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THE AMATEUR HOUR IN PRO SPORTS
Bil Gilbert
June 15, 1964
Professional golfers will make the news and money at next week's U.S. Open, but only because a most nonprofessional group of club members organized everything from police-dog patrols to 'modes of dress'
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June 15, 1964

The Amateur Hour In Pro Sports

Professional golfers will make the news and money at next week's U.S. Open, but only because a most nonprofessional group of club members organized everything from police-dog patrols to 'modes of dress'

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The modes of dress were safely hung in Congressional closets by March, and Mrs. Battles was able to turn her attention to such things as modes of smell and modes of makeup. "A large cosmetics house has been terribly excited about our Open," she confides. The terrible excitement has been made manifest in several exotic ways. The cosmetic firm has already produced an "Evening of Fragrance" in the Congressional clubhouse. The Evening of Fragrance consisted of cosmetic-detail boys and girls liberally dousing the crowd with "intimate perfumes" and "masculine colognes." Ah, there is a vision worth conjuring up: Walter Hagen at an Evening of Fragrance.

The same cosmetic firm has also furnished compacts for the 125 uniformed—mode-of-dressed—ladies who will act as officials during the Open. "The compacts are lovely," says Mrs. Battles, "and the lipsticks and powders are selected to complement our colors."

Ladies being as they are, suppose they do not use the red, white and blue complementing preparations? "We will have an inspection each morning," says Mrs. Battles. But suppose they just do not want to, even after morning muster? "Well, I suppose if some individual were so uncooperative as to spoil the whole effect, we would just have to take away her mode of dress."

The very suggestion that there could possibly be such a thing as a Congressional member who was less than thrilled at the prospect of hosting the U.S. Open sounds a faint downbeat note in the otherwise lively proceedings. Such things as the toughened golf course, closing off certain sections for refurbishing, not being able to enter the grounds of their own club during the Open without buying a ticket, fretting about possible damage to the club and the financial risks have all contributed to a little muted, underground griping.

However, it is obvious that, as Murphy and other Open advocates claim, the vast majority of the members are solidly behind the project. Any sizable opposition party would have made it impolitic for Congressional to seek the Open and impossible to have prepared for it so successfully. Considering the time, money and nervous energy that a club must expend in getting ready for this tournament, the real wonder is that so many members want the Open, not that a few oppose it. "Actually, the Open is our easiest tournament to place," says the USGA's Hannigan. "The selection committee has five or six clubs to choose from each year."

"It's the prestige," is the reason advanced by member after member at Congressional. "Maybe 100,000 golfers are going to be here. Millions are going to read about it and see it on TV. If I go to Arizona, Florida, anywhere, and they say, 'Where do you play?' when I say Congressional they are going to say, 'Oh yeah, that's where they had that great Open. Beautiful course.' "

There is also the possibility that they may say, oh yeah, that was the red, white and blue Open, or the place with police dogs, or the course where a baby was delivered on the 9th tee. However, as the man said, nothing great is achieved without suffering. Next year St. Louis.

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