THE CEREMONY AND THE RULE
I wanted you to know how much I enjoyed Dan Jenkins' article Where Ceremony Rules (April 8). His inside picture of the Masters was delightful, and I felt I was actually seeing Bowman Milligan "answer the call."
Jay Maisel's photographs could not have been better. His beautiful shots of that magnificent course will keep me daydreaming until I can get my driver in hand again.
J. C. Box
Lieut. Commander, USN
Los Alamitos, Calif.
After what happened to Roberto de Vicenzo (Golf's Craziest Drama, April 22) it appears to me that the Masters officials ought to put Bowman Milligan in charge of the tournament and Cliff Roberts in charge of the kitchen.
Many sports have archaic rules, but none can match the relic that was used to deny Roberto de Vicenzo his chance to win the Masters golf championship. Certainly he violated a USGA rule by incorrectly recording his score and therefore should be penalized, but one cannot keep from laughing at the rule itself.
Does a baseball player have to validate in writing the balls and strikes that are incurred or must the team sign a statement verifying the runs it has scored in order to claim a victory? Must a tennis player be required to write down every point of every game and set?
With the sophisticated scoreboards, cameras and judges that closely monitor all professional matches today, it seems ridiculous that every golfer must go through the routine of recording the score on every hole. Even though it is only a trivial chore, he should be too busy concentrating on his game to attend to a formality that any scoreboard or judge can perform. Bob Goalby deserves the Masters championship, but the rules of golf need amending.
The Masters officials have applied a rule with an inexorable finality that would be unexpected even in a court of law. Probably 5,000 persons witnessed the fact that de Vicenzo made a birdie 3 on the 17th hole. Millions of others witnessed that fact on their television screens, and even the tournament officials acknowledged it publicly. But then those same officials closed their eyes to the fact and accepted the myth that, instead of a birdie 3, de Vicenzo really made a par 4 because that figure appeared in the appropriate square on his scorecard. I am disappointed in them.
Carl Yastrzemski would never have won the Triple Crown if he had had to compile his batting average, RBIs and home runs while he was running the bases. If tournament officials can offer $100,000 or $125,000 in prize money surely they can afford $1,000 or so for official scorers to follow the players and record every shot.
I nominate Roberto de Vicenzo for Sportsman of the Year.
Riviera Beach, Fla.
SALUTES TO SPRING
Each of us knows the first sign of spring. For some it's a man loosening up winter-stiff muscles with a tennis racket. For golf nuts it's a packed driving range on a warm Tuesday night. But baseball buffs turn to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for their first taste of the excitement, movement and spectacle of a new season. Nowhere else is the spring more beautifully anticipated.