Saturday, April 19
My Return to Legends of Golf
(Jack Fleck denied Ben Hogan a record fifth U.S. Open title.)
It began with Jack Fleck.
A golf friend I made through this blog wrote me and said I might be interested in talking to the unlikely man who beat Ben Hogan in an 18-hole playoff to win the 1955 U.S. Open. I called Jack about a year ago and we began an ongoing conversation about the old days on the PGA Tour and other golf subjects.
Last April I went to Savannah to meet Jack at the Legends of Golf, where he and about two dozen old Tour pros play a two-day best-ball competition. (The regular Champions Tour event follows.) I was on the course, in the players’ dining room, even in the locker room.
(Opposite: Dow Finsterwald)
I probably don’t have to tell you it was a tremendous thrill for me. These were players I watched on television growing up, read about in golf magazines and books, and heard stories about, some from my father who saw them in their prime.
I shook their hands, talked to them and watched them play. To slightly alter the slogan, “These guys were good.” Don't get me wrong. They still play surprisingly well for age 70 plus. But no matter how they currently play, it’s a privilege to spend time with them. They’re still ambassadors for this great game.
I’m returning to Legends tomorrow.
−The Armchair Golfer
and Fred Hawkins)