Search

TWO SHOTS THAT WON THE MASTERS

April 15, 1957
April 15, 1957

Table of Contents
April 15, 1957

Doug Ford And The Masters
Events & Discoveries
Scouting Reports
American League
  • Seven times in the past eight years the Yankees have won the pennant; in '56 they could have started to print their World Series tickets in July. Yet Casey Stengel now comes up with a ball club he says is better than any of the others. Unless you are a Yankee fan, it looks like a long season ahead

  • The Indians have been in a second-place rut for five of the past six years. Although most major league cities would happily settle for much less, in Cleveland the frustration of always being the runner-up has come to a head. A new manager has been added, but once again it looks like second best

  • For five straight years the Sox have finished third. Now they have a new manager and some promising rookies but all else is the same: with one hand they must claw their way up toward the Yankees and Indians, with the other hold off the Tigers and Red Sox from below. That's asking too much of two hands

  • The Boston Red Sox are New England's pride and despair. Annually hope rises that this year the Sox will finally unseat those top-dog New York Yankees, and annually there is frustration. But, even so, hope rides high again on such as Ted Williams, Jim Piersail, Tom Brewer and a dozen bright young men

  • This is the team they said last winter might shake up the Yankees—but that was last winter and now no one is quite so sure. The Tigers are good, only there aren't enough of them; where Casey Stengel experiments to find out which player is best, Jack Tighe must experiment to find a player good enough

  • The Baltimore Orioles have improved steadily in their three seasons in the American League. There has been a continuous flow of ballplayers, coming and going, as Manager Paul Richards has tried to field a winning club. This year the team has a more permanent look, but there is still a lot to be done

  • The Senators finished seventh a year ago which, on the record, may have been an even greater miracle than the pennant triumphs of the 1914 Braves and the 1951 Giants. They had the worst fielding in the league and by far the worst pitching. Only a couple of big sluggers saved them from the bottom

  • This will be Kansas City's third season in the major leagues. The first year was one grand party: a lively, eager team fought for victories all year long. But last season was quite different: the team was listless, as well as bad, and finished a dull, dreary last. Kansas City fans expect something a good deal better in 1957

National League
  • The old, old Dodgers have been the class team of the National League for a decade. Cracks have appeared in their armor, but it is fondly hoped in Brooklyn (and Los Angeles) that bright young players will fill such gaps. In the most unlikely event that they do there'll be yet another Yankee-Dodger World Series

  • Now it is next year. With a superb pitching staff built around the great trio of Spahn, Burdette and Buhl, and boasting some of the league's best ballplayers in Aaron, Mathews, Adcock and Logan, the Braves are prepared to make a strong bid for the pennant they missed by the narrowest of margins last September

  • The personable, colorful, lively Redlegs are the most popular ball club in the National League. Last season strong hitting, brilliant fielding, shrewd managing and an astute front office combined to lift them to third place after 11 dismal years buried in the second division. Now they have their eyes on the pennant

  • Improved by trades and boasting one of the most impressive starting lineups in the league, the Cardinals are hungry for a pennant. Yet the bench is weak, their pitching can hardly equal the Dodgers or Braves, and the Redlegs have more power. It may be a long, tough climb from fourth place first

  • It's seven years now since the youthful Philadelphia "Whiz Kids" stole the National League pennant. They have grown old in the interval, and none too gracefully at that. A slowly dwindling band of truly topflight players has heretofore saved the club from utter disgrace, but who knows if they can do it again

  • The Giants looked better toward the end of 1956, moving from the cellar to sixth in the last five weeks of the season. Then the armed forces took regulars Jackie Brandt and Bill White, and regular Catcher Bill Sarni had a heart attack during spring training. Yet despite all the team still shows plenty of spirit

  • Last year the Pirates spent nine glorious and dizzy days atop the National League. This, however, was in June, and at season's end they were seventh. They may not spend even one day in first place in '57, but the Pirates are a young ball club on the way up and they aren't going to finish seventh either

