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There has been comment that Gary Player's victory in last week's U.S. Open was a dull one. This is not so, as those discerning golf followers who saw the action at Bellerive Country Club well know. It was a golf version of watching Sugar Ray box 15 rounds to a decision, or seeing Sandy Koufax beat Juan Marichal 1-0; you had to appreciate the subtleties. But what certainly was missing, and took the lustre from the Open, was the absence of the climactic and traditional 36-hole final day.
The USGA now has tested its new four-day format—one arrived at to accommodate television. By changing the Open to suit TV the USGA hopes it can make a package television deal that will include the relatively unwanted Women's Open and U.S. Amateur. But what the USGA has managed to do is to tarnish the country's finest golf tournament by killing its distinctive feature—the 36-hole final. The old format should be restored at once. Then let the USGA put its TV package on the open market. We'll bet the networks will be in there bidding for it.
NHL GOES BIG LEAGUE
Ice hockey may well be the world's speediest sport, but no one in his right mind everaccused the National Hockey League of hasty movement. Like a novice content to practice figure eights in a quiet corner of a vast public rink, the NHL has long been content to skate aloof in its private little six-city circle, while the whole vast continent of North America clamored for big-league hockey.
Last week, however, though not exactly tossing caution to the winds, the NHL took what seemed to be a definite, if diffident, step onto the broader ice. After a special league meeting, President Clarence Campbell announced the NHL's formal intention of expanding to 12 teams by 1968, and threw open the door to formal applications from anyone with an arena seating 12,500 or more and $2 million of backing to go with it. Teams from St. Louis and Los Angeles, added Campbell, have fulfilled the qualifications already and "could go tomorrow."
The NHL franchise-tenders may soon be busy as a goalie during a power play as the syndicates rush to get in. Rival groups from San Francisco and Oakland (the latter backed by Bing Crosby) are already elbowing each other aside. Other contenders include Baltimore, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington and Houston, with Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Winnipeg and Quebec also pressing in.
Whatever effect all this may have on the staid proprietors of the NHL, it cannot help but liven up the game of hockey.
Backache is a relatively new human ailment, peculiar to today's sedentary man, according to Hans Kraus, M.D., who treated President John F. Kennedy's back for some years and has just come out with a book on the subject: The Cause, Prevention and Treatment of Backache, Stress and Tension ( Simon and Schuster, $4.50). It tells how to test your susceptibility to backache and gives exercises for sick backs, but what interested us most was a chapter entitled "Running, Yes; Golf, Maybe; Football, No." Dr. Kraus holds that some sports are better than others for release of tension, a prime cause of backache, and that some are of substantially no value, or even harmful to the tense.