WORTH A KING'S RANSOM
Quick: If Ali-Frazier and Ali-Foreman produced the richest purses in history, what matchup in what other sport is suddenly up there with them? Wrong, by the immortal soul of Jos� Capablanca! Fischer-Karpov is the name and chess the game. Bobby and Anatoly stand to split $5 million if they agree to play for the world chess championship in the Philippines this summer. The "ifs" involved are enormous—and most of them are spelled F-I-S-C-H-E-R—but that is what was bid in the Republic for the match last week. Does this mean chess is an inflationary pastime? Five million is 20 times the pot at Reykjavik three years ago and the $250,000 put up then was 10 times more than had ever been offered for the chess championship.
The recession may have come to the men's and women's pro golf tours. There will be two fewer men's tournaments this year than last, and the prize money will be down, for the second year in a row.
The women's prospects similarly are off, although by a smaller margin. With luck and some fast last-minute shuffling, they may even equal the almost $1.8 million combined purse of last year—a fact Jane Blalock, the LPGA's second-leading money-winner, finds significant. She foresees the day when tournaments will match male-female teams, basing her prediction mainly on the performance of Johnny Miller. "He won eight PGA tournaments in 1974," she says, "but he doesn't have the charisma of Palmer."
Maybe so, but the economic pinch is going to have to strangle the men before they share their prize money with the women. It is still $7,882,949.
A Baltimore "Occupant" recently received a letter with a packet inside and a warning: "If you throw this in your wastebasket unopened, a capsule of water will break, spilling into a dehydrated boa constrictor. He will then crawl out of the envelope and crush you to death."
Occupant forthwith opened packet. Out popped a brochure from a St. Louis novelty house. No scales, no sale.
FIE ON THE FIGGER FILBERTS
As if there were not statistics enough in sports, the World Hockey Association has added a new category to its weekly tabulations—pluses and minuses for goals scored for and against a team while a player is on the ice. The idea is to give a better picture of a player's overall worth. If a team scores 28 goals during the minutes a player is on the ice, regardless of who his teammates are, and it gives up only three, the player is plus 25.