Arthur Ashe says it is no great personal tragedy to him that "if I were to ask for a membership, even if I had the money and probably the social standing—which is very subjective—I couldn't join seven-eighths of the clubs where I play." The clubs, after all, "bend over backwards to be nice to me." And they don't stop him from winning on their courts.
Although Ashe seems to be taking an unmilitant view of racial attitudes in his sport, there has been some progress, thanks to pressure brought by him and others. Last April the USLTA—in an unpublicized move—voted, in effect, to take away the accreditation of tournaments that bar Negroes. A player's performance in such a tournament is not considered in the national rankings.
Still, it is shocking that there are tennis tournaments in this country in which Arthur Ashe cannot compete because of his color. And it is shocking that there are many prestigious clubs in the country to which the U.S. men's amateur tennis champion could not belong, if he were so inclined.
Perhaps most dismaying of all are those clubs around Washington (Chevy Chase Club, Columbia Country Club and Washington Golf and Country Club) that recently resigned from a tennis league because Mrs. Carl Rowan, wife of the former State Department official, U.S. ambassador and U.S. Information Agency head, was playing in it. She is a Negro.
These country-club follies, though insulting, are not really hard on Arthur Ashe or Mrs. Rowan—but they reflect a racism that wears upon the spirit of us all. And they prove that, as an old country (not country-club) philosopher once said, "You can get a red neck other ways than by plowing a field."
GOOD CARRY, THOUGH
There are bad lies, and there are bad lies, and then there is hitting into a helicopter.
One morning recently Frank Burany, traffic reporter of Milwaukee's WTMJ radio, was cruising in the station's Safetycopter—150 feet over the North-South Freeway, past the Lincoln Park Golf Course—with the copter doors open because of the heat, when he heard a thud.
He looked down and saw a golf ball on the floor. William E. Kaap, a high-handicap golfer who was playing the Lincoln course, had skied his shot off the 6th tee. Without even looking around for a handy green, Burany kicked the ball out of the helicopter. It came down a couple of miles from the golf course. Kaap elected not to play it.