THE PRICE OF FAME
Being a member of a country club that is the site of a major golf tournament is one of life's dubious distinctions. You are permitted to keep paying your club dues, and you are expected to serve happily on any of a dozen forced-labor battalions called "committees." In return, you are allowed to not play golf.
Rarely have club members not played as much golf as those at this year's U.S. Open course, The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. It is June, and Brook-line hasn't opened. What is more, club officials took a sad look at the condition of the course last week and decided it is not likely to be opened to members at all before the Open, which starts June 20. Drought and ice so badly damaged the greens last winter (SI, May 20) that five of them have had to be reseeded. Landing areas were also seeded, but the new grass was so slow coming up that sod is being put in. The course will be ready for the tournament, to be sure, but, quite probably, not before.
It has been 50 years since the Open was at Brookline. Some club members feel the interval was all too short.
The axing of Washington Manager Mickey Vernon, and its abruptness, recalled a similar passage in the history of the Senators. It was a mere 30 minutes before the official announcement that Vernon learned he was through. Even so, he got more notice than did Bill Barnie, Senator manager in 1892. Club Owner George Wagner fired Barnie for what he called "insubordination." Asked to define the insubordination, Wagner said, "I asked him to resign and he said, 'No.' "
Donald Campbell is between two worlds. After several failures to set a land speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah, Campbell took self, crew and Bluebird machine to Australia. There he waited while rain and floodwaters gradually, insistently, ate up his raceway, set across the smooth bed of Lake Eyre. Ah, lads, no go there. Last week, in Sydney, as he was packing for a tell-all board meeting in London, Campbell got word that Bonneville is back in business. The salt surface is in the best condition in five years. Nervously, he considered. "Blue-bird was built for the record," he said. "It would be a very sick joke indeed, costing $5� million, if somebody else beat us to it." Back to Bonneville it may be.
Europe's Rothschild family, like our brothers Rockefeller, has pocketbooks as big as all outdoors. Which is where both families have invested vast sums for public recreation. Baron Edmond de Rothschild has built the ski resort in M�g�ve, France. Cousin Baron Elie supports skiing at Chamonix. Now Baron Edmond has dreamed up Euronautic, a charter-boat scheme with rentals in 30 French ports. Euronautic has 200 boats to rent for nominal fees. There are boats for every type of sailor—dinghies with outboards, sailboats, cabin cruisers—and no more worrisome extras, like spending $5,000 for a crew for a month. All Euronautic wants to know is if you are a good sailor, then, voila, sign up and ship out. Europe never had it so good, nor Europe-bound Americans who might like to tour before the mast instead of in back of the bus.
Global zoning for Davis Cup matches has always been weird. Chile plays in the European zone, and Yugoslavia used to be in the American zone. This year it is stranger yet. Iran, a latecomer to the congress of tennis nations, missed the draw for the European zone. Miffed, the Iranian team captain wrote to a good friend in Washington, C. Alphonso Smith. Could Smith help out? As a tennis-playing government official, Smith could. He managed to slip Iran into the American zone draw. Iran drew the U.S. for the first round.
They play this week in Tehran. The matches will give impetus to Iran's fledgling tennis program, and so, in gratitude, Iran is jetting the American team over and back, a leap of 7,000 miles each way.