You call this football? Bollocks!

Desmond Hackett of the London Daily Express was one of just six total international correspondents sent to Pinehurst to cover the 1951 Ryder Cup. For the first time in the event’s history, the competition halted play between the fourball and singles matches. Why? Because eventual national champion Tennessee was scheduled to play nearby North Carolina in a college football game on Saturday, Nov. 3, in Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill.

And so, the PGA arranged for the golfers, VIPs and media to travel 70 miles north to take in the game. College football in the south. It was sure to be a spectacle for all.

Only Mr. Hackett wasn’t impressed.

And he wrote about it. At least he liked the stadium’s surroundings…

Here is Hackett’s piece, which first appeared in the Nov. 16, 1951 issue of Golf World.

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Desmond Hackett thought the pads and helmets in 1950s football unnecessary.

THEY TRIED TO TELL ME THAT THIS WAS A TOUGH-GUY GAME, a piece of legalized mayhem that made bullfighting look sissy. No sir. Any professional rugby club in England could eliminate the heavily armored characters who amble in and out of this game.

The England men do not need the insurance policy of crash helmets and more padding than a horse hair couch. They wear extremely brief shorts and cotton shirts and in this rig I feel sure they could beat the long pants off these American huskies. That is merely my opinion and an opinion which I freely express because I shall be able to duck out of town.

Back in England the men of rugby football play forty minutes each way with one 10-minute interval. They would gulp at the idea of bringing in substitutes or that amazing all-change system when a team breaks off the defense shore and moves to attack.

Cheer

Hackett at least liked the UNC cheerleaders. “We love your beautiful North Carolina girls who so sweetly led the organized cheering. We feel sure they mean well.” (Photo by Hugh Morton)

We love your beautiful North Carolina girls who so sweetly led the organized cheering. We feel sure they mean well but most of their best efforts appeared to inspire brisker action from the opposition members.

The England crowd does not need any of this artificial stimulant, they up and roar their heads off when they feel so inclined. And this goes for the carriage trade in the grandstands. A polite hand clap was the nearest thing to a burst of enthusiasm that the upper set could arouse.

Back in England the men of rugby football play forty minutes each way with one 10-minute interval. They would gulp at the idea of bringing in substitutes or that amazing all-change system when a team breaks off the defense shore and moves to attack.

There seemed to be considerable respect for the extensive panel of referees and the supporting cast of the chain gang who appeared to be taking a constant ground survey in the middle of the affair. The English crowd stand up for their right to question of the verdict of the referee. They are not slow to state their willingness to buy him glasses on account of his short sightedness, or to suggestion that he could not move around so well because of the money tucked into boots by the rival managers.

But this American way of football is gay and colorful and I suppose a great game if you can guess what is going on. It is way ahead of England in its setting. This dignified arena in the glade of the deep green pines is among the finest sporting prints I have ever seen. So thanks for a wonderful memory.

Golf World, November 16, 1951

Reservations

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