The Local Knowlege

Throwback Thursday

Believe it or not, the first nighttime golf event on TV was broadcast 60-plus years ago

As GolfDigest.com highlighted this week with an item on Night-Golf Systems, golfers-by-night aren't in the dark as much as they used to be. Improved lighting and special effects make playing at night a vibrant light show. But such was not the case when the first nighttime golf event was televised.

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Golfing by the stars has been around so long that the 60th anniversary of the first telecast came and went last year. Golfers today are familiar with the series of Monday night televised golf matches headlined by Tiger Woods (The "Battle at Bighorn" with David Duval, for example), but those were not the first televised night-golf events. During the summer of 1954, Chicago NBC-affiliate WNBQ (now WMAQ-Channel 5) televised matches on 14 Tuesday nights. The format was limited, however, by the restrictions of the day's equipment. Golfers played just seven-hole matches, with the 18th green at Tam O'Shanter Country Club in Niles being the focal point. Seven par-3 holes ranging from 20 to 104 yards were set up, with each playing to the 18th green. The green was well lit with lights similar to a baseball park; smaller mobile light units on pick-up trucks were used for the teeing areas. 

Related: Meet the guy who built a Brooklyn mini-golf course out of trash

The first night event had tour pros Johnny Revolta versus Dutch Harrison, and an amateur match between legendary 64-year-old Chick Evans and Chicagoland standout Art Hoff. Harrison shot a four-under 17 to beat Revolta by two shots; Evans beat Hoff, 20 to 21.

A couple other night-golf firsts: Colonial Country Club in Lynnfield, Mass., installed a system by Sylvania in 1964 and held what it said was the first nighttime professional golf tournament, and in 1968, the course at Sunol, Calif., proclaimed it the first championship-length course that was fully lit. 

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Nocturnal golf has its advantages to improving your swing. If you have a chance, play in a night-golf event, but give it a try with just flashlights and special glow balls, with at least a half moon on a clear night, starting around 10. Barely seeing the ball will improve your feel and clear your mind from mechanical thoughts. After you hit the ball you'll be able to tell where you hit it on the clubface and the direction it's going. As Gary McCord and Peter Kostis wrote in Golf Digest about golf in the dark: "You must feel your swing and what kind of shot it produced if you're going to find the ball. Hit it, feel it and listen to it is the call of night golf."

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Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: A 70th birthday salute to Judy Rankin

One of the all-time special people in golf had a milestone birthday this week: Judy Rankin turned 70 on Feb. 18. At an age when most people are fortunate to be enjoying retirement, Rankin is still a visible presence in what could be gauged as the fourth stage of her multi-faceted golf career.

Stage 1 was Judy as Judy Torluemke from St. Louis, a junior phenom who started playing the game at 6, was winning Pee Wee tournaments at 8 and the Missouri Amateur at ages 14 and 16. She was a 15-year-old low amateur at the 1960 U.S. Women's Open and lost in the second round of the 1961 British Ladies Amateur at Carnoustie at 16. 

loop-torluemke-table-560.jpgStage 2 was Judy Torluemke the LPGA Tour player, having turned pro as a teen in 1962. 

Stage 3 was Judy as Judy Rankin, Texan, having married Walter (Yippy) Rankin in June 1967 and residing in Midland. She won her first of 26 LPGA titles in 1968, her last coming in 1979. She won the 1976 Dinah Shore and the 1977 Peter Jackson Classic before they were designated as majors. During her career Rankin was a consistent performer who, perhaps because of her slight 5-foot-3, 110-pound frame, was perceived as an underdog. She also had a distinctive swing technique in order to get as much power as she could delivered to the ball. She turned her left-hand well to the right on the grip and had a markedly delayed lag on the downswing. She was deadly with her medium irons and fairway woods, clubs she used often for approach shots. 

loop-throwback-rankin-older-275.jpgIn 1976, she did on the LPGA Tour what Arnold Palmer did on the PGA Tour by being the first to eclipse $100,000 in prize money in a single season, bolstered by six victories. Twice she was LPGA Player of the Year and three times she won the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average. In the 1977 season she set a record with 25 top-10 finishes. On the down side, she was just 4-12 for her career in playoffs. 

