On this day in his middle age Bill was in possession of almost everything a man could reasonably want. He had his health, the respect and companionship of his friends, a head for business which had made him a million dollars—and an afternoon free for golf.
But there was Bill at the club, grimly stuffing the contents of his locker into a bag—cap, shirts, slacks, socks, the works. At this ominous juncture who should happen by but Tommy Armour.
In the ensuing conversation it turned out that Bill had had it. He was disgusted with his game and the game. He was through forever. This was the end.
But Bill made one mistake. He asked Armour, "What's wrong with me and my golf?"
March 23, 1959
"You are practically brainless when you get a golf club in your hands, that's all." And with a little more application of the famous Armour needle Bill was shortly out on the first tee, paired with Tommy against Ed and Jim. By agreement Bill was to do his own hitting while Tommy did the thinking.
The rest is history.
Next week, in the first of a four-part series condensed from the forthcoming book, A Round of Golf with Tommy Armour, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED begins to recount the history.
It does not detract from the narrative suspense of this remarkable afternoon to say that Bill is now playing more and better golf than ever—and enjoying it. Nor can it surprise anyone. For Tommy Armour has long been one of golf's finest and most perceptive teachers. As a player he is with Jones, Hagen and Sarazen in the Golden Age. With only four others he shares the distinction of winning both the British and U.S. opens and the PGA. Born, like golf itself, in Scotland, he swung a club as soon as he could hold one—on the course which adjoined the family property.
Armour's first book, How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time, published in 1953, is an instructional classic. A Round of Golf with Tommy Armour takes a different approach but will be an equally necessary part of any golf library.
As a start Armour says, "So much of the story has happened to you that you may think you are one of the golfers I'm talking about. And you may be."
Despite the general well-being of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED readers, there is probably a certain disparity between your economic position and Bill's. Otherwise I think most of us will see ourselves somewhere in Armour's foursome. And, like Bill, be better and happier golfers for it.