Your March 27 cover photograph of Jack Nicklaus is another great one. A confident look from an athlete who knows he's the best in his field. Just for the record, on how many covers has Nicklaus appeared?
•Sixteen, starting with the Sept. 12, 1960 issue, when Jack was a 20-year-old amateur.—ED.
Now may we forget the myth that Tom Watson is the new master of golf?
Jack Nicklaus does what no other athlete can—the impossible.
I am totally unsympathetic to the moans and groans of the touring professional golfers about the toughness of the Sawgrass course (Off in a World of His Own, March 27). It gets rather boring watching these pros shoot 10, 12 and 13 under par week after week when the majority of the viewing weekend golfers are lucky to break 90 or 100. There should be some degree of difficulty when the pros are playing for all that prize money. No one said life was easy, so why should golf be?
I had the opportunity to play Sawgrass two years ago, when I had a 26 handicap (for 18 holes). I was quite content with my 47 on the back nine of that gorgeous course.
Thanks for a fine and revealing article on the Leon Spinks situation ("They Got Leon All Messed Up," March 27). In my opinion, the World Boxing Council is at fault here. To take away the heavyweight crown from a man who has held it for little more than a month is a grave injustice. Spinks symbolizes the American Dream. He came from the dregs of poverty to win the championship. It is my hope that the WBC has not ruined a fine young fighter's life by taking this rash action.
NOT ONLY A ROSE
With all due respect to Daniel Krueckeberg and his devotion to Pete Rose (SCORECARD, March 27), the Cincinnati Reds' star is not the only player to be named an All-Star at three different positions. Harmon Killebrew of the Washington Senators and the Minnesota Twins started the midsummer classic at third base (1959, 1970), in left field (1964) and at first base (1967, 1968).
I enjoyed Clive Gammon's story about Red Rum (England Is High on Red Rum, March 27). This is an interesting name for a racehorse. I recall a Dick Tracy villain, vintage 1940, whose name was Redrum, which spelled backward is....
J. GREELEY MCGOWIN II
•For more on England's Red Rum, see page 82.—ED.
KATE DIDN'T DO IT
With reference to the SCORECARD item (March 27) about the Philadelphia Flyers dumping Kate Smith, that's a pretty lame excuse if ever I heard one. It was Bobby Clarke & Co. who tied the Pittsburgh Penguins, not Kate Smith! So why blame Miss Smith and her rendition of God Bless America for the Flyers' recent decline? To me, they're the Floundering Flyers. Let's just leave Kate out of it and accord her the honor and respect she merits.
WILLIAM F. O'BRIEN
The best-kept secret in sports is not the winner of the NCAA Division II basketball tournament, as University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Coach Dave Buss claims (When Brrr Turned to Grrr, March 27). A better-kept secret is the Division III winner.
North Park College, which is located in Chicago, defeated Widener College (of Chester, Pa.) 69-57 to win the Division III championship at Rock Island, Ill. on the same weekend Cheyney State beat Wisconsin-Green Bay for the Division II title. The results were not only excluded from your college basketball story, but also failed to make FOR THE RECORD. NOW that is a secret!
WILLIAM F. TELLEEN
REVAMPING THE NCAAs
I am writing to suggest one possible way for the NCAA to ensure that the 32-team field in its basketball championships will actually include the top 32 teams in the country (which is not the case, as I see it, this year). Either the NCAA or the individual conferences should require a playoff game between the regular-season conference champion and the winner of the postseason conference tournament, if such a tournament is held and its winner isn't the regular-season champion. With all due respect to teams like Missouri, Houston and Duke—each of which became its conference representative in this year's NCAAs by winning its conference tournament—the respective regular-season champions (Kansas, Arkansas and North Carolina) should not have had to take a backseat and be given at-large berths, often in tougher regionals.
The current practice takes the luster off a conference championship earned over a full season, and by adding new—and not always deserving—conference candidates to the NCAA tournament deprives Top 20 independents, like Detroit, Georgetown and Illinois State this year, of an NCAA bid. This season, Southwest Conference co-leader Texas was knocked out of the NCAAs altogether.
If the idea of the postseason tournament is to enrich league coffers, a post-tournament playoff game would boost revenues even more. The fans would have one more game to get ready for, agonize through and replay during the long, hot summer. And should the tournament winner beat the regular-season champ, it at least would have a more legitimate reason for being its conference representative in the NCAAs.
GEORGE J. GORDON
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF
In a recent SCORECARD item (Feb. 27), Penn State Coach Joe Paterno suggested that the NCAA establish a college football playoff system and set aside the bulk of the proceeds for the first five years in order to establish a fund that the less prosperous NCAA schools could borrow from at a low interest rate for their athletic needs. It seems to me that the more ways our colleges have of improving their athletic programs, the more secure is the future of sport in America. Even the quality of many U.S. Olympic teams would be improved by such a program. I hope Paterno's proposal becomes a reality.
Parkersburg, W. Va.
ACHING BACKS (CONT.)
As a licensed physical therapist and longtime SI subscriber, I was delighted to read J. D. Reed's article How To Put Bad Backs Behind You (March 13). Reed is to be commended for saying simply and factually that "lower-back pain" has become the catchall phrase for myriad injustices done to the human body. We appear to be more knowledgeable about lawns and gardens than about the function and care of this flesh-and-bone enigma. Why not introduce more comprehensive courses in human anatomy and general body function and dysfunction in our secondary schools? This would lead to fewer misconceptions and, in many cases, an avoidance of the problem.
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