A tennis event from 40 years ago has returned to the public’s consciousness.
According to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” Bobby Riggs might have tanked his 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” exhibition match with Billie Jean King because Riggs reportedly was in financial trouble with the mob.
Hal Shaw, a former assistant golf pro, said it’s true, that he witnessed a meeting of several mobsters who met with Riggs in Florida to help Riggs deal with his gambling debts. By throwing the $100,000 winner-take-all match with King, Riggs could pay off his debt.
“There are certain things in my life that I have to talk about, have to get off my chest,” Shaw said of the meeting, which, according to ESPN, took place in the first week of 1973. “It’s been 40 years, OK, and I’ve carried this with me for 40 years. … The fear is gone. … And I wanted to make sure, if possible, I could set the record straight — let the world know that this was not what it seemed to be.”
Riggs died in 1995. King, now 69, said it’s not true.
“This story is just ridiculous,” King said Monday at the U.S. Open. “I won the match, and I am 100 percent sure Bobby wanted to win as badly as I did.
“People need to accept he had a bad day at the office — just as Margaret Court did when she played Bobby.”
Riggs beat Court in May 1973, setting up the match with King in September in the Houston Astrodome. But Shaw stands by his claim that Riggs threw the match.
“I know deep in my heart — Riggsy had taken a fall but made it look good,” said Shaw, now 79. “He was a showman, and he pulled it off.”
■ BREAKING GROUND — If you’re playing the horse races at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn., on Sept. 7, be prepared for history.
Angela Hermann will be the first female announcer to call an entire race card at a North American track. Hermann, 27, is the track’s paddock analyst but will fill in for regular announcer Paul Allen, who will be in Detroit with the Minnesota Vikings. He is their radio play-by-play man.
“This was something I was always interested in doing but never thought it would actually happen,” Hermann told the Daily Racing Form. “Paul and I talked it over, and we thought this would be a great opportunity to do something a little different.”
If the San Francisco Giants can have a woman public address announcer, why can’t a racetrack have a woman call the races?
■ RUSH CRASHES CALL — Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh loves football. Somehow, he worked his way into the Pacific-12’s football coaches conference call Tuesday when Oregon State coach Mike Riley was speaking.
Just as Riley was answering a question, Limbaugh’s show made its way onto the call, with Limbaugh claiming “But since you are a liberal!” in a discussion about education before Riley could talk.
Apparently, the conference call operator mistakenly patched Limbaugh’s show into the call, and everyone had a good laugh. Next week, look for Ed Schultz to join the call when Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez is addressing the media.
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL