I commend your restraint in not writing a story headlined THE JINX SINX now that the feared SI whammy, which is supposed to make an instant loser of any team you celebrate, can officially be laid to rest. As far as I can figure, you—and you alone—boldly predicted the national championship triumphs of both Notre Dame (football) and Kentucky (basketball) during the current school year. In fact, only one of the other major national prognosticators—UPI, which selected the Irish and split its basketball votes between North Carolina and Kentucky—was even close. SI tabbed the Tar Heels 10th, which is exactly where they ended up in the final UPI poll. Congratulations, and, jinx, R.I.P.
DOUGLAS J. MELLO
Fall River, Mass.
ANN & CO.
UCLA certainly would not have won the 1978 AIAW basketball championship without Ann Meyers (No. 1 for the Wizardess of Westwood, April 3). However, Bruce Newman's statement that she is "probably the best UCLA basketball player with a girl's name since Gail Goodrich" is questionable. Has he forgotten about Lynn Shackelford, the soft-shooting forward who started for the Bruins' NCAA championship teams from 1967 through 1969? Goodrich's last year was 1965.
Let's just agree that Meyers is the best female basketball player in the country and leave it at that.
Balboa Island, Calif.
You stated that the AIAW final between UCLA and Maryland in Pauley Pavilion was played before the "largest crowd ever to see a women's championship game." I assume you mean that the 9,351 fans present for that game set a record on the intercollegiate level. The 1978 Indiana High School Athletic Association girls' basketball championship game drew a crowd of 13,000, and about 12,000 were in attendance for the semifinals. The championship was won by Warsaw High over Jac-Cen-Del High of Osgood.
April 17, 1978
Your assertions regarding the $100,000 Buick-Goodwrench Open in SCORECARD (March 20) could not be further from the truth. First, the tournament will be held concurrently with the U.S. Open on June 15-18. Why? Because Jerry Rideout and the good people at Buick-Goodwrench have been longtime supporters of the PGA Tour. Since only about 80 regular PGA Tour members participate in the U.S. Open, we have an obligation to our 250 other members to provide a place for them to earn their living. By holding this event, the Buick people are putting themselves in a prime position should a regular PGA Tour date become available.
Second, your assertion that I am trying to undermine the "Big Four" (the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship) is not correct. It is true that I have asked the USGA to exempt from local qualifying the top 125 players on our money list and to fully exempt all current tournament winners and the 60 biggest money winners. I feel strongly that the performance of these individuals on the PGA Tour is a better indicator of their skill than a one-day, 36-hole shoot-out that is sandwiched between regular PGA Tour events—in which they are trying to make their living—and occasional one-and two-day visits at home with their families. I can assure you with absolute certainty that if our requests to place more tour players in these events are granted, the events will be enhanced, because they will have more competitive fields. I hope you will agree that the essence of a championship is closely tied to the quality of the competitors.
Holding a Designated Tournament following the British Open does nothing to undermine the Open; it only serves to bolster the heart of our summer schedule and preserve substantial prize money for our members. Our members have been willing to support this policy because it has been particularly helpful to one of our sponsors each year. Our own regulations specifically prevent the scheduling of a Designated Tournament before the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open or PGA Championship.
There exists a strong and traditional desire on our part to cooperate with everyone in this complex world of golf. Some of our requests and policies are directed at asking the people who control the traditional major tournaments to be part of the solution—not part of the problem.
DEANE R. BEMAN
TO CATCH A DEER
Being involved in both conservation and distance running, I was doubly moved by Michael Baughman's account of running down a deer (In Pursuit of an Ancient Pursuit, April 3). Of all sports pitting man against a wild creature, this has to rank among the purest. No electronic gear to seek out the biggest bass. No powerful scope and high-velocity rifle to reach out and kill an animal hundreds of yards away. And perhaps best of all, no grinning hunter standing proudly over his kill.
Baughman made the challenge on the animal's terms. He matched the deer's cunning with his own and equalized the deer's speed with his stamina. Baughman's words clearly show the beauty and emotion of the experience. Maybe others will be motivated to spare the lives of their defeated quarry.
JAMES HARVEY ROWLAND JR.
The beauty of your magazine lies in its endless investigations into the infinite facets of sport. Michael Baughman's article on his deer chase captures the essence of sport.
JOHN R. MUSGROVE
I nominate Michael Baughman for Sportsman of the Year and move that the nominations be closed. He didn't kill, maim or otherwise harm another creature, nor did he have any motive other than sport and the telling of a remarkable story.
MATTHEW E. JOHNSON
Creating terror in the mind of an animal just for fun is never justified. Michael Baughman's account of running a deer to exhaustion glossed over the fact that the deer, assuming it would be killed if caught, was consumed with fear. Such a chase may be a challenge but it seems to lack compassion.
DRIVERS AS ATHLETES
I feel compelled to respond to Dr. Glenn Dawson's comments that professional race car drivers are not athletes (SCORECARD, March 27). Dr. Dawson conducted tests on a random sampling of 10 NASCAR Grand National drivers and compared them to a cross section of the general public. We have conducted tests at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in conjunction with the United States Auto Club, on 67 drivers who attempted to qualify for last year's 500-mile race and uncovered the following data.
The average driver in the 500 has a reaction time approximately one-third quicker than that of the man on the street. He has a serum cholesterol level of 190, which is less than the national average. His average blood pressure is 100/60, also less than the national average. His resting pulse rate is 62 beats per minute, 18 beats lower than the average. And his depth perception is 105% of normal.
In lieu of other statistics, which I have available on request, I direct your attention to Tom Sneva's recent performance in ABC's Superstars contest. He made the finals as a wild card while competing against "athletes" from all categories of sport.
STEPHEN E. OLVEY, M.D.
United States Auto Club
In your April 3 SCORECARD item about Leon Spinks you referred to an AP photograph of Spinks handcuffed in a St. Louis police station. Spinks was arrested for driving without a license and driving the wrong way on a one-way street. You stated, "It is scandalous that police would handcuff someone arrested for a driving violation."
According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports for the years 1972-1976, 74 police officers were killed during traffic pursuits and stops, and another 25 were killed while handling and transporting persons arrested.
In our department, as in many departments across the country, it is standard procedure to handcuff all persons arrested.
Maple Heights Police Department
Maple Heights, Ohio
TRAVELING TEAMS (CONT.)
A Jan. 30 SCORECARD item and a recent letter (March 13) related long-distance travels by high school basketball teams. In 1974, while stationed with the U.S. Coast Guard in the Republic of Singapore, I was commissioner of the American community youth basketball program. That spring I took a 12-player team of 12-to-14-year-olds on a two-week trip from Singapore to Phoenix—a distance of 22,794 miles round trip—to compete in the Basketball Congress International boys' tournament. The trip cost under $12,000 and was financed by contributions from business firms in Singapore. I'll bet this was the longest and perhaps most expensive journey for the purpose of playing in a basketball tournament in the history of the game. Incidently, we lost both of our tournament games.
JAMES M. FLOURNOY
Chief Warrant Officer, USCG
Huntingon Beach, Calif.
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