CHARTING A NEW COURSE?
It was rumored last week in Denver that the touring pro golfers—who have been threatening for months to pull out of the Professional Golfers' Association unless they are given complete control of the $4.5 million tour—had lawyers drawing up a charter for a new players' organization, which would be based in Houston and headed by onetime Masters champion Jackie Burke.
Meanwhile the sponsors of the professional tournaments, who put up 85% of the purse money, are standing uneasily between the PGA and the players, apparently afraid to offend either. At a sponsors' meeting held last week, the general chairman of the Buick Open, Jerry Rideout, proposed some controversial rules to protect the backers of lucrative tournaments from heavy losses when star golfers fail to show up. But Rideout prefaced his proposals by saying they were "merely intended as thought starters. Perhaps the players could consider these points now and write some of them into the rules—to become effective, say, in five years. By then Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and the other big names from the present tour aren't going to be playing more than a handful of tournaments a year anyway, so it won't hurt them. But there would be some control over the young golfers who are coming up. The young ones might be willing to agree now because they don't know what the future holds."
Among other things, Rideout suggested that 1) entries for a tournament close four weeks before an event (they now close four days before); 2) the sponsors be guaranteed that in all tournaments with a value exceeding $75,000 in purses, a minimum of 15 of the top 25 money winners of the previous year will participate (otherwise a sponsor could reduce the purse by 50%); and 3) a tournament champion must defend his title or pay the sponsor $5,000.
These are realistic proposals, of a type we have endorsed in the past. Professional golf is show biz and a $200,000 tournament without a star is like a four-day stage show with just a chorus line. If the players are drawing up that new charter, they would do well to give considerable thought to Jerry Rideout's suggestions.
ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY
Clete Boyer did not want that home run he hit last week in Wrigley Field. Going into the game against the Cubs, he had 999 hits and had arranged with the umpires to retrieve the ball for him if he got No. 1,000. In the seventh inning Boyer hit the homer onto the catwalk in the left-field bleachers. The field announcer asked whoever retrieved the ball to return it to Boyer. The person would be given an autographed ball instead. After the game four people showed up at the front office, each claiming to have Boyer's ball.
The national chairman of CORE, Wilfred T. Ussery, announced recently that his organization was requesting Negro fighters to boycott the World Boxing Association tournament which will determine the new heavyweight champion. "No Negro heavyweight should fight in a sport controlled by whites and which so flagrantly disregards the rights of black people," Ussery said. CORE specifically took issue with the California boxing board's refusal to grant Muhammad Ali a license to fight in a charity match in Oakland, the proceeds of which were "to help the starving people of the South." The commission rejected Ali's request on the grounds that he had been convicted of a felony.
But CORE cannot hope for much support from the five Negro boxers in the tournament. Here are their reactions to the boycott proposal:
Thad Spencer: "Any Negro involved in the tournament who listens to Ussery has to be out of his mind. Eve put 10 years of my life into boxing and now that I can nearly see the title, I'd be crazy to step away."