The annual speculation over who will become the first black golfer to play in the Masters completely misses the point, Harold Dunovant claims. The real question, he says, is whether there will be any qualified black golfers at all several years from now.
Dunovant is head pro at New York City's Kissena Park Golf Course and one of the few blacks in the country to hold such a job. He points out that the eight black regulars on the PGA tour are all graduates of the old "black tour," which is faltering for lack of sponsorship. Last fall only one black, Nate Starks, made it to the PGA tour qualifying school, and he was fortunate to win his playing card.
"I'll bet there are at least 20 more black golfers with the potential to make the cut every week on the PGA tour," Dunovant says, "but first they need tournament experience to get there. And where will they get that? Not with athletic scholarships on the white college circuit. Certainly not as amateurs on the white private country-club circuit."
Dunovant is trying to keep the black tour alive by enlisting the aid of equipment and apparel manufacturers, but so far without much luck. "If something can't be put together soon," he says, "in six or seven years there won't be a single black player on the pro tour, let alone playing in the Masters."
Every ailurophobe knows that the first person the family cat zeroes in on is him. No sooner has the victim settled in for an evening of good talk and a spot of the host's best booze when puss saunters over and starts picking his finest suit apart or lands with a startling thunk on his shoulder from the top of the grandfather clock. Shooing is useless. Kicking is satisfying, but it generally means the guest will never be invited again. Taking compassion on her friends, a cat-loving New York hostess searched for and found what she regards as the perfect solution. She equips guests with a fully loaded water pistol, and a delighted marksman reports that a shot straight between the clear blue eyes of a Siamese works wonders. Ailurophiles, wild horses wouldn't drag the name of either of these scoundrels out of us.
WHERE THERE'S A WILL
As the bidding intensifies for the ball Henry Aaron hits for his 715th home run—at week's end $15,000 from Baltimore businessman Julio Gonzalez appeared to be tops, exceeding the $11,111 offer from two Greene County Georgians—a gentleman who insists his name is Lance Boyle cut the absurd grandstanding down to size. Calling in to Myron Cope's radio talk show in Pittsburgh last week, Boyle posed this situation: you are playing the outfield and Aaron slaps a soft single your way. You trap the ball, but fall down heavily and are inordinately slow getting up. When you do, holding the shoulder of your throwing arm, you are obviously in pain and disoriented. Somehow, as you stumble here and hesitate there, Aaron crosses the plate with an inside-the-park homer, and you never do get rid of the ball. Not if you're smart, you don't.
MUDDLE THROUGH, MATES
Add to the endangered-species list the Henley Regatta. For 134 years oarsmen have made the pilgrimage to the picturesque course on the River Thames and just last year set a record with 242 crews, 30 of them American shells. There is a financial crisis, however, and unless the governing stewards solicit a large bundle of cash the regatta is in trouble, according to Secretary Antony Hannen.
One scheme to save the four-day meeting involves building luxury homes not far from the river, but that is sure to meet stiff resistance from local people, who take pride in the quaint town and lush lawns that form a backdrop for one of England's most prestigious sporting-cum-social events of the year.
On the brighter side, the storied bars under the blue-and-white striped tents in the various enclosures did their usual brisk business at the last Henley, and admissions to viewing spots held up admirably. "If worst came to worst—and it would have to be the worst," says Hannen, "we would have to accept sponsorship." It is hard to believe there won't always be a Henley.
This is the Year of the Tiger on the Chinese calendar and, they hope, the year Auburn, LSU, Clemson, Texas Southern, Memphis State, Missouri, the University of the Pacific and Princeton, among others, will roar out of the football jungle to certain victory over lesser animals.
Here is a fish story to begin all fish stories. Oscar, a 1-inch-long blue-green Siamese fighting fish, is in love. The object of his affection is Karol Kluge, a freshman at St. Gregory's College in Shawnee, Okla. Oscar lives an otherwise sedate life in the fishbowl of the Rev. Victor Roberts, a faculty member and Oscar's owner and provider. But Karol has been feeding the creature, and every time she enters the Rev. Roberts' office, Oscar, who has studiously ignored his master, waves his tail and then swims back and forth, as beside himself as a puppy. Karol has tested their relationship by calling to Oscar from behind a door. Always it is the same: wiggles, happy wiggles.
NO FALL GUY
The best man at last month's NCAA wrestling championships at Iowa State never lifted a finger to prove the point. Wade Schalles, a senior from Clarion (Pa.) State, with an extraordinary record, was declared ineligible for the university division tournament because he had enrolled briefly at another school the summer prior to his freshman year, so he watched from the sidelines as wrestlers he had beaten previously took titles in the 150-, 158- and 177-pound divisions and a second at 167 pounds. The 177-pounder, Floyd Hitchcock of Bloomsburg (Pa.) State, was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler. Earlier this season Schalles stepped up from 158 pounds to 177 to challenge Hitchcock because, he said, "he was the best wrestler in that tournament and I wanted to see what I could do against him." What he did was pin Hitchcock so suddenly that the referee almost failed to call the fall.
