Last week in the palmy, mountain ringed setting pictured at the right a British golfer pulled a five-iron from his bag and sent the ball rocketing into a puddle with a splash heard round the world—the golfing world, at least.
The scene: the lush Eldorado Country Club in southern California's desert resort country.
The event: the biennial Ryder Cup contest between professionals from Britain and the U.S. The British were defending the trophy they had won two years ago, and in one of the first day's most exciting Scotch foursomes, Harry Weetman and David Thomas led the American twosome of Sam Snead and Cary Middlecoff by 1 up on the final hole of their 36-hole match. To win the match, and tie the team score at two points apiece, the Weetman-Thomas twosome needed only to halve the hole.
It takes a very accurate shot to reach the green on this hole, the 18th (top picture), and to avoid the water traps with their one-stroke penalties. Snead hit his team's second shot into the water on the left. It was Weetman's turn next but, refusing to play safely short of the green (and thereby clinch the match), he aimed boldly for the flagstick. Plunk went the ball into the water on the right instead.
November 16, 1959
Snead quickly seized this chance at redemption. After Weetman had missed an 11-foot putt, Snead rolled in a nine-footer to win the hole and tie the match. After the first day, instead of being tied, the Americans led 2½-1½.
"How disappointing," snapped the British captain, Dai Rees. "Harry should have played the shot safe. I'm afraid the team that wins today will be cock-a-hoop tomorrow."
And so, plenty cock-a-hoop, with a determination missing in previous years, the Americans marched out the next day, lost only one of eight singles matches and, by a score of 8½-3½, rewon the Ryder Cup.