Great golf lines of our time:
• “Watching the late Sam Snead hit balls was like watching a fish practice swimming.” — John Schlee, U.S. Open runner-up in 1973.
• “All games are silly, but golf, if you look at it dispassionately, goes to extremes.” — Peter Alliss.
• Jack Nicklaus was asked when he thought kids are ready to play on a regulation golf course. He replied, “When they can play about three holes without running off to chase a frog.”
• “Actually, the only time I ever took out a one-iron was to kill a tarantula, and even that took me seven strokes.”— sportswriter Jim Murray.
“I miss. I miss. I miss. I make.” — Seve Ballesteros, describing his four-putt at Augusta’s 16th in 1988. Sadly, we lost Seve recently. His skill and exuberant go-for-broke style will be missed. He gave us some wonderful golf moments throughout his impressive career.
• “As of this writing, there are about 2,450 reasons why a person hits a rotten golf shot, and more are being discovered every day.” — Jay Cronley.
The 1878 Open Championship in Britain might not have been won by the eventual champion, Jamie Anderson, had it not been for his playing partner, Andy Stuart, who pointed out that Anderson’s ball was teed up outside the tee markers. That infraction would have meant disqualification, if not corrected.
After Anderson re-teed, his shot went right in the hole for an ace. Not only had Stuart saved him from being disqualified, but the ace helped Anderson win the championship by one stroke.
Stories about the late Moe Norman are, of course, legend. Here’s one that involved the legendary Ben Hogan, one of the best strikers of the ball who ever played the game.
Hogan and Norman were practicing on the driving range in the 1950s. Hogan was famous for declaring that there was no such thing as an intentionally straight golf shot. After watching Moe hit countless laser-straight shots, Hogan wandered away, muttering something along the lines of, “keep hitting those accidents.”
Once when Moe was playing with Sam Snead, they came to a hole that featured a stream crossing the fairway about 250 yards from the tee. Snead told Norman that he should lay up, but Moe simply replied, “No, no. I’m aiming for the bridge.”
Snead shook his head and laid up. Then, true to form, Norman’s drive did indeed roll across the little bridge to the other side of the stream. Snead refrained from offering Moe any further advice.
While we’re on the subject of Snead, here is a classic example of the repressive nature of “Masters” officials over CBS broadcasters. Sam was hitting the ceremonial first tee shot and his mis-hit drive caromed off the glasses of a spectator ... er, I mean “patron.” The drive wasn’t even mentioned or shown on television during the 2000 Masters.
Origins of “bogey” and “Golden Bear”
Depending on which golf historian you consult, it may be that the term “bogey” came from a popular British song in the 1890s that includes the line: “Hush, hush, hush, here comes the Bogey Man.”
Somewhat better documented is the origin of “Golden Bear,” the nickname of Jack Nicklaus. It came from Australian golf writer Don Lawrence, who in 1963 overheard Jack’s agent Mark McCormack refer to him as a “Golden Bear.” Ironically, it just happens that Nicklaus’ high school mascot was also a golden bear.
Brad Faxon was always one of the best putters on the Tour. He said it’s easier for a bad putter to get better than to improve any other aspect of the game. Why? Well, he logically points out that putting requires the least amount of physical talent, so it’s a relatively easy area of the game to improve on.
Pin-in or pin-out?
The debate will probably never end, right? But, maybe we can learn something from short-game guru Dave Pelz.
He and his staff chipped thousands of balls from off the green with the pin in and thousands with the pin out. He said that if you leave the pin in, you’ll improve you chance of a hole-out by 34 per cent.