Saturday, November 5

Golf Voices from the Past: Frank Beard

I’M READING PRO: FRANK BEARD ON THE GOLF TOUR, Beard’s PGA Tour diary from the 1969 season that was edited by Dick Schaap. Beard was the leading money winner in 1969 ($175,223.93) and finished second to Dave Hill in the Vardon Trophy Standings with a 70.527 stroke average.

Here’s what Beard said about what it takes to be one of the world’s greatest golfers (he names Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Billy Casper) and making money on tour:
Frank Beard in 1967.
The number-one guys have to be almost totally self-centered. They have to possess an incredible burning for success. They’ve got to be willing to do anything within morally, civically, and socially acceptable bounds to win. I don’t mean they have to cheat, and I don’t mean they have to go out of their way to stomp on people. Not at all. But they do have to stomp on people who get in their way. They have to ignore their friends and their enemies and sometimes their families, and they have to concentrate entirely upon winning, upon being number one. There’s no other way to get to the top.

I’m sure I sound harsh, but I’m not really condemning them. They’ve got what we all want. They’ve got financial independence. They’ve got prestige. They’ve got power. I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t like to have his own airplane and his own secretaries and his own companies. There are many days I wish I had their drive, their singleness of purpose, their complete devotion to victory. I’m often tempted to try it, to push everything and everybody else out of the way and pursue nothing but success. But I just can’t do it. I don’t mean I’m too nice a guy. I mean it’s not my way. If I tried it, I’d fail. I couldn’t survive the constant intensity, the constant burning.

My approach, the one that works for me, is less grueling. Basically, I’m content just to make a good living playing golf. If I make $100,000 a year, I’m very happy. If I slump to sixty or fifty or forty thousand dollars, I’ll still be happy. I’ll be able to pay my expenses, pay my taxes, and put a little bit away.
It’s interesting how much Beard’s 40-year-old comments reminded me of today’s lucrative tour, where many if not most players are just satisfied to make a very good living. Tiger Woods aside, it seems there are fewer players than in Beard’s day with the burning desire to reach the top.

Beard won 11 times on the PGA Tour but no majors and played on the 1969 and 1971 U.S. Ryder Cup teams.

−The Armchair Golfer


womens golf clubs said...

great story..

Anonymous said...

Frank Beard is a wonderful golfer... also had success on the PGA & Champions Tour. Fought against alcoholism in the 1960's,1970's & 1980's... never had an alcoholic drink for 31 years due to the help of his wife, Susan (former LPGA golfer). Frank is a very lucky man now & still show a lot of courage and respect for himself as well as others who have an alcohol problem. Live on Frank!