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Establishing the birthplace of a duck is, of course, a fairly tricky matter, and the subject has led to some ingenious suggestions in North Dakota. One more or less exacting routine suggested by a letter writer in the daily Fargo Forum: "Examine their gizzards to determine what kind of grain they were feeding on. If it is found to be Manitoba grain, just throw it away." The U.S. Fish and Wild Life Service is not amused. The Service scoffs at Senator Brooks' "native duck" theory and points out that U.S. treaties with Canada and Mexico assume that every duck is migratory.
Senator Brooks has publicly invited both the press and federal officials to join him in a duck hunt beginning at noon on September 27. "If he shoots a duck," promised a Fish and Wild Life executive, "we'll arrest him, naturally." But an arrest might not end the matter—there could be as much quacking in the federal courts this autumn as over the central flyway itself.
THE SIEGE GUN
Like everyone who can remember that he won the National Amateur in 1921, big, white-haired Jesse Guilford of Newton, Mass. has changed somewhat during the years, but he has changed far less than the game of golf. He is a man of unvarnished opinion and a belief in direct statement and does not hesitate to say that the game is now in a state of decadence, induced chiefly by 1) swimming pools at golf courses, 2) women players and 3) mixed drinks. Nevertheless he entered the 1957 Amateur (all former winners are eligible), which was held last week at The Country Club in nearby Brookline. "I'll never," he said, "get a chance to play that course any cheaper."
Guilford, once known as the Siege Gun for his tremendous drives off the tee, is now 62 years old, but he is in a wonderful state of preservation, and he brought the big tournament some very decent golf as well as the flavor of the unpretentious past and the benefit of some well-marinated philosophical comment. He appeared for his first match, amid a welter of Dacron jerseys, silk shirts, gaily colored slacks and two-tone shoes, wearing just about what he had worn 36 years ago—long trousers, open-necked shirt, a light sweater and brown spiked shoes.
If the old champ's clothes drew attention, however, his ancient putter held it. The club was a wondrous artifact—hickory shafted and rusted to a mellow brown by the rains of decades. "I don't know how old it is," he said. "I won the New Hampshire state amateur championship with it in 1910 and it wasn't new then. I figure the shaft is the original, and I suppose it is more than 50 years old. But what's so strange about that? Who breaks putter shafts? And if you can putt at all you can putt with a pipe."
Guilford, who drew 25-year-old Don Albert of Peoria, Ill. as his opponent, continued to emit irascible comment as the day wore on. At one point, when he pushed his second shot beyond the ropes rigged to hold the gallery back, a solicitous marshal approached and asked, "Mr. Guilford, shall I have the ropes and stakes removed?" Guilford said impatiently, "Don't bother. I'll just bang it over." He did, too, and walked off muttering, "Why make a federal case of the game?"
A little later he spoke sharply of the time consumed in modern golf. "Miss 'em quick, is my motto," he said. "I don't know why it takes four hours to go around the course. These guys squint at the line, pace alongside the line glaring at it; they pick up a pebble, separate blades of grass, stand over the ball, hunch their shoulders, purify their minds, disseminate the flabaris, and take a deep breath before they finally putt." Before the game was over he also felt constrained to make a short speech to his opponent. "That young fellow I was playing began to fold on the second nine," he explained afterward, "and I was afraid I was going to beat him. I certainly couldn't have played two matches tomorrow so I had to give him a pep talk. I said, 'Look kid. You're 25 and I'm almost 90. You better start hitting that ball right from here in or I may have to keep playing and my legs are tired.' After that he settled down and beat me."
Was he going to enter the Amateur again next year?
"No," he said with a chuckle. "I just entered this year because it was held in my backyard. And I'm now convinced that somebody should shoot all amateur contenders over 50 years of age."