A colleague of ours was recently invited to play golf at Long Island's Piping Rock Club with James Van Alen, the 76-year-old innovator who gave tennis the tiebreaker and who is currently campaigning to have the game's scoring system changed to "no-ad"—first player to win four points wins the game. With all this in mind, our man was not entirely surprised when he was told by Van Alen that he could use only one club, plus putter, for his round. Van Alen's rules are simple enough: the player hits two balls off the tee with his club—in our colleague's case, a six-iron. He selects the better shot and hits two more until he has reached the green. From there in he putts only one ball.
Although purists may shudder, our man, who has played a lot of golf in his time, came away remarkably refreshed. The 18 holes had taken less than two hours and, with only two clubs to carry, he had needed neither caddy nor cart. His mood was cheery, the Van Alen format having eliminated the worst shots, and he had hit some of the best irons of his life, probably, he theorizes, because he was never tempted to overswing as he might have with a driver.
Van Alen's game is not golf, but our colleague didn't mind. He says that when he uses 14 clubs and one ball it isn't necessarily golf either.
Apprentice jockey Kathy Antus, 21, broke her maiden, as they say, in the first race at Commodore Downs in Erie, Pa. a couple of weeks ago. The winner, Marget Lea, who paid $4.60, is owned and trained by Kathy's father, J.L. Hammer, a furniture-store owner from North East, Pa., who says that his "boy" "is a very good rider."
The family celebration had hardly begun, however, when Larry Antus, 23, the third-leading rider at Commodore and Kathy's husband of three years, rode Money Cash ($7.80) to victory in the second race.
As far as anyone knows, it was the first time a husband and wife had ever ridden a daily double. The happy coupling paid $22.20.
STATE OF MIND
It has been said that there are three seasons in Texas—football, spring football and recruiting. A survey published by Pro, the NFL's magazine, supports the notion. More NFL players (179) were born in Texas than anywhere else. California is second with 151 and Ohio third with 95. But here's a fact to conjure with: twice as many NFL players were born in Poland as in Nevada. Green Bay's Chester Marcol and New Orleans' Rich Szaro, both placekickers, are from Poland. Oakland's David Humm is from Las Vegas.
"If you can remember where the Kansas City Chiefs originated, or San Diego's Chargers, or recall the AFL New York original nickname—or Oakland's—then you will survive in the G.F.L." So says, in slightly confusing prose, the weekly Gnus of the Gnational Football League, which arrives in a plain brown envelope with a Santa Rosa, Calif. postmark.