In The Netherlands, Golfer Gerard de Wit is in a class by himself, has won the professional championship five times. Last month he had his first look at tournament golf, U.S. style. Back in The Hague last week, still a little dazed by it all, he told his countrymen about Chicago's "world championship" tournament (in which he finished last, with a four-round total of 313).
"Forty-five thousand people came out for the tournament, and that wouldn't be so bad if they stood still, but they keep running around. Sometimes they get in front of you just as you're about to hit the ball. You yell, 'Fore! Fore!' Then you think, 'The hell with it,' and you hit the ball . . . When you get around to the 1 3th or 1 4th hole you hear the loudspeakers blaring out the performances of the favorites. And when there are no performances to announce, music tinkles out. I couldn't concentrate . . ."
Golfer de Wit also noticed some other differences in the way the game is played at home and abroad. "The grass was higher, much thicker than it is in Holland. I found you have to hit the ball over there. Over here we stroke the ball and the ball rolls. Here we concentrate on teaching people how to swing. In America they concentrate on the hitting. I saw one guy go almost off his feet. If we see somebody do that here, we go, 'Tut, tut.' "
Concluded De Wit: "It's a lucky thing I didn't go to Chicago expecting to win. If American pros come here to Holland to play, I think they'll miss the noise. They'll be able to concentrate more, but they'll lose their fighting spirit."