In Norse legend, Valhalla meant heaven for those who fell in battle. For this weekend's PGA Championship, the Valhalla Golf Club will mean a place for good scores.
That's the take of Jim Nantz and Gary McCord, two of CBS' platoon of golf experts who will call the action from the Jack Nicklaus-designed course in Louisville, where the combination of dry, warm conditions and favorable surfaces should yield birdies, eagles and better. There were two holes-in-one on the first day alone.
"The greens are bizarre, and the course has all kinds of swoops and sways. It's a typical Jack Nicklaus golf course. It will take 12- to 15-under to win this tournament," said McCord.
The Valhalla course is a relatively new one, and is under as much pressure as the golfers are, as the PGA of America is pondering the use of a number of courses through which to rotate its championship. If the players respond to the venue, it could become a regular stop.
High scores would be nice, but what the CBS golf team could use most is a close finish. In its last five tournament telecasts, the outcome has been decided by a total of 32 strokes, which can make drama on Sunday a lost commodity.
"We're anxious to have a back nine on Sunday where there's compelling action. The one thing you really want is something you can't control. That's close action, and anyone in any sport would say that across the board. But you deal with it. It's part of the business for all of us," said Nantz.
After six hours of TBS coverage today, starting at 12: 05 p.m., CBS (Channel 13) takes over for the weekend, with a highlights show at 12: 37 a.m. and 18-hole coverage both tomorrow and Sunday starting at 1: 30 p.m.
'Arli$$' of the deal
Actor Robert Wuhl doesn't see Arliss Michaels, the super agent he plays in the wickedly funny "Arli$$," a send-up of the world of sports negotiation that premieres tomorrow at 10 p.m. on HBO, as sleazy, but rather as "ethically challenged."
And while such actual practitioners of the craft as Ron Shapiro, Leigh Steinberg and David Falk might cringe at the image of agents the show leaves, Wuhl -- familiar to moviegoers as the hyperactive pitching coach in "Bull Durham," and the reporter in the first "Batman" movie -- says the show is just about on target.
"We're pretty darned close, closer than anyone's ever been to what goes on," said Wuhl.
Tomorrow night's debut features a number of sports heavy-hitters in cameo roles, including Bob Costas, Jim Palmer, Shaquille O'Neal and Jerry Jones. The show moves to Wednesdays, starting next week, and makes for good viewing during the summer doldrums.
Tighten your chin straps
Now that the Olympics are over, it's a full-scale assault of NFL football upon our personas this weekend, starting with the first national appearance of our Ravens as they meet the New York Giants tomorrow at 1 p.m. on NBC (Channel 11). Don Criqui will call the game, and you have to believe this is network-makeup for saddling him with synchronized swimming during said Olympics.
San Diego and San Francisco lock horns tomorrow night at 8 p.m. on Fox (Channel 45), while Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson gets the first of surely many nation-wide exposures during the Miami-Chicago game Sunday at 1 p.m. The weekend ends Monday with Johnson's former employer, Dallas, playing host to New England on ESPN at 8 p.m.
Other weekend wanderings
Cigar's quest to win his 17th consecutive race, and topple Citation's 46-year-old record, gets the full ride on ESPN tomorrow night at 6 p.m. from Del Mar (Calif.) Race Track. A 30-minute pre-race special airs tonight at 10 on ESPN.
Channel 11's "Bottom Line" talk show (11 a.m. tomorrow) tackles the topic of whether athletes' salaries have gotten out of hand, with a panel of media, athletes and agents.
Finally, on Monday, WWLG (1360 AM) hosts the latest entry in the ever-burgeoning radio talk show field. "The Baltimore Sports Wrap" will be launched at 11 p.m. with hosts Paul Mittermeier and Matt Bender, two of the station's behind-the-scene types who are getting a chance to shine. This show should not be confused with the excellent "SportsRap," which airs each Friday on WEAA (88.9 FM) at 7 p.m.
Pub Date: 8/09/96