"I was playing too good to quit," says Ruiz, "so I hit myself in the gut and the pain went away. I kept on."
The pain came back, but between pars Ruiz slapped at himself some more. He shot 37 on the first nine and was not about to quit. A friend gave him a Coke and some Rolaids.
"I began to feel better," Ruiz recalls, "but soon the pain returned again. This time it was in my arm."
He putted for birdies on the last three holes, making one on the 18th green for 74. Then he all but fell down in a faint. He was rushed home and from there to a hospital, where he was given emergency treatment for the heart attack that had been striking him. He was hospitalized for almost three weeks and is now convalescing.
The incident taught him a lesson, Ruiz says.
"That pain in my arm," he explains, "was one reason I was hitting my long irons so straight. It made me shorten my swing."
Bob Kap, the garrulous football scout who occasionally lassoes a European soccer player and turns him over to the NFL as a placekicker (SCORECARD, Oct. 4, March 13), still holds to his controversial opinion that European soccer is on the decline and that its stars are he-ginning to look to American football. This means, he insists, that the invasion of the NFL by soccerstyle kickers is just beginning. "The kickers who have been winning raves in the NFL—like Stenerud, Yepremian and the Gogolaks—are nothing more than fourth-division players by European standards," he says. "The kicker at Cincinnati, Horst Muhlmann, is a little better, but in the near future you're going to see real topflight men. We have a couple already in Toni Fritsch of Dallas and Tony Linhart of New Orleans. The others are like a high school quarterback going to Europe and becoming a star in the newly introduced game of American football. Can you imagine what a star a pro quarterback would be if he was up against a high school quarterback?"
Of criticism that soccerstyle kickers cannot get the ball in the air fast enough, thus making their attempts easier to block, Kap says, "This might be true of fourth-class players but not the real major-leaguers." He points out that Fritsch last year kicked field goals of 51 and 56 yards in an exhibition game, and during the season made a 46-yarder. "And he was new to the country and the game. Linhart is just as good. He should make 99% of his attempts inside 45 yards."