Schalles does not look like a wrestler. His gangly body is unrippled by anything that might be classified as a muscle, but he does have the ego of a winner. Asked two years ago on national TV when did he think he had his match for an NCAA title won, he told Frank Gifford, "As soon as I stepped on the mat."
One of the latest intellectual parlor games is analyzing football players. Anybody can play—and plenty of people do—but the man probably best qualified is wondering if the game might be better off without him. He is Dr. Arnold Mandell, a scholarly psychiatrist who spent the last two seasons visiting with the San Diego Chargers as the only team shrink in the National Football League. "Pro football," he wrote in a study, "is not the place for a psychiatrist. I found that by helping to alleviate a player's problems I was making him happier but perhaps not as successful."
Even so, Dr. Mandell added to the growing body of observations, some scientific, some not, by splitting personality traits according to position. He concluded that quarterbacks are the most arrogant players. One type is apt to say, "Heat up the water. I don't want to walk on it while it's cold." Another, a religious type, is humble before God but no one else. He is anxiety-free and feels he has a direct line to the Lord.
"Fullbacks are honest, tough, no-nonsense," the doctor writes. "Halfbacks are sneaky, elusive. Both are aggressive, but while the fullback will punch you in the nose, the halfback will stab you in the back."
Offensive guards are tremendously interested in details, tackles are slower of thought and wide receivers elegant and vain. Dr. Mandell found defensive backs to be generally alienated and depression prone. "They are aggressive but are always getting beaten up because of their size. I found five or six had suicidal depression."
Linebackers are analytical, intelligent and highly controlled. "They'll kill if given permission. They are the ones who would make excellent assassins." Defensive linemen will kill, too, "but only for the fun of it. They are usually casual and sloppy."
Thus, in Dr. Mandell's view, the violent world of pro football. Not even Freud would tackle that gang.
THE OLD SOD
Inflated costs and high living have caught up with the University of Texas. Despite enjoying one of its most successful sports seasons, the school lost $92,871 on athletics during the past fiscal year and expects a $250,000 deficit in fiscal year 1974. For the first time it will ask for contributions from boosters, probably as much as $300,000 in order to fund scholarships.
One other looming expense is for new Astro Turf to replace that purchased five years ago at $400,000 for Memorial Stadium and a nearby practice field. Heavy use of the facilities by intramural groups and the Longhorn band as well as varsity athletes has worn the nap thin. The artificial turf is good for two more years, but the athletic department decided to take advantage of a manufacturer's warranty and buy now before the price, already up $80,000, doubled. Total cost of the new installation: $300,000.
Hunters form a powerful lobby, one that not many politicians are willing to buck no matter what the issue nor how shortsighted the result. As a case in point, we cite a bill that flew through both houses of the Maryland General Assembly one week in March. It would prevent the state's Department of Natural Resources from banning the use of lead shot on waterfowl. Two years ago Maryland had become the first state to impose such a ban, reacting to the alarming number of birds that die of poisoning after ingesting the spent shot.
Maryland's 60,000 hunters complained that the substitute steel shot was less accurate and more expensive than the lead shot. "Steel shot costs twice as much and tears up your gun barrel," Delegate Carlton Dize told the House. "Anybody who says it doesn't is a liar."
No one argued with Dize. The points were thoroughly aired when the ban was first proposed. But the argument then was that it was better to have something to shoot at, however inaccurately or expensively, than to have no game at all.
Fortunately, the lead men have not had the last say. Governor Marvin Mandel can fail to sign the bill or, if he does sign it, the U.S. Department of Interior may yet impose a ban of its own. The expected federal move is being delayed for an environmental impact analysis.
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
The National Marine Fisheries Service is having a naming contest. It feels that more appealing handles might boost the sale of ratfish, cancer crab, gray grunt, wolffish, jack and saucer-eye porgies. Let's see. Bunnyfish, happy crab, gay mum, riding hood. But one-eyed jacks, that would be wild.
THEY SAID IT
•Ed Giacomin, 34-year-old New York Ranger goalie, who has been gray-haired since he was 19: "My decision to make goalkeeping a career might have had something to do with it."
•Henry Aaron, on why he rejected a Hollywood movie offer after making three TV shows there: "I got tired of looking at Rolls-Royces and I wanted to drive my Chevrolet. I got to hit a lot of sliders to buy a Rolls-Royce."
•Steve Smith, asked who might be the first man to vault 20 feet: "Somebody who can run as fast as John Carlos and carry a pole at the same time."
•Martha Watson, asked how she liked Moscow after winning the 60 and long jump against the Russians: "It's not a tourist trap."
•Ed Batogowski, NBA referee, asked where his daughter was born: "Philadelphia at Milwaukee."