Stage 4 is still ongoing with Judy Rankin serving as golf ambassador and TV analyst. After winding down her playing career in 1983 at age 38 following chronic back injuries, Rankin has been the go-to person for a woman's perspective on golf issues. Her well-rounded vision and delivery made her ideal for print and television. She authored six articles for Golf Digest on instruction topics. 

Having served on various LPGA player and executive boards as a player, Rankin retained a strong interest in the game's health from outside the ropes. Because of her ability to explore issues from all angles and relate what a player is seeing and thinking on the course, she was one of the first if not the first woman to be used on telecasts of men's events on TV, working for ABC, ESPN and Golf Channel. For many years she was on-course reporter, with partner Bob Rosburg.

Rankin captained the winning 1996 and 1998 U.S. Solheim Cup teams, and in 2000 was voted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, the first LPGA player to get in via the Veterans Category.

Rankin told Bob Verdi for Golf Digest in 1998 that she is "a wild idea person." Let's hope they keep on coming. 

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Throwback Thursday

How Billy Casper earned his good-guy reputation

The wide shadow of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player not only covered the great playing career of the Hall of Famer Billy Casper, who died Feb. 7 at age 83, it did little to help the public see the man himself and the rather exotic and wide-ranging life he led.

billy-casper-1968.jpgCasper is being hailed in remembrances as a wonderful family man and a giving person who exuded kindness and charity, which appears to have been well-known by his acquaintances but perhaps not so well understood by the general public. For instance, in a little-known gesture from October 1967, Casper and wife, Shirley, chartered two buses to bring 113 Mormon missionaries from Edinburgh to St. Andrews (the Caspers were Mormon) and bought them a ticket to watch him play in the Alcan Golfer of the Year Championship. He joked, "If I see you watching anyone but me, I'll take back your ticket."

But culturally and recreationally he was quite active as well. Golf Digest benefited from his interest in communicating his golf technique; he wrote 37 articles for the magazine from 1958 to 1974. At one time listed on the masthead as an Instruction Editor, he primarily revealed thoughts on putting, chipping and strategy, and at one time wrote a Casper's Class column, answering readers' golf problems.

Many pieces of his wisdom were collected in the 1966 Golf Digest book, Golf Shotmaking with Billy Casper. But particularly poignant and telling about Casper the man was the July 1966 cover story of his trip to Vietnam to visit American troops. The pride he felt bringing some leisure-time distractions to the soldiers was palpable as he told of his goodwill tour. "I hated to leave these men," he wrote. "Leaving them was like saying good-bye to friends who were in need."

Casper became a proponent of organic foods and avoiding things that cause health issues (he sometimes breathed in pure oxygen at tour events) after problems with weight-gain and coinciding sinus and backaches led him to change his lifestyle. So organic and exotic foods became the norm: ground moose, salmon, fried rabbit, duck, hippopotamus, buffalo steak, elk, bear pot roast and herbal teas went on the menu, with care taken in how they were seasoned.

The change helped him drop 50 pounds and feel healthier. It wasn't too long after that Casper outlasted Palmer to win the 1966 U.S. Open. Did hippo meat helped Casper win at Olympic? If he had not felt so healthy, would he have even been a factor there down the stretch?

bill-casper-fishing.jpgInterestingly, Casper enjoyed mingling with the type of game he turned to eating, and enjoyed the outdoors. On a trip to South Africa in 1968, he was photographed actually placing his hands on a grown lion. He was an avid fisherman, feeling it helped his golf game.

"Fishing not only rests and relaxes me, it also provides me with a muscle exercise that makes me stronger on the golf course," he said in 1967. Going by what Golf Digest founder William H. Davis noted in an interoffice memorandum in December 1965, suggesting an item be done on Casper's fishing, Casper must have built up substantial muscle mass through fishing. His agent reported to Golf Digest that on a trip to Hawaii, Casper hauled in a 255-pound marlin and two mahi-mahi, one 80 pounds and the other 40. 

Congenial to the end, when Casper was told during a book-signing at the 2013 U.S. Open for his autobiography, Billy Casper—The Big Three and Me, that his legacy as one of the magazine's greatest contributors is still appreciated, he smiled broadly and expressed his thanks.

