MONEY TALKS TENNIS
This is an article from the Aug. 23, 1971 issue
The U.S. Open at Forest Hills scheduled for Sept. 1 is rapidly losing its chief attractions. Wimbledon champion Evonne Goolagong announced some time ago that she was tired and was going home to Australia for a rest. Among the top male stars who will not compete are Roy Emerson, Cliff Drysdale, Andres Gimeno and Fred Stolle. Now Ken Rosewall, the defending champion, has added himself to the defectors.
And Rod Laver may join them. Beaten at Toronto by Roger Taylor, Laver quit the doubles and went home to Corona del Mar, Calif. Depressed and confused by his slump, Laver said he felt "like a bull physically but drained mentally."
"I haven't made up my mind yet [about playing at Forest Hills]," he said, "but at this stage I'm doubtful."
What is happening to Forest Hills is what happened to the French championships in May. The quick buck is of more concern now than tradition.
The most a player can make at Forest Hills is $20,000, and to get that he must play for two weeks and in seven five-set matches. By contrast, Lamar Hunt's World Championship Tennis playoffs in November offer a $50,000 prize for winning only three matches spread out over a leisurely two weeks. All the men players who have quit so far are on the WCT team.
The tie game in any sport is a disappointment to fans of both sides except, of course, when an utter underdog manages to achieve a tie. Now Kansas is experimenting with a scheme to end all ties in high school football. The plan has a certain logic going for it and, conceivably, could spread to college and professional football. The National Alliance Football Rules Committee is permitting all Kansas high school football teams to try it out.
If a game is tied at the end of regulation play, there will be a coin toss. The winner will get the ball on the opponent's 10-yard line and have four plays in which to score by touchdown or field goal, and with the option of a one- or two-point conversion after a touchdown.
Then the ball goes to the other team for four plays. If one team scores in the series and the other does not, the team that scores wins. If neither scores or they both score the same number of points, they continue into second, third, fourth and subsequent overtimes until one team outscores the other from the 10, with each team having had an equal number of opportunities to score.
It's an experiment that just might provide a solution.
THE ALLEGHENY YO-YO
Western Pennsylvania fishermen and boatmen have been disturbed during recent seasons by the ups and downs of the Kinzua Dam near Warren. Last year the water level in the reservoir rose and fell as much as 52 feet. Below the dam the Allegheny River fluctuated up to eight feet. Result: poor fishing and uncertain boating.
Ordinary protests to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Pittsburgh have been unavailing. Now the sportsmen are using a more subtle technique. They are mailing Yo-Yos to the Corps.
EXPORTS, IMPORTS AND SPORTS
After accepting the idea of the American drugstore, the French have taken to pinball machines and, not to be outdone, the Americanized Japanese have made bowling an explosively expanding business.
The French refer to pinballing as "flipper" and practice the game on an estimated 150,000 machines from the C√¥te d'Azur to darkest Lille. There are 20 major distributors, most of them American. Naturally, the game has produced its own breed of Minnesota Fats, the flipper hustler who drinks all day on his touch and reflexes.
As for Japan, that country had only about 50 bowling lanes 10 years ago. At the end of last month there were 44,600 in some 1,800 bowling centers, all equipped with mechanical pinspotters and other paraphernalia supplied by American companies in joint ventures with Japanese firms.
Japan, long enthralled with baseball, more recently with horse racing, golf and skiing, has now become the second most devoted bowling nation in the world.
A rookie tight end of the Dallas Cowboys who never played football in college, John Nelson has become a kind of star in Cowboy practice sessions. He loosens up by jumping over automobiles, taking them at a single bound, just like Superman.
Nelson began by jumping over the hoods of small foreign cars. Then he graduated to the hoods of Lincoln Continentals. His finest achievement so far has been to clear the top, not just the hood, of a Chevrolet Malibu.
The secret of clearing automobiles, says Nelson, is "getting your feet high enough." The logic is inescapable.
Ever since World War II the Michigan-Michigan State football game has been a sellout, seen either by 101,001 at Michigan or 76,000 at Michigan State. This is State's year to play host, and all tickets are now long gone. But ticket holders may not know what the kickoff time will be until two days before the game.
It's all because ABC-TV cannot tell the teams right now what time to play this traditional game. It will start at either 11:50 a.m. or 1:50 p.m., depending on just how the Oakland Athletics are doing. The A's could either be representing the American League in the World Series or be out of action entirely. If the A's are in the Series, the football game would start at 11:50, before the Series game from the West Coast. Otherwise, it will be the later time.
And ABC, which does football, doesn't even do the baseball. NBC does. What is wagging what?
