No Wimbledon for Borg; a look at what's new in golf; 49er schedule
Bjorn Borg never realized taking a vacation could cause such controversy.
As the result of his tennis sabbatical and refusal to alter his light playing schedule, one of the sport's greatest players will be afforded all the special privileges of a nobody at major tournaments. Instead of being an automatic entrant, Borg must survive several qualifying rounds to reach the main draw.
The upshot of this bizarre situation is that the five-time champion will not play Wimbledon in June. He considers his decision a matter of principle.
He believes the Men's International Professional Tennis Council and Wimbledon should make an exception in their rules for him.
Here's the situation. A player must participate in 10 Grand Prix events a year or lose his automatic exemption from qualifying at major tournaments. Borg , who sat out the last two months of 1981 and the first three this year, committed himself to only seven 1982 events. With the approval of the council, Wimbledon officials did present Borg with a compromise solution, whereby he could play his three extra tournaments by March 1983, but he didn't bite.
The rule, of course, is there for a reason -- to protect the overall integrity and strength of the tour. But in this case, it seems to be doing a disservice to the game and an excellent past champion. Maybe tennis should copy golf and award any player who's won a tournament a long-term exemption in that event. Some points to contemplate
Try these questions on for size:
. . .can anyone remember a championship game between teams with more cryptic nicknames than Hoyas and Tar Heels, the respective tags for college basketball finalists Georgetown and North Carolina? (Hoya derives from hoia saxa, a combination Greek/Latin expression meaning ''what rocks!'' once used to describe an old Georgetown team called the Stonewalls. Two stories are used to explain the origin of Tar Heels. One claims a British Revolutionary War general described those dwelling in the state as ''barefooted natives with tar on their heels.'' The other version cites a remark General Robert E. Lee made watching a Civil War battle. ''Look at those North Carolina boys. They are holding their ground like they had tar on their heels,'' he supposedly said.)
. . .is there really a disproportionate number of high-ranked, left-handed tennis players, or does it just seem that way? (Among the men, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Roscoe Tanner, and Guillermo Vilas come to mind. Martina Navratilova heads the list of women southpaws, with Sylvia Hanika and Barbara Potter also among the top 10.)
. . .does any TV basketball commentator have a more colorful vocabulary than former Marquette coach, Al McGuire? (Glass backboards are ''windows,'' the lane area ''the paint,'' ball-handling guards ''caddies,'' tall and assertive frontcourt players, ''space-eaters,'' ''towers,'' and ''Clydesdales.'') Touching other bases
* College basketball might be low on returning All-Americans next season if juniors James Worthy of North Carolina, Ralph Sampson of Virginia, and Terry Cummings of DePaul all turn pro, a distinct possibility.
* Brightly colored balls and metal woods are among the newcomers on this year's pro golf tour. Several regulars, including Jerry Pate and Bruce Lietzke, are now using orange and lime balls. While no brighter than traditional white, they supposedly are more visible against a green backdrop, a point some TV viewers might question. Pros, of course, receive endorsement money for playing a certain brand and and seldom have to hunt for errant shots. Recreational players are the ones who really stand to benefit from high-visibility balls.
Like colored balls, metal heads replacing wooden ones on drivers and other long clubs are probably here to stay. They help a pro like Jim Simons, a noted short hitter, get extra distance off the tee. Others claim to hit longer and straighter with the precision-balanced, metal heads. What really makes their niche in golf's future look secure, though, is the dwindling supply of persimmon wood traditionally used in drivers.
* The ''reward'' for excellence in the National Football League is generally a tougher schedule. But that doesn't appear to be the case for the reigning Super Bowl champions. The San Francisco 49ers have three games scheduled against playoff teams in 1982 as compared to twice that many last season. The main difference is that Atlanta and Los Angeles, division rivals the 49ers play home and away each year, fell from power in 1981, whereas both made the playoffs in 1980.