Kathy Whitworth's timing was just a little off. If she'd found the groove a week earlier, the 26-year veteran of the pro tour might be the proud owner of her first-ever US Open crown, the most prestigious title in women's golf. As it is, she won the Rochester (N.Y.) International instead.
Not that Kathy's complaining, mind you. After all, the victory was not only her first in more than a year, but also the 85th of an illustrious career - more than any other player in history, male or female, has ever achieved. Heading into the tournament, she and Sam Snead had been tied with 84 pro golf wins apiece.
But now Whitworth has moved ahead of the retired Snead, who like Kathy, stuffed about every trophy in his golf bag except that for the US Open.
In a further irony, Whitworth's Rochester victory came in a sudden death playoff against Rosie Jones, a third-year pro who had finished second to Hollis Stacy at the US Open the previous week. Pull power in Oshkosh
Tug-of-war is a sport that would like to be taken more seriously, and in some quarters is. Enough dyed-in-the-wool tuggers exist, in fact, to hold a world championship. The event is expected to attract a sizable crowd September 27-30, when 1,300 athletes representing 26 nations converge on Oshkosh, Wis.
Six championships, sanctioned by the Tug-of-War International Federation, have been held on an irregular basis since 1975, with England owning a lion's share of the titles.
The last time the United States hosted a major international competition was in 1904 at the St. Louis Olympics, where Americans swept all three medals. Tug-of-war was dropped from the Games after 1920 when officials decided to reduce the number of sports.
Teams of eight tuggers each compete in various weight categories. The rules state the pulling area should be level and grass-covered. No footholds can be made before the start, and knotting or looping the rope is prohibited. A pull is won whenever a white rope marking, crosses beyond a center ground of four meters. Touching other bases
* When you talk about statistical leadership among National Basketball Association centers, you're talking Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
For much of last season, Abdul-Jabbar's quest to overtake Chamberlain's career scoring mark drew considerable attention. Kareem eventually surpassed the 31,419 points Wilt scored, and also quietly moved ahead of him in assists with 4,719, a record for a center.
That might not seem so noteworthy, particularly given Chamberlain's reputation as a scorer and rebounder. But Wilt was far better at dishing it off than many realized, and, in fact, was the NBA leader in assists as well as in field goals and rebounds in 1968.
* Of the four players slated for induction Saturday into the Pro Football Hall of Fame only one, Arnie Weinmeister, has parted company with the sport. Weinmeister, a rugged defensive tackle of the 1940s and early '50s, is now an international vice-president of the Teamsters. Offensive tackle Mike McCormack is president of the Seattle Seahawks, and defensive back Willie Brown (Raiders) and wide receiver Charley Taylor (Redskins) are assistant coaches for their former teams.
* The Baltimore Orioles, who set the American League record for pinch-hit home runs with 11 in 1982, had six at this season's All-Star break. Each was hit by a different player, Benny Ayala, Todd Cruz, Jim Dwyer, Joe Nolan, John Shelby, and Mike Young.