The annual speculation over who will become the first black golfer to play in the Masters completely misses the point, Harold Dunovant claims. The real question, he says, is whether there will be any qualified black golfers at all several years from now.
Dunovant is head pro at New York City's Kissena Park Golf Course and one of the few blacks in the country to hold such a job. He points out that the eight black regulars on the PGA tour are all graduates of the old "black tour," which is faltering for lack of sponsorship. Last fall only one black, Nate Starks, made it to the PGA tour qualifying school, and he was fortunate to win his playing card.
"I'll bet there are at least 20 more black golfers with the potential to make the cut every week on the PGA tour," Dunovant says, "but first they need tournament experience to get there. And where will they get that? Not with athletic scholarships on the white college circuit. Certainly not as amateurs on the white private country-club circuit."
Dunovant is trying to keep the black tour alive by enlisting the aid of equipment and apparel manufacturers, but so far without much luck. "If something can't be put together soon," he says, "in six or seven years there won't be a single black player on the pro tour, let alone playing in the Masters."
Every ailurophobe knows that the first person the family cat zeroes in on is him. No sooner has the victim settled in for an evening of good talk and a spot of the host's best booze when puss saunters over and starts picking his finest suit apart or lands with a startling thunk on his shoulder from the top of the grandfather clock. Shooing is useless. Kicking is satisfying, but it generally means the guest will never be invited again. Taking compassion on her friends, a cat-loving New York hostess searched for and found what she regards as the perfect solution. She equips guests with a fully loaded water pistol, and a delighted marksman reports that a shot straight between the clear blue eyes of a Siamese works wonders. Ailurophiles, wild horses wouldn't drag the name of either of these scoundrels out of us.
WHERE THERE'S A WILL
As the bidding intensifies for the ball Henry Aaron hits for his 715th home run—at week's end $15,000 from Baltimore businessman Julio Gonzalez appeared to be tops, exceeding the $11,111 offer from two Greene County Georgians—a gentleman who insists his name is Lance Boyle cut the absurd grandstanding down to size. Calling in to Myron Cope's radio talk show in Pittsburgh last week, Boyle posed this situation: you are playing the outfield and Aaron slaps a soft single your way. You trap the ball, but fall down heavily and are inordinately slow getting up. When you do, holding the shoulder of your throwing arm, you are obviously in pain and disoriented. Somehow, as you stumble here and hesitate there, Aaron crosses the plate with an inside-the-park homer, and you never do get rid of the ball. Not if you're smart, you don't.
MUDDLE THROUGH, MATES
Add to the endangered-species list the Henley Regatta. For 134 years oarsmen have made the pilgrimage to the picturesque course on the River Thames and just last year set a record with 242 crews, 30 of them American shells. There is a financial crisis, however, and unless the governing stewards solicit a large bundle of cash the regatta is in trouble, according to Secretary Antony Hannen.
One scheme to save the four-day meeting involves building luxury homes not far from the river, but that is sure to meet stiff resistance from local people, who take pride in the quaint town and lush lawns that form a backdrop for one of England's most prestigious sporting-cum-social events of the year.