MONEY FOR STARS
In 1972 the Houston Open was skipped by 16 of the 25 leading money-winners. So this year the tournament sponsors boosted the purse from $125,000 to $205,000—the fifth-largest prize on the PGA tour—in the hope of drawing the game's big names. And again they stayed away. This thorny problem of nonappearance has existed for tournament sponsors since the tour began to boom 15 years ago, and now the people at Houston think they may have come up with the solution: in 1974 they would like to base their purse on a sliding scale.
The minimum prize money would be $150,000, but for every one of what Houston regards as golf's big four—Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player—who appears, the prize money would increase $10,000. The sum would jump another $10,000 if the current top money-winner should enter and an additional $10,000—to a maximum of $210,000—if the event receives a national television contract.
"We didn't take a bath this year, but almost," says William Chapline, Houston Golf Association president. "We're afraid that if we go out and sponsor another $205,000 purse we could lose $50,000 or $60,000. This way, top money will be paid only if the top players participate."
The idea is a worthwhile one, but it is most unlikely that it will be put into effect. "We are still negotiating with Houston," says Joe Dey, the pro tour's commissioner, "but I doubt if our players' tournament committee will accept the Houston proposition. It would mean rewriting our tournament regulations. I can see the sponsors' point of view, but our players are free and independent. They can't be ordered around like members of a football team. The Houston plan seems to put unreasonable pressure on the big names to appear. We have 47 major events on our schedule. If the Houston plan became general, would the best players not be under pressure to appear every single week? I may be wrong, but I doubt if the players will go along with this. The best way to draw a top field is still to put on a top tournament."
Which means the problem still has thorns—and sponsors are getting stickier about it.
THE UNEMPLOYED WRESTLER
Until he decided to appeal a decision that denied him state unemployment compensation, Peter J. Lutz, 26, was just another college athlete hidden somewhere in the great American average. He made the UCLA wrestling team in 1970 on a full athletic scholarship, went through five matches, then was sidelined with knee injuries. Not exactly the sort of career that would stir the campus. But now the Lutz case has launched the school into a full investigation of his allegations that athletes are guaranteed grades under preferential treatment.
At the root of the matter is Lutz' full-time job as a laborer from May 11 to Oct. 5, 1972. In applying for unemployment insurance after leaving the job, it was noted that Lutz also claimed to be a full-time student. And since an unemployed claimant presumably would have to be available for work, how could he do both? Lutz told the examiners, under oath, that although he did not attend classes, because he was an athlete he was routinely given credit for doing so, that he was guaranteed a C or better grade and, in at least one case, he could arrange for someone to take an exam for him.
UCLA was shocked. "He hasn't competed or worked out with the team for two years," said Wrestling Coach Dave Hollinger. It was pointed out that it is school policy to continue to carry injured athletes on scholarship until their class graduates. Athletic Director J.D. Morgan noted, "We cannot guarantee anything in the academic process. We have lost athletes on grades just the same as the university loses other students."
Understandably, a full investigation is under way. Cases of this sort pop up now and then in all conferences and, particularly if the school is an athletic powerhouse like UCLA, critics seem all too ready to believe the worst. As for Lutz, he is quoted by the Associated Press as saying, "It was my understanding that the hearing was confidential. This makes me sick. UCLA has been very good to me." Which it has, if only by keeping him on scholarship.
Since Lutz' statements were made under oath, the probe should determine if UCLA was even better than good.
SEND IN TODAY!
Any grown-up reader of this magazine who is a survivor of Little Orphan Annie's Ovaltine promotions or a retired Tom Mix Ralston Purina Straight Shooter will be cheered to know that the ultimate box-top, send-in-your-money offer is coming up this fall. Only serious adults need apply.
The Viceroy people, who make the cigarettes and sponsor the Parnelli Jones Viceroy Special race cars, will make a national coupon offer in September: send in the end panel from a carton of Viceroy cigarettes and $75,000 and receive one used Indianapolis race car.
Understand now, the offer is perfectly serious. The cars are available and will be shipped upon receipt of the box top and check. They are last year's models, campaigned at the 1972 Indy 500 and on the USAC Championship Trail by Al Unser and Mario Andretti. Al's car finished second at Indy and fourth in standings for the season; Mario ended up 11th overall, although he led six of the last seven races before dropping out for one reason or another. The machines were designed by British notable Maurice Phillippe and each represents a $100,000 investment by Parnelli Jones Enterprises.
Used-car buffs should note that each racer (four are available, counting backup cars) is a clean, low-mileage cream puff—950 hp and only driven a little bit on Sundays. They also meet new federal emission standards since they don't burn fossil fuels. In fact, there are but two minor drawbacks. About 1.5 miles to the gallon is all you can hope for, and the warranties have run out.
OUT OF THE POOL FOR SHANE
It may well be that international swimming has seen the last of Shane Gould, the girl from Sydney who won three gold medals at Munich and is holder of three world freestyle records ranging from the 200 meters to the 1,500. At a family dinner table meeting the other night she decided that she would not swim at the Belgrade world championships later this year or at next January's Commonwealth Games in Christchurch.
