Did aging tennis star Bobby Riggs throw the match with Billy Jean King to pay off gambling debts owed to the mob?
That's the allegation from a Tampa man who spoke on national television. This weekend, ESPN's Outside The Lines program revived speculation that the match was somehow rigged.
The story is now all over the internet. Hal Shaw, who used to be an assistant golf pro at South Tampa's Palma Ceia Country Club, told ESPN that he overheard a late night conversation between some of the city's most reputed mob figures conspiring to fix the match.
In return, Riggs, known as a big gambler, would have his debts erased. Shaw said he never came clean sooner because he feared for his safety.
We went by his Seminole Heights home, where we found the shades drawn and nobody answering the door. We were told nobody at the country club was interested in talking about the new report.
But just down the road at tennis shop "Racquet Heads," people were willing to talk and speculate.
"It's possible, without a doubt it. It is Tampa, after all," said Doug Tveten, who owns the tennis shop. "He was missing some easy shots and clowning around and not taking it seriously."
"I guess anything is possible," remarked customer David Kahn. Riggs died years ago and so did many of the people involved in the match.
Billy Jean King believes Riggs gave her his best in front of 30,000 fans in the Houston Astrodome, and no story coming out of Tampa could will ever change that.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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