After sinking the final putt to win a then record third Masters
in 1950, Jimmy Demaret plucked the ball from the cup, turned and
tossed it to a pretty woman standing greenside. That woman was
my mother, Ethyl. I was 11, and we were tagging along around
Augusta National with my father, Shirley, who was covering the
Masters for The Washington Post.
Over the years Dad introduced me to all the greats--Arnold
Palmer, Sam Snead and Demaret, whom I remember telling my
mother, herself a golfer, "Golf is just like dancing," as he
demonstrated a slow, graceful swing.
My father's career with the Post spanned 75 years, from his
first byline as a teenager in 1924 to his final column last
summer, which he filed the day before he died at age 92. (A
golfer to the end, he lamented that he had lost his club speed
at age 90.) Dad was at Yankee Stadium on Lou Gehrig Day in 1939
and at Camden Yards in '95 on the night that Cal Ripken Jr.
broke Gehrig's consecutive-game record. My father saw it all,
but my favorite story of his was how he became a sportswriter.
In the summer of 1918 Dad was working as a caddie in Bar Harbor,
Maine, when he was assigned the bag of a wealthy man named
Edward McLean. An avid golfer, McLean took a liking to my
father, then 13, and every day for the rest of the summer sent a
carriage to pick him up and bring him to the course. McLean
owned his own course in Washington, D.C., where he also owned
the Post. When my father was 17, McLean brought him down to
Washington to caddie at his club. On my dad's first day on the
job McLean said to him, "Shirley, today you'll be caddying for
this gentleman." It was President Warren G. Harding.
To fill the hours when Dad wasn't caddying, McLean gave him a
job as a copyboy. The rest is sportswriting history.
Maury Povich is a two handicap at Hollywood Golf Club in Deal,