I was pleased with John Underwood's portrayal of Gary Player (Gary and His Beloved Country, May 23). I have the greatest admiration for this fine athlete as a golfer and a family man. However, I feel that Player has misrepresented the South African attitude concerning apartheid and subjugation of the blacks. His examples are very limited (the caddie who "adores" him and the happy blacks who visited him at his barbecue) and hardly justify a situation where a white minority of 19.3% completely controls the political and economic structure of the country. That the South African blacks are incapable of self-government is a highly debatable proposition, for various political organizations of the blacks do exist despite strong government disapproval.
MARK L. SMITH
Gary Player's outspoken support of apartheid—which stands branded before the world as enforced dehumanization of South Africa's black people—probably takes nothing from his ability as a golfer. But how can any person believing in fair play justify such an evil?
RICHARD ARRINGTON JR.
John Underwood's excellent article is well-written and perspicacious, traits so rarely found in most of today's leading periodicals. Player's example, both as a golfer and a man who, like many of us and many of his countrymen, just wants everyone to like him, should have been expounded long ago. His gift of his Open purse to the furtherance of junior golf in America went almost unnoticed here but was acknowledged in South Africa as typical of the generosity and thoughtfulness of one of that country's leading ambassadors. As for Player's personal credo, few if any writers today would have dared to be so objective in reporting it. And yet greatness, both athletic and otherwise, is due in large part to individual honesty as well as to long hours of hard work. As Underwood's article points out, Gary Player is the kind of man who should serve as an inspiration; he is much more than a good golfer.
Guaranteed big-game shooting in the "wilds" of Texas? Duncan Barnes's article (Deep in the Heart of Darkest Texas, May 23) serves as a sad commentary on the extremes to which certain alleged "sportsmen" will go in order to collect an "exotic" trophy. It is beyond me how a man can put the label of "trophy" on an animal that he shot from a television-equipped blind, while the animal was feeding from a motor-driven feed trough in a tightly fenced-in pasture.
June 5, 1966
Admittedly, to go into India after black buck antelope or into North Africa after aoudad ram is an expensive, time-consuming and physically demanding proposition. But it has always been my impression that it is because these beautiful animals are so difficult to obtain in their natural habitat that they are called exotic and have been widely sought by hunters the world over. To take one of these animals on its own terms would seem to be a truly satisfying accomplishment. But I should think that the man who bags his exotics in the way suggested by the Texas ranchers would be just as happy if he could buy his trophy at the neighborhood department store.
JOHN R. JOLLY JR.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Evidently, this country has no shortage of ghouls who arc anxious to set their gunsights on domestically raised animals and are willing to pay to do it. So, along with a mouflon sheep or a buffalo for the wealthy, why not include a steer for the less affluent ghouls?
It is pretty much the same "sport," only a different trophy and, after all, a steer is a large animal. The country could then enjoy a lower cost of beef.
CHARLES A. GARRIS JR.
Little Neck, N.Y.
Jack Olsen's excellent series on Cassius Clay regrettably has come to an end. However, I would like to comment on the insert, "How Boxing Experts Rank Clay" (May 9), that accompanied the final installment. When Nat Loubet says Clay "would have stood a good chance of beating Gene Tunney," a truly great fighter of a bygone day, he does not know what he is talking about. Clay's ability as a great puncher is not yet established. Tunney, who was atrociously underrated by some of the newsmen of his time (mostly because of his own attitude toward the press), was a deadly hitter with both hands. The men he did not actually knock out were never the same after only 10 rounds with him. He also had tremendous strength and was almost impossible to hurt.
Jimmy Jacobs has a fine fight-film library, but I wonder how much jumpy old movies can actually tell him about the real Tunney, Dempsey and Jack Johnson. Some of these old films serve only to caricature the actual fights. Johnson looks awkward in them. Tunney, at times, looks like a jumping jack. Clay is a great fighter, and he might become one of the three or four best of all time. But he must be allowed to mature.
St. John, N.B.
Judging by your article on the USC-UCLA track meet (If at First You Don't Succeed, May 16), the Bruins have decided that Los Angeles is now their town. We at USC admit that they won a few streets during this school year, but that is all. USC can still boast of its NCAA swimming champions (UCLA was an also-ran), a gymnastics victory over UCLA, two tennis victories over the defending champions from West-wood, a trouncing of UCLA's golf team (after we suffered a slight slip to them earlier in the year) and No. 1 ranking in the nation in baseball.
As for a Bruin decade, remember that USC has just set a world record in the two-mile relay, boasts two of the best freshman track and field men in the nation (Paul Wilson and Lennox Miller) and will have almost an entire returning squad next year.
It may just take the Bruins another 33 tries to gain a part of our city.
AS YOU LIKE IT
Permit me a protest concerning current goings-on in Pittsburgh. The Oakland area of Pittsburgh now contains what I consider to be America's most impressive cultural complex. Contiguous to one another are the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Tech, the Mellon Institute, the Carnegie Library, Syria Mosque (home of the Pittsburgh Symphony), the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, a wide variety of medical facilities—and Forbes Field, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The proximity of the ball park to the rest of this complex symbolizes, to my mind, the integration of baseball into the intellectual life—something the educated American should cherish. Alas, Pittsburgh now proposes to raze Forbes Field and house the Pirates in a new ball park in the Lower Allegheny area, a place doubtless beloved by its residents but, unfortunately, of negligible intellectual pretensions. Further, Forbes Field is to be replaced by a law school—a suspect appendage of the academic community, at best. If this mad course is followed—as now seems inevitable—there is a possibility that the statue of Honus Wagner will also be relocated. My purpose in writing is to make a public plea that the statue be allowed to remain, so that future scholars may continue to pass William Shakespeare, Johann Sebastian Bach and Honus Wagner all within a 90-second walk.
GEORGE W. HILTON
SWEET AND SLOW
Concerning Gordon R. Ludwig's suggestion of a 45-second rule to curb "dilly-dalliers" on the golf course (19TH HOLE, May 9), I would like to point out, first of all, that Jack Nicklaus and the other "slow" pros are playing for a few more "marbles" than the local $5 Nassau on Saturday morning. While it may be true that some amateurs attempt to imitate the pros without improving their own games, other golfers may actually enjoy a five-hour stroll around the course. What is more important, in the extra time they may learn something which will save them a few strokes. And shooting par, or close thereto, is what the game is all about.
As far as the actual length of a round of golf goes, I think it is important that the individual golfer play at the speed most comfortable for him. Otherwise, instead of counting strokes, perhaps we should count the minutes of the round, with the shortest time winning.
Lastly, a 45-second rule—or any other time limit—would mean that the PGA would have to employ a timekeeper for each player. Then there would have to be a judge for each foursome and, probably, several computers stationed at each hole. Let's allow Nicklaus and the rest to show us the type of championship golf they are capable of playing by letting them play at their own speed.
East Lansing, Mich.
ANDROS A LA MODE
I read with interest your extensive article on Andros Island (Journey to Chickcharney Country, May 9). However, John Underwood portrayed the island only as a game and fishing haven, emphasizing its very primitive areas without any mention of its hotels and other living accommodations for those people who enjoy these outdoor sports. For example, your readers might not realize that within just a few miles of the area you describe there is a very posh yachting, fishing and resort complex known as the Lighthouse Club.
It is my belief that such resorts add as much to the attraction of Andros Island as do its natural attributes.
A. C. COWAN