ABC Sports' first U.S. Open telecast, from the Olympic Club in San Francisco in 1966, was a memorable one -- Arnold Palmer blew a seven-shot lead over the final nine holes, finished in a tie with Billy Casper and lost to Casper in an 18-hole playoff the next day. ABC golf analyst Dave Marr remembers it from an unusual perspective -- he was playing with Jack Nicklaus immediately ahead of Palmer and Casper.

"You knew something was going on by the galleries," said Marr, 53, who finished tied for fourth. "We {he and Nicklaus} really didn't talk about it, but every once in a while one of us would say, 'God, look at what's happening back there.' Then, when we finished, instead of leaving like we usually do, we turned around, went back down the hill and watched them finish."

Over much of the back nine that day, Palmer was aggressive and Casper was cautious. But Marr said Palmer's collapse "was a one-time thing" and did not result because of his style of play. In fact, if another aggressive golfer, such as Greg Norman or Seve Ballesteros, would build a seven-stroke lead going into the final nine holes this Sunday, Marr would not hesitate to declare him the winner.

"I would think he'd have it won, just as Arnold had thought he had won and just as everyone else had thought Arnold had won," Marr said with a laugh. "Heck, if someone's seven up with nine holes to go, I'll be talking about who might finish second. And if history repeats itself, I'll have my foot squarely in my mouth."

Nicklaus, who finished third in 1966, will join Marr occasionally this weekend as part of his part-time commentator's role with ABC. Only Jim McKay returns from the broadcast team at the '66 Open. And 21 years later, the telecast changes, indeed, are startling: nine announcers rather than four, 28 cameras instead of 17, coverage of all 18 holes Saturday and Sunday rather than just holes 14 through 18 and a total of 9 3/4 hours of coverage instead of 3 1/2. If someone collapses at any point of the final day this year, there will be nowhere to hide.

We have seen the future, and it's darn expensive.

Media General Cable in Fairfax County offered Monday night's alleged Michael Spinks-Gerry Cooney fight on a pay-per-view basis, the first time it has offered a major boxing event. The cost: $24.95 if you ordered it by last Saturday, $29.95 after that. More than 3,400 homes ordered the alleged fight, with about 60 percent of them paying the higher price.

Meanwhile, Capital Centre, which sold out for its closed-circuit showing of Leonard-Hagler April 6, drew about 1,900 paying customers for the alleged fight (the first 1,000 customers paid $20, the rest paid $25).

So Media General easily outdistanced Capital Centre at a slightly higher price. Conclusion: Those who really wanted to see an alleged fight were willing to pay a little extra not to be seen watching it.

Once again, the National Football League has realized the value of its prime-time exposure, and ABC and ESPN will benefit from very strong schedules this fall in the first year of the NFL's new three-year TV contract.

ABC, in its 18th season of "Monday Night Football," will get three appearances each from the last two Super Bowl champions, the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants, and from the AFC champion Denver Broncos. Fifteen of ABC's 16 telecasts will involve at least one playoff team, and only one team with a losing record in 1986 is scheduled -- the Dallas Cowboys (three times). There will be seven intradivisional matchups.

ESPN, which becomes the first cable network to do NFL games, with eight Sunday night telecasts slated for the second half of the season, also has an attractive schedule. All six divisional winners appear at least once. There are four good intradivisional matchups -- the Los Angeles Raiders at San Diego, Chicago at Minnesota, Denver at Seattle and a season-ending Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco.

NBC Sports President Arthur Watson said, "The ESPN schedule was stronger than I thought, but I recognize that the NFL probably wanted to lean a little bit toward ESPN since it was their first season."

And now, live from California's Silicon Valley, it's two screens in one!!! The decadent American dream has taken another step to fruition with the introduction of a device that allows any television set to receive two broadcast or cable channels at the same time.

MultiVision Products, Inc., is marketing an add-on device called MultiVision 3.1 -- a digital chip that works in conjunction with two built-in tuners to create a small inset picture on the main screen. This "picture-in-picture" image even can be freeze-framed for stop-action viewing, and the technology allows you to position this second picture anywhere on the screen and to vary its size. Also, by using a wireless remote, you can swap the smaller picture with the main screen.

The bottom line is this: anytime there are two sporting events on at the same time, you no longer have to dial-hop or drag out a second TV set -- if you're willing to pay the price. The price is $599.