POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
Bil Gilbert's article on the Masters, The Other Side of Paradise (April 5), would have been more correctly titled The Other Side of Truth. I have attended the Masters for five years and have had the opportunity to observe every area that Mr. Gilbert chose to dissect. I came away from the article with some very negative feelings about your magazine's and Mr. Gilbert's journalistic intent. Obviously, any human endeavor can be picked apart and scrutinized to the point where it is made to look foolish. Perhaps a comparable story should be done on Bil Gilbert, with conclusions about the man based on an analysis of the holes in his socks, his moles, dandruff and the dirt under his fingernails.
W. H. ANDERSON
Once again the Augusta National, the Masters tournament, the gallery and the officials have received undue criticism from a "gentleman" such as Bil Gilbert. What is so wrong with the traditions Southern or otherwise—that are followed at the Augusta National and at the Masters? I admire the Augusta National for preserving its traditions in an era in which traditions are quickly forgotten because they take up too much time. Also, I would like to offer my congratulations to Clifford Roberts on his direction of the Masters. Of all the tournaments that I have attended, I have always found the Masters to be very well-organized and very enjoyable.
Edgefield, S C.
Here's a tip for Cliff Roberts. Save one of your 135 Pinkertons for Bil Gilbert. If a reporter or a "crazy" doesn't get him, one of today's "average dirty, dopey, degenerate kids" might sneak in and succeed. But cheer up! If that happens, at least we wouldn't be losing much of a writer, would we?
DAVID J. VAN LENTEN
Bil Gilbert's article on the Augusta scene has provided us with the real reason for Lee Trevino's refusal to play in the Masters: he clearly could not concentrate on golf at a club where "there is a suggestion that the place was built to conform to a rich, white, Anglo-Saxon. Protestant concept of what Heaven would look like if God only had enough cheap labor." Old Cliff's 19th-century outlook should offend more of the PGA players and officials. Hurray for Lee Trevino!
Bil Gilbert has done a great service to expose a true farce. Let's face it, the Masters is no better and no worse than any of the other tournaments—except for the pomp. Let's look at the Masters for what it is. An exhibition in uptight snobbery by the Establishment of golf.
May I also add that the issue of April 5 was one of the best from a literary standpoint that I have ever received.
JUDD CRYSMORE II
Kew Gardens, N.Y.
Regarding No Requiem for a Heavyweight (April 5) by George Plimpton, Muhammad Ali looms larger in defeat than he ever did in victory. The interview with the two white high school students was beautiful.
Ali almost seems too nice, too decent, too intelligent to ever beat a brawler like Joe Frazier. I never before thought so, but perhaps he fits Leo Durocher's description: "Nice guys finish last."
PAUL F. CASE
George Plimpton has participated in and written about many pro sporting events, but his feature story No Requiem for a Heavyweight has to be one of his greatest achievements. SI's readers owe thanks to Mr. Plimpton for giving us a ringside view of the light, the locker room, the hospital and, most of all, of Muhammad Ali's home.
Will it ever cease? Another story on Muhammad Ali! The light has been over for weeks. Do you really believe your readers are that much interested in him?
ROBERT P. RUSSELL