A few days ago the luck of the draw placed me in an airplane seat alongside an old friend, Craig Wood. As I now calculate it, he was one of 11 men in the whole U.S. who would have been ideal traveling companions at that very time, for I had with me last week's issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED with its 10 pages on the Masters tournament, and Wood is one of the 11 golfers who have come out on top in the Augusta National's exacting golf test.
Wood, now a Ford dealer in New Rochelle, N.Y. in partnership with his old golfing companion and competitor, Claude Harmon (also a Masters winner), had already seen the Masters Preview and was enthusiastic. "It was like going to Augusta a week ahead of time—and a little bit like playing some of those old tournaments over again," he said. "The only way you could give the reader a more exciting picture would be to pay his way down there."
These words, needless to say, were heartwarming. But the Masters Preview represents only one side of SI's sports coverage, the side which aims at increasing the reader's enjoyment by helping him to be a better-informed spectator of all sports in their seasons.
Wood was also warm in his praise for SI's weekly golf instructional column, TIP FROM THE TOP—a good example of the other side: here SI covers a sport for the increased enjoyment of the participant through more knowledgeable and skillful performance. TIP FROM THE TOP has stirred winter-bound players into frequent cellar or living-room practice. And southern and western pros and players, out on the courses year round, report it as a stimulating focus of golf interest and discussion in their shops and clubs.
You have seen other features for the "do-it-yourself" sportsman regularly in You SHOULD KNOW, FISHERMAN'S CALENDAR, SNOW PATROL and our many articles on subjects ranging from how to get your dog in shape to the latest in protective football equipment.
The morning this week's SPORTS ILLUSTRATED appears, 80 players (including 1941 winner Craig Wood) start to tee off for the first round of the 1955 Masters. We hope those of you who follow the tournament will follow it better for having read SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. And for those of you who will shortly be teeing off every weekend on your own private bouts with par, we hope that TIP FROM THE TOP may play a part in shaving several strokes from your score.
(Matter of fact, I'm counting on it to do as much for me.)