ACTION IN HOGAN'S ALLEY
The U.S. Open golf tournament (page 12) once was called Ben Hogan's personal affair because he won it four times and came within a few soft putts of winning half a dozen more. But Hogan was absent last week at Congressional, where Ken Venturi almost matched Ben's Open record for 72 holes. Where was Hogan?
He was playing golf at home in Fort Worth, at plush Shady Oaks Country Club, in a tournament held, coincidentally, at the same time as the Open. The Open had almost all the great names of golf, but the Shady Oaks Invitational, or the "Ben Hogan Closed," had Hogan and a surprisingly impressive field of its own. There were L. B. Worthington, president of U.S. Steel, General Thomas Power, commander of the Strategic Air Command, J. K. Jamieson, president of Humble Oil & Refining Co., Howard Hawks, film director, Darrell Royal, football Coach of the Year from the University of Texas, and quite a lot more. There were 64 guests in all, paired with 64 members for 36 holes of play. They did not just play golf. They were given a dozen Hogan balls and a Hogan Sure Out wedge and a basket of fruit and a bronze ball marker and access to three bars and buffets on the course and parties, parties, parties.
Winners were General Keith Compton, a 4-handicapper who is to become Inspector General of the Air Force, and member Don McLeland, a door manufacturer with a 10 handicap. They were 11 under.
Ben Hogan? Ben and partner finished in a tie for 21st.
Some time ago Joe O'Farrell, executive vice-president of Florida's Ocala Stud, the nation's leading commercial breeder over two of the last four years, read that Napoleon's body had been exhumed for tests of his hair to determine what was in his body at the time of his death. Since then O'Farrell has invested some $40,000 in testing horses' hair and blood. If the tests show an incorrect ratio of calcium and phosphorus, feed is changed accordingly.
"Eighty-five percent of a horse's bone structure is calcium and phosphorus," O'Farrell explains, "and bone structure is all-important to a horse."
Results have been excellent. Twenty-seven Ocala Stud 2-year-olds were sold across the Hialeah auction block in 1962, the final crop of pretest foals. Of these, seven suffered broken bones during the year. Of 48 sold at Hialeah in the first two years of the hair-and-blood test program only one horse has fractured a bone so far.
One of the problems that will confront athletes preparing for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City is the effect of high altitude (7,800 feet) on their performances. This month some effort to analyze the problem is being made in Leadville, Colo., a little mining town which, apart from being the home of the unsinkable Molly Brown, has the distinction of being—at 10,190 feet—the highest incorporated city in North America. For three weeks prior to a June 27 dual meet between Leadville and Lexington (Ky.) high school track teams, athletes from both squads have been undergoing endurance and stamina tests calculated to determine a) how the Leadville boys' hearts and lungs utilize oxygen, and b) if the Lexington boys utilize it differently, whether their ability will change over the acclimatization period in Leadville and, if so, how and how much.
The Leadville experiment is the second half of one started in April, when the Leadville team journeyed to Lexington for a dual meet and was defeated handily. (Actually, say the researchers, the Leadville team is not in the same league with the Lexington boys.) But the meet turned up one unexpected bit of information that has the researchers excited. Although he lost his event, one Leadville trackman broke the "world record" for efficiency in utilizing oxygen, a record set by Don Lash, marathon runner, when he was tested some years ago by the Harvard University fatigue laboratory.
What can simple, unscientific coaches learn from all the experimentation? The Lexington meet suggests that physical capacity of the most critical sort—oxygen utilization—may in fact be less critical than other factors that, put together, make up what is called ability.
THE FACELESS MEN
In the new, briefer and less informative box scores adopted last week by Associated Press and United Press International, the deeds of certain players (pinch hitters, pinch runners) not charged with a time at bat go unmentioned. That does not bother us too much, but two other omissions do. Had this box score been in use in the old days, one never would have heard of Tinker or Evers or Chance, nor would Franklin P. Adams have written Baseball's Sad Lexicon, in which they were immortalized. The new box score simply lists double plays by the number made and ignores who made them. Thus, when T., E. and C. had one of their great days it would have been noted thus: Chicago 3.
Even worse, perhaps, is that umpires' names also go unmentioned. They are now unidentified, unsung and unloved. Well, they have never been sung or loved, one supposes, but they were certainly identified, and rightly. This is a cry for the return of the names of the umps. Let the bums stand up and be counted.
THE TRIUMPH OF WRETCHED MESS
A periodical largely devoted to fishing in Montana, The Wretched Mess News, is published in West Yellowstone, Mont., a town of 300 residents in winter, 8,000 in summer. Its editor is Dave Bascom, who signs his business letters (typed on filling-station washroom towels) with the name of Milford Poltroon. Aside from fishing news, the publication carries frantic advertisements: "Greedy, money-hungry boy wanted to sell Wretched Mess News...." A subscription will set you back $1.50, not too high a price for a paper whose slogan boasts that it is "America's last stronghold of fearless yellow journalism."
