A WORD FOR THE OLD HEAVE HO
Deepdale has become a dirty word in golf these days, and it would seem almost axiomatic that a Calcutta pool would be about as welcome at a golf tournament as a snake at a picnic. Yet it is by no means that simple. Plenty of amateur golfers with enough walking-around money to make a friendly wager on the links resent the growing movement to outlaw the Calcutta, particularly when it involves their own home clubs.
After the Deepdale scandal last fall (SI, Nov. 14), when a couple of ringers playing under phony names helped engineer a huge betting coup in that club's Calcutta, the U.S. Golf Association added a new section to its rules defining conduct which can "cause forfeiture of amateur status." The new rule bans "any conduct, including activities in connection with golf gambling, which is considered detrimental to the best interests of the game." Fuzzy as this wording is, it does hold a threat over the heads of the better players and was at least a first step towards legislating the Calcuttas out of existence. Nonetheless, the Calcuttas persisted this past winter, especially in the Southwest and along the mink-and-Jaguar circuit of the southern resorts.
With summer coming on, the average golfer is likely to find himself face to face with the problem before long. Most clubs have a harmless little Calcutta or auction of some kind during the season, and who is to say that it is wrong? Where does one draw the line between modest club gambling and the big member-guest Calcuttas which attract the high-winding sharpies and their fabricated handicaps?
According to William Campbell, the 1955 Walker Cup captain and one of the pillars of U.S. amateur golf, the solution is to knock off all gambling at the large "guest or invitational tournaments." Among his reasons: "Just one chiseler can take advantage of all the honest players and give the whole affair a black eye."
To back up this position, Campbell recently circulated a resolution to the country's leading amateurs. "For the benefit of golf," it said, "we hereby agree that we will not permit our names to be used or sold in any auctions of players or teams in any so-called Calcutta pool or similar activity attendant to any invitational or guest tournament. Recognizing organized gambling as a threat to the game of golf, we urge all amateur golfers to join us in this resolution."
When Campbell released the resolution to the press it carried 240 signatures, among them such distinguished golfing names as Dick Chapman, Johnny Dawson, Ken Venturi, Robert A. Gardner, Hillman Robbins and Walker Cuppers Jimmy Jackson and Dale Morey. Since some great names were conspicuous by their absence, Campbell was quick to point out that some of the addressees may not have received their copies in time to return them, either because he had the wrong address or because they were away from home. For instance, National Amateur Champion Harvie Ward's signature arrived more than a week later.
Be that as it may, it is still true that the stand of Campbell and the USGA on gambling is by no means unanimous. There are a good many honorable men who demur on the principle that nobody should supervise morals on the links. Where will it stop? they ask. What about drinking? Or playing golf on Sunday?
Deep is the Deepdale scar, and it may take more than rules and resolutions to erase it. For instance, it may take just the innate honesty and good sense of the American sportsman who is perfectly capable of giving a rascal the old heave ho when he finds him cluttering up the tee or the locker room.
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