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Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Big Three Golf becomes must-see TV

As Golf Channel celebrates 20 years on the air and golf fans have access to televised golf 24 hours a day, it's hard to picture a media landscape that was void of regular opportunities to watch tournament golf on TV. But such was the environment when the modern Big Three of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus was starting to hit their stride.

It wasn't a given that tour events would be broadcast when television first came into existence. Johnny Farrell, the 1928 U.S. Open winner, was nearly 50 years old when he did a golf show in 1949. Into the early 1960s, TV golf consisted of occasional coverage of the big events along with regional and national golf shows or made-for-TV golf contests such as All Star Golf, Challenge Golf, CBS Match Play Classic and Shell's Wonderful World of Golf. As the schedule started expanding, some wondered if there was suddenly "too much TV golf." L.A. Times columnist Sid Ziff answered the question bluntly -- "No! -- in a March 1963 Golf World article.

And so the Big Three came in and decided to flex its muscles. In late 1964, the boys filmed eight matches: four at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, in October, and four more in December at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, the then-new Robert Trent Jones course on the Big Island of Hawaii. Then for eight consecutive Saturdays beginning Jan. 30, 1965, each match was played back on NBC as "Big Three Golf." (Nicklaus came in first, Palmer second.)

loop-big-three-golf-560.jpgThe show expanded the universal appeal of Arnie, Gary and Jack, plus gave the venues entree into viewers' living rooms. Much as seeing Hawaii tour scenes last month enthralled snow-bound viewers, the immediate impact of seeing Mauna Kea's spectacular third hole over water must have been substantial in 1965.

Filming the matches was an accomplishment all its own, let alone whether the golf played was up to the stars' standards. Because cameras weren't set up on all 18 holes as is commonly done today, it took roughly 60 crew members to move the equipment around to make sure a hole was ready to be played when the Big Three had finished on the previous hole.

"Big Three Golf" had some staying power. The next season had two rounds at Firestone and two at Indian Wells in California (Palmer was first, Nicklaus second). The theme of the third season was "The Big Three in Britain." The trio played a round at Gleneagles, Carnoustie and St. Andrews, and, finished in a tie at 218. (The matches were part of an effort to introduce color television in Britain.) They played off the tie at Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico, and Arnie won. The series wrapped with rounds played at Kasumigaseki, Nagoya and Osaka, Japan, with Nicklaus and Player playing to a draw (the sudden-death playoff was stopped by darkness).

Whether 50 years ago or now, the Big Three on TV is a major viewing event.

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Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Remembering a pair of Golf Digest/Golf World contributors

Earlier this month, GolfDigest.com remembered the noted golf personalities who passed away in 2014 with its "farewells" tribute. But it unintentionally missed two names of people who not only meant a lot to golf media but to the Golf Digest/Golf World family as well. It is appropriate to give them proper appreciation now, not only for their body of work but because you never like to ignore family at times of remembrance.

I never met Ron Coffman and David Harbaugh, but I knew of them when their writing and cartoon work, respectively, were part of the golf mainstream. I eventually, and unknowingly, shared a career path with the former and got to work with the other on his art assignments.

loop-coffman-350.jpgCoffman was 78 when he died Dec. 8 in Southern Pines, N.C. He was hired by Golf World in 1965 at age 28 and except for a two-year stretch when he worked for the PGA Tour in the early 1970s, he stayed with the magazine as managing editor until it was purchased/joined with Golf Digest in 1989 and relocated to Connecticut from Southern Pines. His golf prowess was impressive—he won the Golf Writers Association of America tournament twice; once birdied all four par-3 holes in a round; claimed club championships; made an ace—but the writing and leadership he shared with Dick Taylor helped drive Golf World for more than two decades. In his latter years as a Golf World writer, he would occasionally write a "But You're Wrong" column to zap someone or some thing for an injustice that annoyed him.

