VICTORY AT PEBBLE
Congratulations on a well-written article about a man who conquered the uncontrollable elements of wind, sand and ocean and the controllable elements of pressure from fellow golf giants Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer to win the most challenging and delightful-to-watch U.S. Open of the decade (The Glorious Quest, June 26).
As a loyal fan of Jack Nicklaus, I see him as a man who is potentially the greatest golfer ever to swing a club. I also see him as a man of well-earned wealth who is very unpretentious, a man who has survived the present corrosion of many of our values and who, at least from all outward appearances, is a happy man concerned and interested in his family. If anyone deserves to win the "quadruple crown" it is Jack Nicklaus.
THE REV. ROBERT MELANCON
I was at the tournament and was most impressed by Nicklaus' intelligent play. Jack researched the tough Pebble Beach course well. He knew all the distances that he needed to hit and also what parts of the green to hit to. Though nearly all his shots impressed me, the one that I thought best was his second shot on the 13th. After scrambling for a bogey on the 12th, he hooked his tee shot on the 13th and ended up in the middle of a dirt road approximately 150 yards from the green (as your article said, he is mortal). He studied the shot as only he can, pulled out an iron and sent the ball cleanly off the road onto the green and into magnificent position. Nicklaus is the greatest.
Dan Jenkins' fine story on the Open makes two points with which I must take exception:
1) that the putt on 12 was the key stroke in Nicklaus' victory. No mention is made of the spectacular short-iron approach hit off the road on 13—or the great recovery from the rough on 14 after a poorly placed drive. These shots, in that gale, had to demand far more skill than an eight-foot putt.
2) that in the future the committee should erect bleachers for the spectators. No way! We'll walk, crane and stretch. Leave Pebble Beach as it is—the most beautiful natural setting for the game on this continent. No one who attended the tournament could complain truly about the way he or she was treated. The organization was excellent. And anyone who really wanted to see the action could. This fine course, in championship form, should be kept a natural wonder and not junked up for the sake of comfort. Watching Pebble Beach win was a great experience.
THOMAS K. McSHANE
La Jolla, Calif.
It seems a shame that Dan Jenkins cannot resist the urge to degrade those who have the audacity to compete against Nicklaus, Palmer or Trevino, or who otherwise offend him in speech, dress or manner. His unnecessary attacks have, time and again, ruined for me articles by Jenkins that I enjoyed in other respects. If Jenkins feels he is pleasing the golf follower by reflecting the "nothing sacred" attitude that seems to be gaining popularity, more's the pity.
J. K. CAGNEY
West Hartford, Conn.
I congratulate Dan Jenkins for his fine job of writing. His superb article is as much an achievement as was Jack Nicklaus' victory. I pay tribute to both of them.
ALBERT V. GIACOMETTI
Old Forge, Pa.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ron Fimrite's article (Two Catchers Cut From Royal Cloth, June 26) dealing with Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds and Manny Sanguillen of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Everywhere I go, I hear about Johnny Bench. But as a Pirate fan located in Reds country, I have felt that Sanguillen has been slighted in the publicity department in the past. I am proud to see that SI has compared Sanguillen favorably with Bench. Both are truly excellent catchers, and if they stay healthy in the years to come, each should find his way into the Hall of Fame.
LARRY J. BRADFIELD
Congratulations to Ron Fimrite. His article is a salute to the leaders of major league baseball. Maybe more people will now realize the responsibility a catcher has while in a ball game. Because I am a Cincinnati fan, I think of Bench as the best. But tribute must also be paid to those other catchers who are the sparkplugs of their teams.