Golf's Dating Game - Some of the interviews before The Masters Par-3 Contest on Wednesday were rather interesting.
One was with Rory McIlroy and his girlfriend, Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
She was caddying for McIlroy, so the former No. 1 women's player in the world must have needed additional funds.
A few minutes later, there was an interview with Graeme McDowell and his fiance, Kristin Stape, an interior designer he met when he hired her company to decorate his home in Orlando, Fla.
All we needed was Jim Lange instead of Tom Rinaldi to conduct the interviews.
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Tight Quarters - Watching the Par-3 Contest made me nervous. When they showed The Big Three, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, teeing off, the gallery was huge. You could tell the shape of each hole because it was lined with spectators for the entire length and around the back of the green. It looked like they were teeing off into a tunnel of people.
If a shot was offline, it wouldn't have mattered because it would have bounced back into play off a spectator (Oops, I mean patron!).
Perhaps a better description would be teeing off in a hockey rink about 100 yards long and 20 yards wide with boards about 6 feet tall.
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Don't Peak - The Masters finally began on Thursday and we had to wait until 3 p.m. to see the first live action on television, even though the first golfers teed off at 8 a.m.
In contrast, this year's television coverage of the U.S. Open, switching back and forth between ESPN and NBC, begins at noon and ends at 7 p.m. for the first two rounds and then it is 1 to 7 p.m. for the final two. The PGA Championship will have coverage on TNT from 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and on Saturday and Sunday it is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on TNT and then 2 to 7 p.m. on CBS.
The Masters doesn't receive the same coverage because its officials believe the actual gallery (oops, again I mean patrons) should have exclusive access to the event.
Hey, it isn't like showing The Masters on television is going to cut down ticket sales. You can't just walk up to the gate and buy a ticket for The Masters.
You could buy a ticket online earlier this week for $10,000, but later they had dropped to ''only'' $3,000 or $4,000.
Golf Channel starts its Masters ''coverage'' early in the morning with reports of what is going on, but no camera coverage. It's like following The Masters on the radio.
Occasionally they'll show a camera shot of the course, but without any golfers in the shots, unless they are walking in the fairway in the background. ESPN finally gets that privilege at 3 p.m.
You can see the golfers in action on CBS Sports Network before 3 p.m., but only at the practice facility.
You feel like a child from years ago bending over to look through a hole in the outfield fence at a baseball game trying to catch a glimpse of the action.
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More AFL Tidbits - I have read about every book published on the history of the American Football League, so when I found another I didn't think I would read much that was new. However, The Little League That Could by Ken Rappoport (Rowan & Littlefield, $22.95) has plenty of new interesting tidbits I hadn't heard about the AFL.
For instance, Billy Shaw said he loved playing for the Buffalo Bills because of the fans. He mentioned that parking was limited around War Memorial Stadium, so Shaw used to park in the front yard of a house across the street during home games. He never knew who lived there, but he found out many years later.
When he retired, Shaw moved to Tocano, Ga., with a population of about 10,000 people. A family moved into the house next to Shaw and he went over to introduce himself. Shaw didn't know the people who had moved in, but they knew him because they had owned the house across the street from War Memorial Stadium where he parked his car.
A key to the eventual merger of the AFL and NFL was having three NFL teams move to the new American Football Conference so the conferences would be even with 13 teams each. However, it was a struggle to get some hard-line NFL owners to move their teams over. The AFL owner most adamant about it was Paul Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals and he deserves most of the credit for it happening when the Browns, Steelers and Colts moved to the AFC.
Brown had experience with the situation because he was with the Browns when they, along with the 49ers and Colts, joined the NFL from the All-America Football Conference in 1950.
What led to the merger of the leagues was that they had to stop the excessive bidding wars for players coming out of college. There are numerous stories about teams from each league ''babysitting'' draft picks, which involved hiding the players somewhere so the other league couldn't find them before they signed a contract.
Rappoport has a good story about a tackle from Memphis State that the Oakland Raiders wanted to sign, but so did the NFL. The Raiders had to hide him until he could officially sign a contract, so when they asked the player where he wanted to go, he said Hawaii. The owner of the Chargers was Barron Hilton who owned the Hilton Hotels chain with hotels all over, so that request was not a problem for the Raiders or any other AFL teams.
Another AFL draft pick from Nebraska was hidden in a hotel where he wanted his parents to visit. They ended up in the presidential suite with the hotel manager serving them.
When those types of stories began to spread, the AFL had the edge in signing draft picks.
The AFL lasted 10 years and one player who was in the league for all 10 was Ron Mix, an offensive tackle for the Los Angeles and then San Diego Chargers. He was an all-star in nine of the seasons and went on to play one more year after the merger.
What stands out in his 11-year career is that Mix was called for holding only two times and he claims both were ''bad calls.''
There is plenty of more excellent reading if you are an old AFL fan.