One thing The Wretched Mess News can get serious about is conservation. Last January it gave much of its space to an open letter to Montana's Governor Tim Babcock. "The prime example of Montana Fish & Game knotheadedness," it thundered, "is the opening of the famous Madison River to year-round fishing." The Mess took the stand that out-of-state fishermen (about 45,000 a year) came to Montana not just to catch fish, but in hope of catching a big fish. Unless the river was closed in low water and during rainbow and brown spawning season, the only fish in the Madison, it argued, would be like those in streams near New York and San Francisco—"little, naive, innocent plant trout, fresh from the fishcradle."
"Your Fish & Game Commission reasons that if a stream is stocked frequently and heavily, fishing pressures don't matter," the Mess went on. "Of course they're right. A cubic foot of water can support only so much fish—let's say one 5 lb. trout or five 1 lb. trout. Your Fish & Gamebrains feel it makes no difference."
Since then the Fish & Game Commission, bowing to the power of the press, has ordered the Madison closed for 2½ months, overruling department biologists who recommended that it remain open all year. "The Wretched Mess News applauds the wisdom & courage of Montana Fish & Game," the Mess cooed. "Subscriptions still wretchedly cheap...."
NEW SPORT IN NIPPON
It is not so very long since the fastest way to get around Japan was by jinrikisha. Now the Japanese are building a 2½-mile superspeedway for stock-car racing at the base of Mount Fuji, which should give it the loveliest setting of any sports arena in the world. The 980-acre grounds were acquired by Nippon NASCAR, Japan's counterpart of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing in the U.S. Bill France, U.S. NASCAR president, is serving as top technical assistant to the Japanese organization. Completion is scheduled for March, and racing will start in April or May with such speed jockeys as Fred Lorenzen, Ned Jarrett, Dave Pearson and Tiny Lund showing the jinrikisha boys how to really make a vehicle move.
IS THREE A CROWD?
There are some who would argue that basketball is overofficiated, but this view does not prevail in the Southern Conference. When the basketball season begins in December, each conference member will use three officials in one of its home games. The experiment will be watched over by Bunn Hackney, supervisor of officials for the conference.
Very well. Stand by for jokes about three blind mice.
YACHTSMAN BON VIVANT
On his 27-day singlehanded crossing of the Atlantic in a 45-foot ketch, Lieut. Eric Tabarly of the French navy beat 14 competitors, chiefly British, and undoubtedly lived better than most. For sustenance (Tabarly can hoist a genoa without using the winch and surely needs sustenance), he carried 40 liters of red wine, 10 kilos of chocolate, anchovy paste and milk in tubes, jam, rice, spaghetti, fresh eggs, potatoes and fruit.
On such voyages water is always a nuisance. It creates a ballast problem as tanks are emptied. To save water Tabarly gave up shaving and washed his dishes in rum. The dishwater was then translated into his favorite dessert, cr√™pes flambées, which he concocted while lashed onto a motorcycle seat in the galley. Tabarly's fiercest competitor, 63-year-old Francis Chichester, prefers a vegetarian diet of whisky, gin and ale, garnished with fried potatoes, onions and garlic. Furthermore, Chichester always shaves, and in water at that. He does, however, rinse his dishes in whisky.
The rum diet apparently is best. Tabarly broke Chichester's record by six days, 13 hours, 11 minutes. He sailed alone into Newport Harbor last week to receive Charles de Gaulle's bestowal of the Legion of Honor, stepped ashore, shaved with water this time and went off to a clambake.
From his undergraduate days at Texas A&M through World Wars I and II and until his retirement from the Army in 1947, Colonel Manley B. Gibson was ever increasingly convinced that worldwide adoption of the metric system in weights and measures would sweeten international concord. After retirement he dedicated his time and what fortune he had to the idea. On a recent day, at the age of 68, Colonel Gibson hanged himself in the basement of his San Francisco home. He was broke. "I have spent all my money and insurance loans to establish the metric system in the United States," he said in a note to the Internal Revenue Service. "My death should be in full payment."
The problem Colonel Gibson sought to solve is of vastly more importance than some of us realize. During World War II, when the U.S. undertook to build the Rolls-Royce Merlin airplane engine, it turned out that tons of British specifications had to be converted from metric to inch-and-pound designations and, of course, there were no perfect conversion tables. It required absurdly needless manpower and time to get the job done.
It is, of course, much less serious that the world of sport must endure confusion because of this deficiency in mathematical understanding. But it will be something of an annoyance when the Olympic Games are televised this fall and we are informed on the screen that Valeri Brumel has high-jumped 2.29, if that is what he does, and an announcer must translate this into 7 feet 6 inches.
Colonel Gibson, no track and field man but a polo player, understood this. He talked constantly to AAU officials as well as to college and high school track coaches. They listened, but that is as far as he got. He left a room filled with papers, slide rules, mathematical formulae. His son-in-law, Major Clifford Houchin, hopes eventually to sort out the material and, if possible, carry on.
THEY SAID IT
•Bob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks' all-pro forward, after a successful U.S. basketball tour of Europe: "Those people thought there was no difference between amateurs and professionals. Now they know."
•A. J. Foyt, Indianapolis 500 winner, on the hazards of auto racing: "I know I feel safer on a racetrack with the traffic going in the same direction and good drivers behind the wheels than I do on Houston expressways."