I never crossed paths with Coffman, but I feel I should have given how his life story before he went to Golf World in 1965 was similar to my own. We were both born in Bloomington, Ill., attended Illinois State University, worked as sports writers for The Pantagraph of Bloomington (it was the Daily Pantagraph then), and moved out of our hometown in our 20s to get into golf journalism full-time. We even have the same middle name, Lee. Quite a strange coincidence for a pair of central Illinois golf journalists born 23 years apart. If I had met him we would have certainly shared stories about how our gruff sports editor at the paper, Jim Barnhart, made a lasting impression on us, and how much the golf scene in our hometown helped foster our love of the game.

loop-harbaugh-cartoon-350.jpgHarbaugh, who died Jan. 19, 2014 at age 85, could safely be described as a minimalist cartoonist. His golf cartoons were quite basic, with usually a subject or two drawn in unadorned backgrounds with very little shading. But that simple structure certainly must have helped the marriage between the one-liner caption and the image; they worked so beautifully together that one quick glance back and forth produced a split-second laugh. Golf Digest readers had a great connection to the Harbaugh style and tone. His work first appeared in Golf Digest in the late 1950s, and he had a stretch of more than 20 years in which each issue of Golf Digest ended with a Harbaugh cartoon on the Rub of the Grin page, usually paired with a Dick Emmons poem. You can find some of his work here along with the "self-portrait" in the cartoon above (that's him on the right).

A few years ago in my final phone call with Harbaugh, we talked about how his humor secret was not complicated: He made fun of the duffer in all of us, with so many goofy moments to pick from, ranging from the harried businessman to the nagging spouse to our inept games on display in a regular foursome. The potential material was endless. But it wouldn't have been successful if not for the expressions of his characters, brought out so well by not overcomplicating the overall appearance.

Harbaugh could run regularly in Golf Digest because he was a prolific idea man and was motivated by the enjoyment he got out of making people laugh. He sent packets into the magazine office with a couple dozen submittals at a time, with hardly a weak one in the bunch, mainly because he based his humor in truth and didn't strain believability. The magazine could run a couple Harbaughs at a time because replacements came in at a high volume, which is amazing since Golf Digest wasn't his only gig. He appeared in several other publications, including Tennis Magazine, Field & Stream, the Wall Street Journal and Tire Business magazine. He did all this over a 42-year career while also working as an industrial exhibit designer, all of which came after serving in the U.S. Navy.

A military man who helped golfers overcome the fear of laughing at themselves. Certainly a legacy to appreciate.

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Throwback Thursday

This week's Humana Challenge and "The Show" mark milestone moments

Anniversaries are a dependable Throwback Thursday theme, and with two of golf's big traditions going on this week, we have a pair worth noting.

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Two-time winner of the Humana Challenge and a supporter of the event, Phil Mickelson, gave the Palm Springs-area tournament some early buzz when he committed to playing in it as his first 2015 calendar event. Arnold Palmer, the legend Phil is often compared with in playing style and strategy, is also closely associated with the Humana, but the five-time champion ruled the event during its primo celebrity days with Bob Hope as the marquee leader.

Related: Our fantasy golf picks for the Humana Challenge

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The year 2015 observes 50 years from when Hope attached his name to the event as the Bob Hope Desert Classic (it later was christened the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic). Palmer won in 1965, naturally, and he had won in 1960 when it was held for the first time 55 years ago as the Palm Springs Golf Classic. Arnie played in every Palm Springs/Hope Classic from 1960-2002 except for one, in 1997, which he missed because of prostate cancer surgery.

Palmer's home in the South, Orlando, is again this week the site of the PGA Merchandise Show, with its million-plus square-foot collection of golf products of every shape and kind, laid out for PGA pros and media to fall in love with. This year marks 30 years since "the Show" returned to Orlando from a three-year hiatus in Miami.

Related: Our live blog from 2015 PGA Show

That 1985 show was my lone foray into the three-day endurance test of leg cramps and no sleep. The weather was unusually cold for Florida that year, a shock to a Midwesterner making his first visit to Florida. But the Show was successful enough in its new home at the Orange County Convention Center that it has remained there ever since, having shed its humble start in a parking lot in Dunedin, Fla., in 1954, when just a meager few gathered to display some sweaters and slacks. ... Read
Throwback Thursday

There was golf -- and Hurricane Louise -- on the islands before the tour came

For decades off-season golfers have been so enticed by seeing professional golfers play in Hawaii in a variety of events, from tour stops to skins games, lured by pineapple-shaped tee markers, blue skies, ocean waters, beaches, palm trees, and shots of hula girls. But while PGA Tour records say it’s been 50 years since the Hawaiian  Open has been on the tour schedule, professional golf was no stranger to the islands prior to 1965. 

