The overlapping dates forced Cook, Clampett and Hallberg to choose between the two events, and all elected to compete in the NCAA tournament. The USGA says that the early departure date provides for a week of practice, acclimation and camaraderie in Scotland. "There are no players on this team more equal than others," USGA President Sandy Tatum says. "Each of them is entitled to the full experience of being a member of this team."
The USGA is being attacked for its unyielding stance by golf coaches, golf writers and golf scholarship holders. Yet this criticism overlooks the fact that dates for the Walker Cup were set two years ago, while the NCAA rescheduled its meet later on. Dennie Poppe, the NCAA golf administrator, says he simply assumed there was no conflict. He admits that it was "an act of omission" not to have checked with the USGA.
TELEVISION TUNNEL VISION
The National Hockey League has 17 teams and the World Hockey Association has six, and that's simply more hockey than the market will bear. If this were the best of all possible worlds, the NHL would probably get out of Colorado. Pittsburgh, Washington, Chicago and St. Louis, where the game hasn't been going over, and move into Edmonton and New England, two WHA locales where it has. The WHA would vanish, and a streamlined 14-team NHL could finally do something about the dilution of talent that a decade of expansion and seven years of interleague warfare have visited on the game.
But this isn't the best of all possible worlds, and when the NHL owners met in Key Largo, Fla. last week, Colorado, Pittsburgh, et al. were present and accounted for. What's more, no fewer than four WHA teams—Winnipeg and Quebec, as well as Edmonton and New England—were applying for NHL membership. The choice thus was between a continued alignment of two leagues with 23 teams and a projected alignment of one league with 21 teams. Although the NHL bosses voted 12-5 in favor of absorbing the four WHA teams, that fell one vote shy of the three-fourths majority required for approval.
Given the less than ideal options before them, the five teams that killed the deal—Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Boston and Los Angeles—may very well have made the right decision. But don't go expecting any of them to offer wise and exalted explanations for their action. Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, for instance, have a lucrative contract with Canadian television, and they were not about to divvy up the money with three more Canadian clubs.
MONSTER OF THE DEEP
This has been a winter that Virginia Annable, a schoolteacher in Brookhaven, N.Y. on Long Island's south shore, won't soon forget. During a recent cold snap, thieves took Annable's 1966 Volkswagen for a joyride on frozen Great South Bay, which separates Long Island from its barrier beaches. They then set the car afire and left it on the ice a mile offshore. The next morning the Suffolk County Marine Police asked Annable to remove the charred vehicle.
Annable mustered some friends to do so, but because by this time rain had weakened the ice and made visibility poor, she elected to wait. The rain continued and the ice began to break up. The car drifted away on a large floe and finally sank in a recreational boating channel.
The Army Corps of Engineers now calls the submerged car a navigational hazard and wants Annable to remove it at her own expense. The Corps says that if any boat is damaged by the car, which lurks in five feet of water like some monster of the deep, she would be responsible. Whether this is true is for a court to determine, but Annable, meanwhile, is living with the uncertainty. The thieves haven't been caught, and she points out that the car, which wasn't insured for theft, was worth barely $200 even before it was burned and sank. "I'm the innocent victim of a crime," she says forlornly. "I didn't put the car in the bay, so why should I have to take it out?"