lovely, her crew treats her with fond respect and takes her out with quiet determination, knowing full well she is in unfamiliar waters. The crew is hungry. To the question: "Will you take the cup back to Australia?" Co-helmsman Jock Sturrock answers, "That's what we came here for."
PEACE AMONG MANAGERS
A certain unexplained serenity has settled over the managerial ranks of the major leagues. Here it is, almost two-thirds of the season gone and not a manager has been fired, not a manager has been given a "vote of confidence" (the prelude to being fired). This is the best record for managers since 1953, when only Rogers Hornsby of Cincinnati failed to finish the season—but lasted well into September. Yet lest they give cheer and think about buying houses, let them be further reminded that in 1953 Charlie Dressen of the Dodgers was replaced after he won the pennant.
JACK AND THE BRITISH
Jack Nicklaus returned from the recent British Open in surprisingly good humor for a man who had finished 34th and still had scratches on his back from hacking through the gorse bushes. He has since told of his misadventures at Old Troon, and it's a wonder he came back smiling.
There was, for example, the morning of Friday the 13th. Nicklaus was scheduled to tee off at 8:16, when U.S. Open champions usually are dreaming about their endorsements. Then his wife Barbara set the alarm an hour late. Nicklaus shaved frantically that morning and got to the pro shop at 7:45, giving him just enough time to hit a few practice shots.
"But the place was locked," Jack says, "and my clubs were inside. I'm pounding on the door when a man from the Royal and Ancient comes up and tells me the pro shop opens at 8. I tell him I've got to get my clubs. 'I'm very sorry, Mr. Nicklaus,' says the official, 'but the pro shop at Old Troon has never opened before 8.' And it didn't, either."
Nicklaus suspects he has much to learn about the British. He already has reserved a room in Manchester for 1963.
CREW IN A STEW
"There's no sign of panic now," said Joe Burk, the Pennsylvania crew coach, "but just wait until the '64 Olympics in Tokyo. When America takes a licking there you'll hear the hue and cry, all right." Burk's prophecy may be accurate, but his timing is off—with American crews bringing up the rear in Rome, Henley and Philadelphia, the hue and cry has already begun. Rowing officials, of course, pay it no mind.
Burk contends that we fail to lead with our best when we offer our champion college crew instead of combining our best individual oarsmen for international events. Jack Kelly Jr. of Philadelphia's Vesper Boat Club objects to the U.S. Olympic Rowing Committee's prohibiting a winner in one event from competing in another. Star Sculler Ted Nash would have us adopt Burk's plan and include a summer training camp for top crewmen.
But these are comparatively young men with young ideas. Traditionalists look askance at both and are weary of critics popping up only when national prestige is at stake. But tradition, to be valuable, must sustain life, not crush it. The young (and qualified) voices of Burk and Nash and Kelly should be heard.
Joe D. was there, and Pepper and Dizzy, Lefty, Gabby and Hank. The big crowd at Yankee Stadium for Oldtimers Day cheered them all, regardless of stripe, and it seemed like 1937 all over again with DiMaggio, gray and 48, legging out an inside-the-park home run, Dizzy Dean looming large on the mound ("Don't expect to sec a curve, I don't have one no more"), Pepper Martin stealing second. Later, they retold old lies and passed the liniment bottle and Joe D., winded from his run, smiled. "It's time," he said, "to retire again."
THEY SAID IT
•Dodger Sandy Koufax, after injury to his pitching hand benched him in the middle of his best season: "I feel like Job. I can't get mad at anybody except the Lord, and if I do that I'm afraid things will get worse."
•Bud Davis, new Colorado football coach, after several of his players were declared ineligible by the Big Eight: "I'm going to have a TV show this season but haven't chosen a name for it yet. Maybe I'll call it Whereas My Line?"
•Baltimore Colt Rookie Bob Hogue, a 295-pound tackle, on reporting to camp: "Whew! I never saw such huge men."
•Willie Pep, on how a boxer knows he is finished: "First your legs go. Then you lose your reflexes. Then you lose your friends."