Hard on the heels of professional football's new multimillion-dollar television deals with NBC and CBS came the news from Phoenix, Ariz. that the Professional Golfers' Association had threatened to boycott the Phoenix Open over the rights to a mere $5,000 television contract. As might be suspected, there was much more at stake than $5,000. The real question was: Who should control television rights to a golf tournament, the sponsor or the players? As far as the PGA is concerned, there is no question.
"In the hands of tournament sponsors," says Jay Hebert, players' Tournament Committee chairman, "there is the danger of TV oversaturation—and for peanuts in income. We also feel better qualified, we know the game so well, to decide which tournaments should be televised and how. Finally, with control in our hands we could present a unified package to the television networks which would not only be to our benefit but to the tournament sponsors' as well."
To Larry Crosby, tournament chairman of the Bing Crosby Pro-Am, this means that the PGA is trying to muscle in and take over "like the Capone mob," but Hebert replies: "No one can say we've been narrow-minded in the past, why would we be on a thing like this? We intend to negotiate each contract separately, depending on each tournament sponsor."
The PGA has been looking into the question of television for almost three years. Last December it signed Martin Carmichael, formerly with CBS as Director of Sport Contracts in the Department of Business Affairs, as its radio-television attorney.
"It's a buyer's market," Carmichael says confidently. "For every sponsor that won't sign the TV rights over to us we can find a replacement who will."
That, eventually, is what may decide the issue.
The Navy's celebrated quarterback, Roger Staubach, has received more than 2,000 letters, mostly from coeds asking for photographs, since the start of his phenomenal season last year. In line with President Johnson's economy drive, the Navy has ceased to furnish the girls glossy prints, which cost $3 apiece. Instead, prints are mimeographed. They do not have that gleam in the eye the glossies had, but the Naval Academy is sure the girls will make that much of a sacrifice for their country. At $3 each the Navy cannot afford an All-America and stay within its budget.
Girls from all over the country also send Roger pictures of themselves. Two girls' colleges in Georgia even sent him pictures of beauty contestants and asked him to select the winners. Staubach was cooperative, although, as he remarked recently, "It took about a week to get the job done."
Staubach has another year to enjoy such extracurricular celebrity. One assumes he is saving some of the pictures to decorate the bulkheads of what, in 1965, will be a very junior officer's cabin.