Shane did say that she would come out of retirement to prepare for the Montreal Olympics, but few believe that her chances of recapturing the necessary dedication and determination are good. After two years of studying and pursuing "other interests in life," she can anticipate difficulty in returning to the Spartan existence of a swimmer in training.
"I have lost a lot of interest in swimming," she said. "I have found other interests in life and my increase in weight [from 133 to 154] has not helped." Her decision has left her coach, Forbes Carlile, gasping. Seeing her on her recent return from America, he said: "It's terrible. I'm shocked."
WHO'S IN FIRST?
It's easy enough to pick up the Miami Herald or San Francisco Chronicle and find out if the Yankees are ahead of the Red Sox. But if you follow Florida State League baseball it's not easy to find the standings at all. It is, in fact, impossible.
With just over half of the league's schedule completed, a dogfight is going on for the Northern Division pennant. Four of the five teams—St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Daytona Beach and Tampa—are battling for first place. But nobody knows who is actually in first place.
"I was asked by our manager where we were in the standings last week," says Willie Sanchez, Daytona Beach general manager. "Now that's a reasonable question. Our paper [the Daytona Beach News Journal] refuses to carry the standings because the standings are so wrong all the time."
Of nine general managers polled at a recent Tampa meeting only three knew where their teams stood.
The Orlando Sentinel Star, in a survey of newspapers in the league area, found that all but one believed St. Petersburg was in first place. One felt that Lakeland was leading. Tampa was either in second or third position, depending on which paper you read. Winter Haven, with either a 33-62, 35-61, 35-60 or 34-63 record, was definitely in last place.
If you really care you could call the league office in Lakeland? Nope. It doesn't know either. Game results are sent in by mail, and....
TIGHT LINES IN THE MARITIMES
From J. Larry Hawkes of Portland, Maine, who caught his first salmon on the Tobique River at the age of eight and is still casting for them 70 years later, comes word that fishing in Canada's Maritimes is highly satisfactory this year.
Just back from the Gaspé coast in Quebec, Hawkes reported "most encouraging" conditions on Canadian salmon rivers. All rivers in the Gaspé area, including the famed Restigouche, are having heavy runs of fish, even better than those of 1972 when catches far exceeded those of several previous seasons. The improvement is attributed in great part to the ban on salmon netting at the mouths of rivers in the Maritime Provinces and Quebec.
MAYBE IT HITCHHIKED
It has been four years since conservation officials of Wyoming and Missouri set themselves to the task of solving the Mystery of the Wandering Elk. They have not yet succeeded. Nor are they likely to.
During the 1969 white-tailed deer season in Osage County, Mo. a hunter killed an elk bearing Wyoming ear tag EE6987. The hunter had mistaken it for a deer.
The elk was killed 750 miles from where it had been tagged in Yellowstone National Park and released near Lusk, Wyo. Conservation officials found it hard to believe that an elk, without some such assistance as riding in the back of a truck, could have crossed either Nebraska or part of Colorado, including a possible trip around metropolitan Denver, then Kansas and half of Missouri without being seen. But EE6987 did it.
THE WOOLLEYGATE AFFAIR
Not all the reverberations from the Kerry Jackson case have died down. Kerry is the Galveston high school football player who was declared ineligible for the 1972 season at Oklahoma because his transcript was altered to make him out a better student than he was. Joe Woolley, head football coach at Ball High School, admitted falsifying Jackson's class standing and was demoted to a job in the maintenance department.
But this past week the Galveston school board reinstated Woolley in his former job. Whereupon seven of the school's eight assistant football coaches resigned their athletic posts, as did George W. Hatch, the head basketball coach whose team is expected to be a contender for the state title next year.
One of the resigned coaches, Charles Alcala, accused the board of playing politics and ignoring the welfare of the children. Mrs. Ray Schaper, one of three trustees who disassociated themselves from the reinstatement of Woolley, said the board's action "compromised the integrity of this entire school district."
After learning that the transcripts of Jackson and Mike Phillips, another 1972 Ball High graduate, had been altered to allow their entry into the university on football scholarships, Oklahoma forfeited seven regular-season football victories and its Sugar Bowl win over Penn State.
THEY SAID IT
•Casey Stengel, on the old days of baseball: "When I played in Brooklyn, I could go to the ball park for a nickel carfare. But now I live in Pasadena and it costs me $15 or $16 to take a cab to Glendale. If I was a young man I'd study to become a cab driver." Not enough Casey? O.K. On designated hitters: "I had 42 of 'em."
•Whitey Herzog, manager of the last-place Texas Rangers, after accusing the Milwaukee Brewers of stealing his team's signs: "Can you imagine a team that has to cheat to beat us?"
•Frank Robinson of the California Angers: "My bat was so slow that one time a fly lit on it when I swung."
•Bill Veeck, asked the first thing he would do if named commissioner of baseball: "Resign."