THEY DON'T EVEN YELL FORE
Water hazards are one thing, but what has been happening at the Fort Dupont golf course in Washington, D.C. is ridiculous. The course is about to be closed down because so many golfers are being held up and robbed. The 9th green is especially popular with the muggers, who got three Washington policemen there in 1969.
SIBLING RIVALRY AGAIN
It is the ambition of Billie Jean King to become the first woman athlete to earn $100,000 in purses in one year. Though she is now within $33,000 of the goal after taking $11,000 in the Virginia Slims International at Houston, she still is not sure she can make it. It would mean winning all the remaining domestic tournaments. She has won 10 of the 15 in which she has appeared this year.
In addition, however, there is the Pepsi Grand Prix, which awards points for each tournament finish and a $10,000 prize at season's end. And there are tournaments in England in November and New Zealand in December.
"I hope to hit $100,000 without going overseas," she says.
Although the Ladies Professional Golf Association has been in existence for 20 years, Carol Mann's $49,000 in 1969 topped all women's professional sports earnings for one year. Mrs. King has already surpassed that figure in 1971.
Aside from the money and the honor of the accomplishment, she has another motive. Brother Randy Moffitt pitches for the Phoenix Giants and was San Francisco's early draft choice in 1969 out of Long Beach State in baseball's free-agent draft.
"Dad never encouraged Randy to play tennis because there wasn't any money in it," Mrs. King explained happily. "But you know what? I'll bet I've made more money this year than Randy has, bonus included."
SOCCER MUST LIVE
Prices of burial plots in Nevsehir, Turkey have risen from $7 to $14. The mayor says the money will be used to raise the salaries of the town's soccer team.
THE DUKE MAKES A DEAL
It was almost certainly no coincidence that just a week after hiring Wayne Duke as Big Ten (Western Conference) commissioner, the conference announced that henceforth it would allow its football champions to make two or more consecutive appearances in the Rose Bowl.
Twenty-five years have passed since the Big Ten agreed to send a team to the Rose Bowl each year. But even then it agreed only to send a "representative" team. The Big Ten champion of a given season, if it happened to repeat, could not go to Pasadena the second year. The idea was to prevent one team or another from dominating the conference by attracting top-level high school athletes eager for a chance at several Rose Bowl games.
As a result, other colleges moved into Big Ten recruiting territory and told prospects something like: "Ohio State's going to the Rose Bowl in a year or two, and you'll just be sitting on the bench as a sophomore. But when you're playing first string, they won't be eligible because they can't go twice to the Bowl."
Competitive conferences thus were able to draw away more than a few prospects who might otherwise have gone to a Big Ten school. One of these was the Big Eight—under the leadership of Wayne Duke.
STOUT FELLOWS ALL
That bartender's companion, the Guinness Book of World Records, is about to undergo a certain reform in that after its next edition, already on the press, it will no longer publish records that might encourage people to injure themselves.
Ross McWhirter, one of the editors, explained that a likely ban would be put on such records as car cramming: when 103 persons got into a Volkswagen, for instance, one man on the bottom was somewhat crushed.
On the other hand, records by professionals, such as the circus girl who is shot the farthest from a cannon, may well be included.
"We might include the oyster-eating record," McWhirter said, "as oysters are too expensive for students."
Meanwhile, in Seattle, promoters of the city's summer celebration, Seafair, got together with David S. Hoy of Guinness and held a world records contest. At last look, new records had peaked at about 20. Among them:
Rocking chair—Miss Randy Dahl, 150 hours, 18 minutes (old record: 125 hours, 3 minutes).
Pies in the face—J. P. Patches and Gertrude, TV clowns, 111 pies (no previous record).
Singing the same song—The Wood-shedders sang Coney Island Babe 127 times (no previous record).
THE SAVAGE BREAST
Wildlife Views, a publication of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, vouches for it, so it must be true. European hunters are luring deer within shooting range by hiring violinists to play for them.
"In Sweden," says Wildlife Views, "one moose became so enraged with the music he heard that he charged into the blind and killed both hunter and musician."
There ought to be a law against such fiddle-faddle.
THEY SAID IT
•Bill Mazeroski, Pittsburgh Pirate second baseman, playing third base for the first time in his 16-year career: "It's like learning to write with your left hand."
•Peaches Bartkowicz, pro tennis player, asked how she likes the tie-breaker scoring system now in use: "I don't know; I never get that far."
•Joe O'Donnell, Buffalo Bill guard, chuckling over the new NFL policy of announcing over the public address system the name of the player on whom a penalty is assessed: "Since I've been in pro football, starting in 1964, I estimate I've been called for holding six or eight times. I could have been called 200 times."