Category Archives: people

Mickey Wright 1935-2020

Mickey Wright, IMO the greatest female golfer of all time, died today of heart attack in Florida. She dominated women’s golf in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Coming out of San Diego, she was one of the game’s greatest champions, winning 82 tournaments including 13 majors in a career cut short by injuries.

Ben Hogan said she had the finest swing he ever saw. See it below.

She wrote an instruction book called Play Golf the Wright Way, a book I refer to often.

See notices:
GolfWorld

New York Times

Golf Channel

GolfWRX

Golf Digest

GolfWorld tribute

Dan Jenkins, 1928-2019

Renowned golf writer and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame (2012) Dan Jenkins passed away on March 7 at the age of 89.

Read his obituary in the New York Times and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

And this tribute from Golf World.

Read also his hilarious “interview” with Tiger Woods which the then imperial personality did not find to be amusing. Be sure to listen to his monologue below the end of the article.

Jenkins’s novel, Semi-Tough, about pro football, was made into a movie starring Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson, and Jill Clayburgh.

Another of his novels, Dead Solid Perfect, about professional golf, was filmed as well, starring Randy Quaid and Kathryn Harrold.

And finally, read his account of the stroke-play qualifying for the Greatest of All Time Invitational, played starting March 20 at the Augusta National Golf Club. It’s in the April 2109 Golf Digest, with Jordan Spieth on the cover. The article is likely Jenkins’s final piece of golf writing. It will leave you in stitches. What a gift to leave to us.

Carol Mann (1941-2018)

Carol Mann, winner of 38 LPGA tournaments, and star of the Tour in the 1960s and 70s, died on May 20 at age 77.   Read her obituary in the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.

In her early days as a professional, Mann toured the country with Patty Berg, giving on-course clinics.   I attended one that was held on the 10th fairway of the Eastmoreland Golf Course in Portland, Oregon, in roughly 1961.   It is a fond golf memory.

An Arnold Palmer Reminisce

Arnold Palmer’s passing is the biggest golf story of the year. There are articles today in every newspaper about who he was and what he meant to the game. I won’t go over any of that. This post is about my personal recollections.

A number of years ago I posted my story about the one time I met him, when I was eleven years old, getting his autograph. That was the start.

The Golden Age of Sport was whenever you were between the ages of about nine and fourteen. You’re old enough to know what’s going on, and young enough to still have heroes. That’s exactly where I was during Palmer’s rise, and he was my hero. I reveled in his victories. When he lost the 1966 U.S. Open I was despondent for days.

All my friends I golfed with liked him best. Really — who else was there to have as a favorite compared to the likes of Arnold Palmer?

Yes, he was charismatic. Yes, he was telegenic. But he was more than that. We learned (eventually) to admire Jack Nicklaus. We respected Gary Player. But Arnie was one of us. He never hid himself from us. The more attention he got from his fans, the more he thrived. The phenomenon of Arnie’s Army has never been duplicated — no other golfer has ever commanded than kind of attention. For a while there was Jack’s Pack, but it never got off the ground like the Army did.

In an time when most Tour pros had an idiosynchratic, home-grown golf swing that was recognizable two fairways away, Palmer’s was the the most recognizable and the most exciting. He didn’t swing at the ball, he attacked it, forcing it go where he wanted. Though a long hitter, he wasn’t that long, but he was very straight. The shots he took that looked like gambles generally weren’t. He knew he could pull it off and he did.

In the really 1960s Palmer won many times each year. It was said once that your tournament wasn’t a real success unless Arnie won it. How he won was exciting, too. It seems no other golfer could withstand his onslaught once he put his mind to winning.

But if that’s all there had been, he wouldn’t have been The King. It was his touch with people. A nicer man never walked the Earth. His warmth and charisma touched people on a personal level. His fondness for people was genuine. Given his status, he could have been anything he wanted, but in the end he never retreated from treating everyone he met with courtesy and respect, as if it were his honor to have met you.

We’ve had lots of good golfers over the years. But there has been only one Arnold Palmer. Long live The King.

Christy O’Connor (1924-2016)

Christy O’Connor, a legendary Irish professional golfer, died on May 14 at age 92. He became known as Christy O’Connor Senior when his nephew of the same name began competing in the early 1970s.

O’Connor Senior turned pro in 1948. He won twice in 1953, then annually on the European Tour or in other events until 1972, and five more times from 1974 to 1980.

He represented Ireland in the Canada Cup fifteen times, including thirteen years in a row from 1955 to 1969. He played in ten Ryder Cups, from 1955 to 1973, a record until broken by Nick Faldo in 1997.

His highest finish in a major championship was second in the Open Championship, the only one of the four modern majors he ever competed in, in 1965.

Once, when playing a practice round for the Open at Royal Troon, he missed the green hitting into the 123-yard 8th hole. A gallery member commented that a professional golfer should be able to hit even a small a target such as that.

O’Connor’s reply was to empty his bag of golf balls and hit one onto the green with each club in his bag except his putter.