ROOM AND A VIEW
The ultimate in pro-football viewing may have been achieved at a Giant game in New York a week or so ago. The usual horde of thirsty sportsmen were reddogging the Stadium Club bar during the half-time intermission. At the start of the second half, a goodly number either had not yet gotten their order or were hanging around to enjoy a second or possibly a third. As the action began on the field all crowded together at the end of the bar near the closed-circuit TV. All, that is, but one suave spectator type. He sat by himself at the far end of the bar in solitary comfort, watching the television set through binoculars.
GOLF IN THE STONE AGE
Jack Nicklaus may never become a full-fledged member of the Professional Golfers' Association (SI, Nov. 1), but it won't be because he isn't trying. In his supposedly final year as a probationary member, Nicklaus lost his chance to play in the required 25 tournaments a year when the Miami Beach Open, slated for December, was canceled. Jack offered to put up $25,000 if the PGA would schedule another tournament anywhere in the U.S. during the week originally reserved for Miami. The PGA said $25,000 was not enough and that a tournament sponsor was needed. Nicklaus found a sponsor, the Sertoma Club of Tampa, which agreed to ante up an extra $10,000. The PGA said no again, this time on the grounds that a Tampa tournament would conflict with its own PGA Four-ball event the following week in Palm Beach. It did not explain why a Tampa tournament would conflict where a Miami one would not have. All Nicklaus can do now is hope for PGA approval of his request to let 24 tournaments suffice. There is precedent for this, but don't bet too much on Jack's chances.
The PGA is swinging wildly in all directions. It is threatening to suspend Arnold Palmer, Tony Lema, Gary Player, Kel Nagle, Bob Charles, Chi Chi Rodriguez and others for breaking a PGA rule against playing in a foreign tournament when the dates conflict with a U.S. PGA tournament. That rule was effective in 1964, after many golfers were already committed overseas. Bob Charles, for instance, signed in 1958 to play in the Dunlop Masters in Ireland every year; he and Nicklaus agreed long ago to play in the Australian Open.
Twelve months ago the PGA said it would not schedule a tournament in conflict with the World Match Play championship in England. Last May it changed its mind and set the Haig & Haig at La Costa, Calif. for the same weekend. It warned that any pro who competed in the World Match Play would be subject to suspension. But having agreed to do so before the PGA changed the Haig & Haig, Player, Palmer and Lema competed in England anyway, which is why they have been notified of possible suspension.
Obviously, a Nicklaus should belong to his country's PGA. Obviously, when a Palmer plays in Liverpool, a Lema in Madrid, a Player in St. Louis, the stature of the game of golf is the great gainer. The players know this and golf fans know it. Maybe someday even the PGA will figure it out.
Note to John Q. Public, Gus Fan, GI Joe and all headline writers: the Texas Western College basketball team has a player named Willie Cager.
THE BLAME GAME
Football coaches, particularly losing ones, have been known to indulge in some inventive wailing before, but Maryland Coach Tom Nugent's recent reasoning retires the Criers' Cup. "I've gone as far as I can," sniffled Nugent after a 29-7 loss to underdog North Carolina State. "It's time to share the responsibility." Then, publicly laying blame on assistant coaches he himself had selected, Nugent announced his remedy. In a move of doubtful efficacy he switched his defensive aides to offense and offensive coaches to defense. Assistant coaches are, of course, the same fellows who get little or no credit when the team is winning.
At last report, two assistants were reported talking of quitting, university President Wilson Elkins was quoted as planning no change in head coaches "at this point" and Nugent was mending fences. "I'm not passing the buck," he said, switching his option. "I get twice as much money as the other coaches so I should get twice as much blame."