Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Ben Crenshaw, Judy Rankin, Tom Kite, Fred
Cobb, Harvey Penick, Babe Zaharias, Lee Trevino . . . the list of
Texas golf legends reads like the leader board of an imaginary
Twentieth-Century Golf Greats Invitational. The Lone Star State has
spawned more than its share of golf heroes, and fifty of the best
are featured in this collection of portraits and interviews.
Milosevich deftly illustrates each golfer with compelling
head-and-shoulder portraits and action views. Sampson's brief
vignettes of the golfers capture the dramatic incidents and
illuminating details that help make each person a legend on and off
the links. BEN CRENSHAW Nineteen eighty-six Buick Open, thirteenth
hole, final round. Again Crenshaw is fighting to hold a one-shot
lead, but he hits a wild four-iron second shot on this par five
that stops against the trunk of a tree. He has no shot--or does he?
"My only shot was with a nine iron, upside down--left handed" says
Crenshaw. He hits the damnedest pressure shot anyone has ever seen:
from forty yards and between trees, Crenshaw's left-handed hack
stops four feet from the hole. He makes the birdie putt, of course,
and wins the tournament. LEE TREVINO On the first tee, a laughing
Trevino held up a rubber snake he kept in his golf bag. The gallery
laughed too, feeling the same release from the drama and tension of
the moment that Trevino did. Nicklaus sat quietly, at the back of
the tee on a spectator's chair while his mugging opponent dangled
the toy reptile at the end of the club. Nicklaus joined in the
merriment--he asked to see the fake snake, then flung it back to
Trevino--but his smile seemed forced. Trevino won the playoff with
Nicklaus], sixty-eight to seventy-one, for his second US Open
title. Three weeks later he won the Canadian Open and the week
after that, the British Open. No one else has ever held these three
national titles simultaneously. TOM KITE What would Kite hit?
Surely he would play away from the water, with a two or three iron.
Perhaps he would gamble and hit a three wood. He looked at his
caddy, Mike Carrick. "What do you think about a driver?" he said.
The color drained from Carrick's face. Wind billowed the legs of
Kite's grey pants as he got set to hit. "It's a driver " whispered
the television announcer. He nailed it.... "Best swing I made all
day," said Kite to no one in particular as he walked off the tee.
HARVEY PENICK Dave Marr calls him "one of God's people." He is
indeed a gentle man, this patriarch of Texas golf, but he is also
humorous and sly. "'I'd like you to meet Mr. Ammanex," Penick says,
as a confused-looking member introduces himself as Roane Puett.
Ammanex? "Well, whenever I see you, you say, 'Am I next?"' explains
Penick. HOW ARE YOU TODAY, MR. PENICK? asks another member, loudly
compensating for the old gentleman's hearing loss. "I'm Mister
Penick's son Harvey," he deadpans, not answering the question.
"BABE" ZAHARIAS "I remember playing in one of those first
tournaments with Babe, and I was nervous," recalls Marilynn Smith.
"So Babe put her arm around me on the first tee and said in a loud
voice, I always like playing golf with you Smitty. You really bring
out the crowds." The gallery laughed, of course. They were there to
see the Babe. But the humor relieved Smith's tension and made her a
Zaharias fan for life. When he's not out on the golf course trying
to improve his five handicap, Paul Milosevich is in front of an
easel sketching, drawing, or painting. A thirty-year retrospective
of his work, Out of the Ordinary, was published in 1991 by Texas
Tech University Press. Curt Sampson was "broke and disgusted" at
the end of a four-year stint as a club and touring pro. So he
traded in the trials and tribulations of a golf pro for the woes of
a writer, thankful that he can stay close to the game he loves. He
is a frequent contributor to national golf magazines and the author
of The Eternal Summer. Each collector's edition is prefaced wi
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