This week's story on the Monterey Peninsula was written by Sarah Pileggi, who has been with SPORTS ILLUSTRATED since 1961, in roles ranging from factual sleuth to friendly persuader. In recent years her main responsibility has been to check the accuracy of our golf stories, a task she approaches with determination. She is seldom content, however, simply with affirming fact in a story. Her perceptive suggestions on matters of taste and content have made her doubly valuable to editors with whom she has worked (also to her husband, writer Nicholas Pileggi). Since 1969 she has been the magazine's Deputy Chief of Research.
Our planned preview of the 1972 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach called for a description of the colorful Monterey area that could complement Dan Jenkins' analysis of the tournament. Sarah, who is from the West Coast (she was born in Seattle, grew up around Los Angeles and graduated from Stanford) and is familiar with Monterey, was assigned to write it.
She enlisted the services of her sister, who lives in Palo Alto, as a researcher, read source material by everybody from Junípero Serra to John Steinbeck and went back to Monterey to re-explore. She traveled the picturesque and variegated region, south to Big Sur, north to Watsonville, east to Salinas and beyond, with—as may be seen on page 52—lively and informative results.
Besides her journalistic talents. Sarah displays considerable, but selective, athletic abilities. She is, for instance, a genius with the old wooden-paddle-and-ball-on-a-rubberband thing, variously called Bollo, Fli-Back, Hi-Li. She says she was tetherball champion of her sixth grade. She plays a good game of tennis and is not bad at soft ball. Last summer, when an SI team met a group of New York sportswriters in, of all places, Yankee Stadium, she was allowed to pinch-hit, and beat out a grounder. It didn't help; SI lost anyway, 16-2.
Although Sarah does not play golf, she has become a fixture at such major tournaments as the Open, the PGA and the Masters and certainly has seen more championship golf than most people. To be perfectly accurate, she has seen three-fourths of more championship golf than most people. On Sundays, when final rounds are played, our schedule requires her to fly back to New York in time to be in the office to check the stories as they start going to press.
"Just once." she says, "I'd like to see a tournament end."
PALMER AND PILEGGI (RIGHT) PREPARE