  • After 10 years of bitter frustration in the depths of the second division, Owner Phil Wrigley swept the club clean during the winter and reorganized from front office down. Despite this broom treatment of last year's cellar team, the Cubs' tenure in the bleak second division is assured for another year

Sport In Art
Fame Is For Winners
Figuring It Out
Fisherman's Calendar
Acknowledgments
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

TWO SHOTS THAT WON THE MASTERS

'No good at playing it safe' and covering the course like a man in a hurry, Doug Ford shot a last-round 66 to rescue the Masters from galling inconclusiveness

On the final day of the Masters a chunky and relaxed man named Douglas Michael Ford stood in the 15th fairway of the Augusta National course, squinted at the distant green and sluggish creek protecting it and called for the club strong enough to carry all the way, the three-wood. His Negro caddie, who felt he had almost as much at stake, his tip, balked. By the electric word of mouth of tournament golf, news had just reached Doug Ford and his caddie that, behind them on the course, Sam Snead, the tournament leader, was busy bogeying the 10th and 11th holes.

This is an article from the April 15, 1957 issue Original Layout

"Use your four-iron," his caddie pleaded in some panic. "Gonna cost me $100 if you go in the water."

"I'm no good at playing safe," Doug Ford snapped. And with that, after the typically brief address he allows himself, Ford swung his spoon back in his oddly flat arc and sent the ball screaming toward the pond. It sailed barely over and kicked to the edge of the green; with two putts he was down for a birdie 4.

That was the way Ford played Augusta, and that—as it turned out—was how the 1957 Masters was won. The day before, while the big crowd was following Snead, Ford tried the same shot and landed in the muck at the edge of the water. He stripped off his shoes, rolled up his pants to the knees, waded in and blasted on his way in a spray of Georgia creek water.

But he was saving his most memorable shot for the last day and the 18th hole. Coming up to the 18th he needed a par 4 to finish with a dazzling 67. But his approach shot, a mis-hit seven-iron, landed in a sand trap short of the green and half buried itself. So Ford scrambled into the trap on the double, without drawing a deep breath flailed at it—and watched it plop right into the cup for a 66. It was the best final-round score in the 21-year history of the Masters. It gave Ford 283 for the tournament and what proved to be a three-stroke margin over Sammy Snead. With some justification he tossed his sand wedge two dozen feet in the air.

Ford is no stylist of golf. He gallops up to his shots, takes a quick look and fires. He goes around the course in Mach One. But he is probably the best man on the circuit at getting down in two putts. At Augusta he played the greens like the pool shark he used to be, and was never far off the tournament pack with tidy daily performances of 72-73-72 and ultimately, of course, the 66. Up to now, at 34, Ford's best triumph was his 1955 PGA victory at Meadowbrook. Hereafter the Mahopac, N.Y. pro can be known as the man who saved the 1957 Masters from what otherwise would have been galling inconclusiveness.

At the end of the third round, after he had posted a bogey-littered 74, Sam Snead confronted the scoreboard in some surprise. "You mean to tell me I shot a 74 and am still leading this man's tournament?" He whistled. "Man, there must be some pea-picking poor golfers in that field out there!"

As a matter of fact, at that moment, there were. Incredibly gone from the tournament were Ben Hogan, Cary Middlecoff, Mike Souchak and a dozen other stars of tournament competition—while still in contention were such venerable figures as Henry Cotton, 50, Henry Picard, 49, and Byron Nelson, 45. The final round of the Masters this year also included 1) a nightclub crooner who plays only to get out in the sun, 2) a dentist from Cucamonga, Calif. and 3) a number of part-time businessmen golfers who haven't fired a golf shot in hope or anger in 20 years.

What had happened was that the tournament committee changed the rules this year to provide for only 40 players in the last two days—the first cut of any kind in Masters history, and drastically, disastrously too far down. The idea was not to cut out the Hogans and the Souchaks but the museum pieces—who proved, on the contrary, to be hardier than some of the youngsters. "We are just as anxious as ever to have the older champions 'come to the party,' although some of them may no longer be serious contenders," tactfully explained Tournament Chairman Cliff Roberts in announcing the innovation last February. "We know that many players...feel obligated to play out the full 72 holes even though they may not be scoring well. The new regulation automatically takes care of this particular problem." It surely did. But it created a locker-room eruption that rocked not only the tournament but all golf.

