Deane Beman, who succeeded Joe Dey as commissioner of the Tournament Players Division of the Professional Golf Association, still had not made up his mind last week about the behavior of Tom Weiskopf several days earlier in the World Open. It would be another week or 10 days before he did, he said. "We don't want to make a decision until we have all the facts. We're still investigating."
The facts seem clear enough. Weiskopf, who has not been playing well, merely swatted at his putts on three late holes in the third round of the World Open, double-bogeyed the last two and refused to sign his card. This occurred shortly after it was revealed that Beman had fined both Weiskopf and Johnny Miller $1,000 apiece for playing desultory golf in earlier tournaments, each hitting a couple of backhand putts on 16th holes during second rounds and walking off the courses and out of the tournaments. For his action, Beman received high marks among those who had feared he would not prove strong in dealing with recalcitrant pros.
"He's got to be suspended," said Jack Nicklaus of his friend Weiskopf. Pointing out that Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player always finish whatever they start, no matter how badly things have been going, Lionel Hebert said, "I've turned in some pretty bad scores. I don't think there's anything more bush-league than picking up." Asked Gibby Gilbert, "This is the same Tom Weiskopf who grew up last year?"
Whether it is or not, it should be the same Deane Beman who grew tough a few weeks ago. Pros, like all of us, are entitled to their little tempers. But the people who pay good money to watch them are entitled to something, too, such as the pros' best, skilled efforts. Even when they are at their worst, they make shots the majority of us would give a week's salary to duplicate. The time has come to nip an unseemly practice before it becomes epidemic.
By coming in one-two in last week's Little Brown Jug (page 70), Armbro Omaha and Boyden Hanover offered further evidence that the keystone to winning harness races is to have a Pennsylvania father. Both were sired by Pennsylvania studs, as were eight others among the 17 starters in the pacing classic. Last year the sport's top three sires, measured by the earnings of their get, were Pennsylvanians: Bye Bye Byrd of Hempt Farms, Mechanicsburg ($2,030,128); Star's Pride ($1,919,873) and Tar Heel ($1,879,557) of Hanover Shoe Farms, Hanover. Bye Bye Byrd was only the third stallion in history whose sons and daughters earned more than $2 million in one year. The first two: Star's Pride and Tar Heel, in 1972.
WISH YOU WERE HERE?
Even as you read this there may be a lost band of U.S. sportswriters, columnists and photographers wandering through Germany's lush Moselle Valley, drinking the wine and looking dazed. They started out for Za�re and the Great Telstar Title Fight and ended up in a shopping-mall hotel outside the tiny town of Trier. It seems safe to say that their bosses—and especially their expense-account auditors—will never buy the story.
The odyssey started as a special charter tour of working newsmen: for $784 per person they would be flown from New York to Kinshasa and delivered to ringside. Then the price escalated to $1,263 a head, and the promised charter turned out to be an affinity-group booking on Icelandic Airlines to Luxembourg. President Mobutu's personal Air Za�re plane would pick up the 120 or so journalists there and wing them on to Africa. Not immediately. For the night they all were tour-bussed across the German border to a hotel in Trier. It was there that they first heard about the cut that cost a fortune.
In the pandemonium that followed, everybody tried to call his office from the hotel's one lobby phone. Answering editors said, "I thought for one fleeting moment you said you were in Germany. You mean Africa, dummy. Where's my story?"
It got worse. Rumor piled upon rumor. Would there be a fight? Would it be postponed? If so, how long? The Air Za�re official shrugged. If the sportswriters would only get on the plane, he said, they would find out everything in Africa.