Thank you very much for the finest golf tournament preview I have ever seen in print (U.S. Open, June 13). The models of the holes in Quake Corner and Ken Venturi's lucid analysis of the Olympic Country Club course serve notice to all golfers that their game involves more than hitting a ball with a club.
Too many courses are being built today on the premise that size is challenge. I am not opposed to the long hitter. In fact, his advantage should not be taken from him by narrowing his landing zone. But neither should it be broadened or freed from the hazards that face other players. Leave it to the Olympics, the Oakmonts and the Merions to provide golf's real challenge; i.e., that the player not only be able to hit the ball but that he know where it's going and how it's going to get there. More golf course architects should realize that huge greens are robbing them of the very "challenge" they are trying to create with length. Give the expert putter a 10,000-square-foot green to hit to, and you're giving him duck soup. Of course, you can also create wild undulations in those big greens, but then you're getting close to the unreal trickery of miniature golf.
Perhaps today's trend is irreversible. I hope not. Somewhere there is the happy medium where length, hazard and terrain blend into a test of skill for the golfer and provide him with a genuine challenge. We need more Olympics, and I hope we'll always have an SI to tell us about them in yet other unique ways.
John Underwood surely scored a birdie with his article, A Nobody at the Open (June 13). His heartwarming account of George Thomas' dream come true of teeing off with the greats in the U.S. Open was well worth the price of my subscription. Given such a chance, a lot of nobodies could very well become somebodies.
The ending was a bit sad but the rest was thoroughly enjoyable. Being able to rub shoulders with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer would certainly be a grand experience for anyone, and I'm sure that George's feelings were expressed correctly. I have seen a home pro compete in the Colonial National Invitation, and the pressures are greater than imaginable. A nontouring golfer has to have a lot of guts to compete with the seven-day-a-weekers.
DONALD F. JONES
Every man who has ever wanted to excel in any sport should be able to stand in Thomas' shoes while he reads your article.
ROBERT A. WISCHMEYER
George Thomas is not a nobody. He is one of the comparatively few "near greats." He was a competent pharmacist and is a dedicated professional golfer. the sport is enriched by people like George. He never was and never will be a nobody.
GILBERT S. SMALL, D.D.S.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Indeed, George Thomas is a nobody and he is likely to remain so. For a man with a college education, he shows complete disrespect for his education and the profession of pharmacy for which he has studied. There is quite a distinction between the pill-peddler, soda-jerk, money-minded druggist and the true pharmacist. The pharmacist is capable of offering complete pharmaceutical services to the public, hospitals and members of the allied professions. He is a vital member of the American society and has earned this position through years of dedicated research. I am a pharmacist and I take great pride in being a member of the pharmaceutical profession. I resent any defamatory remarks concerning pharmacy by anyone, particularly a "druggist" like George Thomas.
Mr. Thomas can go on making chocolate sodas and counting pills, and, as the article says, he will continue to be "a nobody."
Your article on Bill DeWitt ( Cincinnati's Brain-picker, June 13) was great, but it doesn't give enough credit to one of the best baseball minds of this generation. DeWitt would have made an ideal commissioner. If baseball had more men like him it would not be playing second fiddle to football.