It's too bad that Alfred Wright was tied up at the board meeting at Bermuda Dunes during the play of the Bob Hope Desert Classic (Thanks for the Memory, Feb. 22). He missed a terrific golf tournament.
Of course, I know it's hard to concentrate on such dull stuff as a six-hole shot-for-shot stretch drive between Ray Floyd and Arnold Palmer or their subsequent playoff when you have such excitement as the ticket deal between Bill Conway and Ed Crowley or Mollie Cullum's cocktail party. But couldn't you at least have had a picture of Arnie's great birdie putt in sudden death or his eagle on Saturday or a story on how it feels to be back in the winner's circle after so long?
In short, for the millions in Arnie's Army who waited so long to revel in his great comeback, and for golfing fans everywhere, your article was a miserable letdown.
ROBERT L. DAWSON
You blew it! You missed the tension, drama, excitement and glory as the king of golf proved his worth. You saw only the fun and games of Vice-President Agnew, Willie Mays, Mollie Cullum and a lot of business executives. True, they support the tournament, but who makes it go? I'll tell you who. Arnie! That grand old guy who led his army over the hill and on to victory! Through five days of fighting, with thousands of troops following him, cheering him on through every hole, Arnie sank a 25-footer to win his first tournament since December of '69.
In bypassing Arnold Palmer's first tournament victory since 1969, SI ignored one of the most popularly significant sporting events of recent years.
I cannot help thinking that even Spiro Agnew would have been happier to see more about the "restoration of a monarch" and less about his own erratic tee shots.
West Salem, Wis.
No thanks for the memory.
I would like to congratulate Morton Sharnik for his excellent interview with Joe Frazier (I Got a Surprise for Clay, Feb. 22). Mr. Sharnik seems to have succeeded quite skillfully in performing a task few others have even attempted—that of eliciting from Smokin' Joe an honest display of how the fighter feels about himself, about Muhammad Ali and about boxing in general. Amidst the numerous articles on the controversial and colorful Ali, this one on Frazier proved to be both refreshing and informative. Now all is left up to the fighters, and the best man will win.
After reading your interview pieces about Ali and Frazier, I am convinced that Frazier is the likely winner. His analysis of everything, the fight and his life in general, is consistent with his style in the ring. He is remarkable for his straight-line thinking, devoid of the slightest nonsense. He continues to impress me, not just as a highly efficient fighter, but as a well-motivated, determined businessman. Many would do well to study him for inspiration.
Joe Frazier can plan, train and shoot his mouth off all he wants, but when he gets into that ring with Muhammad Ali, I doubt that he will have the time or the sense to throw his cute little phrases at the real champ.
BODY AND SOUL
Congratulations to Curry Kirkpatrick for his excellent article on body surfing (The Closest Thing To Being Born, Feb. 22). His description of the outasight Wedge is enough to give the strong a weak heart and the sane a blown mind.
The techniques of body surfing are fundamentally easy to understand, and yet there is no way of describing what it is like to be locked in the green room of a wave with the spray doing staccatos on your face. Keep those articles coming.
I think you mislead the average person as to what body surfing is all about when you publicize the antics of a bunch of creeps at the Wedge. You lend glamour to a group of individuals who are so mean that they enjoy brutalizing other people who want to try the Wedge. Apparently the Wedge men are so depleted in self-esteem that they feel the need to try to destroy someone else in order to make themselves feel strong. There is too much of this activity in the world already and I, for one, believe that it should be condemned for what it is, not an act of bravery or courage but the act of a bully with a desolate soul.
IVAN P. COLBURN
Newport Beach, Calif.
Granted, love for the ocean, desire for adventure and better-than-average swimming skills are necessary to really enjoy this version of the sport, but one need not be a mental midget or a crazy Hell's Angel to qualify as a body surfer.
Most sports involve risks and the possibility of sustaining injury, and body surfing is no exception to the rule. But cutthroat annihilation of oneself and of one's fellow man, as described in Mr. Kirkpatrick's article, need not be part of this aquatic pastime.
MICHAEL E. KELLY
I was very amused by your article. Since I am a board surfer myself, I can appreciate the body surfer's love for the sea, but for them to say that board surfers are a "bunch of phony hangers-on" is ridiculous. Board surfers ride waves as big, if not bigger, than the Wedge. And we don't do any "head-hopping" or hurt people, either. So you tell those spacedoutidiotdrunkenegotrippers to go stick their heads in the sand—preferably at the Wedge.
Perhaps someday those head-hoppers will pull their heads out of the sand and wedge themselves into a society that has worthier values.
Having just read the article on archery and the new trend in mechanical releases (The Big Lit tie Gizmo Imbroglio, Feb. 15), it is my opinion that the releases should be outlawed. The bow is not a gun. Archery is a useful sport only if it embraces the psychological need for man to compete within the bounds of his own strength and discipline. Take away this element, and you've destroyed the sport.
SHIRLEY R. AXON
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Certainly there is no progress in a sport when equipment prevents human excellence from asserting itself. Give two vaulters the same pole, and the better will win, though the vaults of both will be higher if the pole is fiber glass rather than bamboo. But when a sport with a maximum possible score makes that score achievable by the also-rans as well as the best, the truly exceptional athlete becomes submerged among the merely proficient.
Minnesota City, Minn.
Archers should be allowed to use releases, but the size of the spot should be greatly reduced in order to lower scores.
Congratulations to Carleton Mitchell on an informative and well-written article about the new cruiser Envoy (Yacht with a Taste for Haste, Feb. 15). Ted Lodigensky's illustrations were also great, especially the cutaway showing the inside of the boat. Thanks.
The predictability of people astounds me! Every January I begin to look forward to your yearly article about some special part of the world, great summer fashions and admirable suntans (A New Era for an Old Island, Feb. 1). After reading the story I fantasize a bit about whether or not I look half as delightful as the models and whether a limited budget will ever allow a trip to some bypassed island like the Dominican Republic. Then I wait. Two weeks later on the nose the 19TH HOLE comes up with exactly what I've been waiting for! Endorsements and canceled subscriptions, expressions of delight and words of disgust. The whole process is terrific!
Thanks for a great magazine and for a side attraction on human behavior.
MRS. MICHAEL COONEY
Santa Barbara, Calif.
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