FIVE MEANS FOUR
You may not believe it, but football has started already. In fact, the new American Football Association, which has six teams in Texas and Louisiana, began play in mid-June. The AFA's founders, Roger Gill and Harry Lander, hope it will serve as a developing ground for NFL players. It will end its regular season in mid-August, but meanwhile teams are experimenting with a new approach to field goals. Any field goal of 40 to 50 yards is worth four points, one of more than 50 yards is worth five points. If the attempt is missed, the ball goes back to the line of scrimmage. This makes for some weird tactics.
Just before halftime of a game at Shreveport, Houston had the ball on Louisiana's 36-yard line, fourth down and four yards to go. A Houston lineman rose from his stance, walked across the line of scrimmage and tapped an opponent on the shoulder. From the sideline Louisiana coaches screamed, "Don't accept it!" but the players failed to hear them and officials stepped off a five-yard penalty. Houston's Charles Stafford then kicked a 41-yard field goal worth four points. Houston ultimately won 29-28.
Last year the Los Angeles Dodgers just missed becoming the first ball club to draw three million paid fans in regular-season home games, with 2,955,087 in 79 dates. At present they are averaging nearly 41,000 paid, which projects to a total of 3.2 million.
Jerry West is in top form, not for basketball but for golf. A one-handicap player at Los Angeles' Bel-Air Country Club, he shot a record-breaking 28 recently—two below the previous mark—on the back nine and ended up with a 65 for the round. The course record of 62 is held by head pro Eddie Merrins, who shot 31-31. Sam Snead once had a 64 at Bel-Air.
There are many who say that if West had put in only half the hours playing golf that he did on basketball he would be among the best in the world. That is, if there were any golf courses around Cabin Creek, W. Va. "There were only coal mines," says West, who had played only one round of golf until after his second year with the Lakers.
An Australian syndicate has built a highly unusual catamaran that it hopes will be the fastest sailing vessel in history. The 55-foot cat, named Big Bandicoot after a Down Under marsupial, begins trials this week near Sydney, and next month will try to break two records, one set last year, the other more than a century ago. The former is the 33.4-knot world speed mark over a 500-meter course established by the catamaran Crossbow II, skippered by Tim Colman of the English mustard family; the old record is the 24-hour ocean passage of 465 miles reported by the clipper ship Champion of the Seas back in 1854.
The idea of accomplishing all this came to Geoff Baker of Sydney, the head of the Big Bandicoot syndicate, some 18 months ago when, impressed by the swiftness of multihulled yachts in a singlehanded transatlantic race, he realized that the westerly wind of the eastern Australian seaboard would be an ideal power source. The westerly is a strange wind. It blows only from June to September, the Aussie winter, usually in three-day bursts. The wind can reach speeds up to 30 knots, but 20 knots is ideal for Big Bandicoot.