Sally Little, from Capetown, South Africa, and Silvia Bertolaccini from Santa Fe, Argentina, have bought a town house in north Dallas. They do not use it often, but, says Silvia, "It is a place we can call home. Having a house makes you feel a little as though you belong in the United States." Both golfers came to the LPGA tour, Little at 19 and Bertolaccini at 25, because they had run out of competition at home. "I never practiced in Argentina," says Silvia. "It was enough just to show up to play. When I came here, it was different."
Sally is a tall blonde who dresses with great taste and who has provided welcome relief from pink and blue by reintroducing browns and tans to women's golf. More important, she knocked in a 75-foot bunker shot on the 72nd hole of the first Women's International at Moss Creek last year to win by a shot. "The first few years I didn't play well," she says. "I didn't know whether I wanted to be here. I wasn't at ease with myself. And I was very young mentally, too young to handle being alone for long periods of time." Now she thinks coming here was the best choice she could have made, and she plans to become a citizen in four years.
Silvia is starting her third year. The first was the most difficult as she struggled to learn the English language and American golf courses. "I knew I was going to another world," she says, "but my parents love golf and they want me to play. They said go ahead. You cannot lose the chance. They gave me confidence." Last year was better; she finished second at the Lady Tara in Atlanta, finished in the top 10 seven times and earned $31,344. She is a good driver and wind player, but she thinks her short game needs work. Everybody else says she is a very good player who could win soon.
Then there is Beverly Klass, whose father pushed her onto the tour for three tournaments at the age of 10, then sued the LPGA when it refused to accept her as a member, but who is back now, grown up, sort of, at 20, and shooting occasional 66s. And Debbie Massey, an excellent amateur who is beginning the usual period of adjustment, but who will surely be heard from by season's end. Ai-Yu Tu is the 22-year-old Taiwanese who led last January's qualifying school and who was on the leader boards for the first three days of the Dinah Shore.
All of which is to say Kathy Whitworth is going to be looking back over her shoulder from now on and so is everybody else, and that is about the best thing that can be said about the health of a sport.