Cary Middlecoff, for instance, walked seething off the green after he had holed his 152nd shot Friday, stalked into the bar and demanded a triple Scotch which disappeared faster than Doug Ford's last trap shot. This was followed by the disappearance of Middlecoff himself, who did not even slow down on his way out of town to attend the traditional dinner thrown for former champions by last year's champion, a dinner livelier than ever this year judging by the sounds of angry voices drifting out of the club room and through the magnolia leaves.

The point was that many a man has been far back on the second day, only to come on to victory. Burke was eight strokes behind on the last day a year ago and still won.

Despite Doug Ford's wonderful 66, one question which will hum through the gin-and-tonic fumes in the locker rooms all summer is: could Hogan have made up 11 strokes in 36 holes? And, thanks to Ford's smart finish those who watched Ben play the first 36 will have to doubt it. From tee to green he was still almost Hogan, squinting down the wide fairways like a hawk surveying a chicken yard. But on the greens, it was the hawk who became the chicken. If it was anybody but Hogan it would have been funny. Ben couldn't have done worse putting with a tire iron. And from a distance, it seemed he was. Hogan finally did not even attack the course any more. In fact he couldn't even defend himself against it. He set a new modern Hogan record with 38 putts in the second round.

The defection seemed, at first, to leave the pickings all to Snead, and Sam swung joyously to the task on Saturday, birdie-ing the first hole with the dash of a cutlass-swinging pirate. But then he turned back into Snead again. He couldn't have been in more trouble on purpose. "Ah been fighting the squirrels all day," he groaned as shot after shot sprayed out of sight into the piney woods. But, the point is, you can spray at Augusta and the squirrels had a chance to see Snead's scythelike two-iron come crashing down through the acorns and pine needles—as the big white nut went rocketing toward the green, curling around trees and almost spitting sparks as it came to a dead stop with a little entrechat on the green. Snead still missed half his two-foot putts, but he had only seven three-putt greens for the first three rounds, which is awful, but for Snead pretty good.

Snead took his loss philosophically although he was a little pained at the way it happened. "I didn't yip hardly any putts today," he complained. "I was nice and relaxed, and thought the whole cake was mine. But here's a man who takes all those one-putts and some no-putts [Ford had chipped in on No. 12, too]. Can't win over that." Grinned Ford, who tends to play a hooking game: "The good Lord cooperated on this course today and made it perfect for my hard ball."

Ford's caddie, George Franklin, struck the only unregenerate note. He still thought his man had played too risky a game. "It worked this year," he observed sourly, still perspiring at the money that almost went in the water on No. 15. "But it ain't gonna work next, I'm telling ya. Man 4 under par shoulda played it safe."

TWO PHOTOSJOHN G. ZIMMERMANFORD SENDS HIS WINNING BUNKER SHOT TO THE CUP IN STORM OF SAND. DAY BEFORE (RIGHT) HE WADED IN FOR AMPHIBIOUS BLAST ON 15THPHOTOJOHN G. ZIMMERMANGOLFER CROSBY WATCHED FROM SIDELINESPHOTOBOB JONES, MASTER OF MASTERS, FOLLOWED THE TOURNAMENT PLAY FROM OFFICIAL CARTPHOTOPALMER, DESPITE FINE 69, WOUND UP SEVENTHPHOTODEMARET GOT TWO 70S, CAME IN THIRDPHOTOCARY MIDDLECOFF DROPPED OUT AFTER SECOND-ROUND PRUNINGSPHOTOHOGAN, SHOWN WITH WIFE VALERIE, WAS ALSO PRUNING VICTIMPHOTOSAM SNEAD, HERE SWINGING DOWN THE 10TH FAIRWAY ON FIRST DAY, LED TOURNAMENT WELL INTO THE FINAL ROUND, FINISHED SECOND