SI Vault
July 02, 1962
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July 02, 1962


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Two months after Dick Mayer won the 1957 Open Championship the USGA was embarrassed to learn that its new champion was involved in splitting his wirming purse of $50,000 at another tournament with a golfer who had earned less than $400. Mayer and Al Besselink had made a pre-tournament arrangement to share 90 to 10 should either win top prize.

Reasoning that one of the great attractions of professional tournament golf is that the public assumes that the players are competing on an all-or-nothing basis, and that this type of sub-rosa arrangement is thereby a fraud, the USGA made it a condition of entry in its Open championships that there be no prize-splitting.

The Professional Golfers' Association might well have followed suit but so far has done nothing. The practice of prize-splitting remains as common as three-putt greens on the PGA tournament circuit. When two golfers on the pro tour, having tied over the regulation 72 holes in one of the weekly events, stand on the first tee to fight it out in overtime for first place, the chances are that they are fighting solely for a title and resultant perquisites, that they have already agreed to split evenly the total prize earmarked for first and second places.

We think the PGA might well adopt the USGA rule.


The slugging of Earl Lawson, Cincinnati sportswriter, by Vada Pinson was, no doubt, an impulsive act which Vada regretted immediately. Too much should not be made of it, perhaps, but it does have some unpleasant implications if it continues to go unnoticed by baseball authorities.

There is already quite enough pressure and blandishment on newspaper sportswriters to serve as press agents for the home town team rather than as critics whose services are dedicated to the fan first and the team only secondarily, if at all. If the pressure takes the form of physical punishment without penalty, then sound criticism and objective writing will become as extinct as the spitball, which means there will be only a little of it around.

We suggest that the baseball commissioner regard the slugging of a writer as he would regard the slugging of an umpire, and impose the same severe penalty. Or else equip all writers with umpires' masks.


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