Judging from the number of blue Sealy blazers around The Desert Inn during one full week last May, there weren't many mattresses being sold anywhere. Sealy was venturing into golf for the first time, and the company had selected a women's tournament to sponsor for what it believed to be a tidy statistical reason. Women make or influence nine out of every 10 mattress purchases, said a Sealy press release. Furthermore, the release pointed out, "Research confirmed that the millions of people who enjoy golf conform to what Sealy believes is the predominant purchaser of its Posturepedic mattress."
There was an early moment at The Desert Inn, when I saw all of the lady pros attacking the slot machines, that this terrific headline came to me:
CAPONI POUNDS POSTUREPEDIC PAR.
It didn't take long, in Vegas, for me to realize that one of the major differences between lady pros and men pros is that lady pros scream a whole lot more at a dice table. On the first night in town I was trying to have a quiet drink in the lobby bar at The Desert Inn with my old friend Bud Erickson, a former employee of the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons who had been cast into the unlikely role of executive director of the LPGA, when we heard these female noises ringing through the casino.
"I think those are my people," Bud said.
We looked and there they were, nine of them, jammed around a dice table as if it were a washrag sale. One of them—Gerda Boykin, her name was—was shooting, and she had just rolled a seven. Almost everything in The Desert Inn stopped for the next few moments as Gerda Boykin, an attractive, brunette who was once the only lady pro in Germany, made three more' passes with the dice amid a chorus of some of the best shrieks since Arnie first hitched up his trousers.
What had happened was, a bunch of the girls, including Judy Rankin and Pam Higgins and this Gerda, had formed a syndicate on the tour a few weeks before Vegas. Every time one of them three-putted in a tournament, she put $1 into a pool, and they had this pact that they would take the money to Vegas for the Sealy. And on the first night there, one of them—it turned out to be Gerda Boykin—would shoot the bundle at craps for three, maybe four rolls. They went in with $60 total, and the nine of them came out with an average of $40 after Gerda got through.
Bud Erickson said, "Pretty good story, huh, right off the bat? Nothing like that on the men's tour, I guess."
Right, I said. You can't find nine guys who'll speak to each other.
"Lot of good stories out here," said Bud. "There's a girl named Diane Patterson who used to be a trapeze artist. She took up golf after she quit The Flying Viennas."