For the record, the first Hawaiian Open was played in 1965, won by Gay Brewer at Honolulu’s Waialae Country Club, where the now-named Sony Open in Hawaii has always been played. And here’s a tidbit: The Hawaiian tour stop wasn’t in its present January configuration on the tour schedule at first. From 1965 to 1969, the tournament was played in November, except for late October in ’66. But after the event took 1970 off, it went to February in 1971 and has been at the start of the year ever since.

The Hawaiian Open had been attracting pros well before that, however, and well before it became a state in 1959. Waialae hosted a tournament in 1928, attracting a group of well-known mainland pros returning from a tour of Australia. From then until 1965, a Hawaiian Open was held every year but five, spread over five venues, but mainly played at Waialae. During that time, mainland players such as Gene Sarazen, Craig Wood, Horton Smith, Harry Cooper, Tommy Armour, Olin Dutra, Ed Dudley, Billy Burke, Paul Runyan, Denny Shute, Jimmy Thomson, Ed Furgol, Leo Diegel, Cary Middlecoff, Lloyd Mangrum, Lawson Little, Bob Rosburg and Jerry Barber competed along with a host of local talent, led by Francis H. I’i Brown and Ted Makalena, who was the 1966 champion. 

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Louise Suggs in Hawaii in 1952.
Photo from the Golf Digest Resource Center

Golf in Hawaii was promoted in many other ways, of course, over the years, with 1952 U.S. Women’s Amateur winner Jackie Pung alone serving as an ambassador for the game. But one promotion especially ambitious travel-wise for the time was in 1952, when the PGA of Hawaii invited Louise Suggs, that year’s National Open winner, to spend three weeks on the islands starting Oct. 22. Representing MacGregor equipment company, she played several exhibitions at a number of courses, including a team match against Pung, and gave a few clinics, all in her inimitable firecracker style and flair. A Honolulu sportswriter, Red McQueen, wrote approvingly, “Miss Suggs, a trim number with a fetching smile and cracker drawl, is a stylist in every sense of the word. She is as fast a player as ever appeared here. She walks up to her ball, selects a club, fixes her little tootsies and without hesitation or hula, smacks the ball cleanly toward the pin.”

With the PGA Tour once again in Honolulu this weekend, you’re likely to see some of the men hesitate over the ball but let’s hope, like Ms. Suggs, none of them hula. 

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Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: The most entertaining Father-Son duo of all time

The victory by Bernhard and Jason Langer in last weekend's PNC Father-Son Challenge had an element of good fortune in it, given Jason was a late fill-in for his sister, Christina, and that his age, 14, made him the youngest offspring winner in the 17-year-old event.

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No matter how the Langers (above, photo courtesy AP Images) got the win, it's the good vibes created by playing in a family event that are memorable. Father-Son tournaments populate the tournament schedule at any number of clubs and help create some of the game's enduring moments. If you are fortunate to have a son -- or daughter -- who likes golf, getting to play in an annual event with him or her is one of the great bonding experiences you can have.

At many courses Father-Son events are named after a special individual and carry some historical significance. At Willowbrook Golf Course in Winter Haven, Fla., Dexter Daniels Sr., an accomplished Florida golfer, and son Dexter Jr., are the namesake of the Father-Son event, which was held for the 41st time last weekend and won by multi-winners Bret and Marc Dull.

The Donald Ross Junior Championship at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort started in 1947 and is named for the famous architect. Part of the event, which will be held again Dec. 27-30, is a father-son competition for the more then 200 juniors in the field, held in three age divisions. And Father-Son events aren't just held in the U.S. The 26th World Invitational Father & Son Golf Tournament will be played Aug. 5-9, 2015, at Ireland's Waterville Golf Links. (And by the way, the eighth World Invitational Father & Daughter is at Waterville July 23-26, 2015).

As magical as Papa Langer had it at the PNC event (he joined Larry Nelson and Raymond Floyd as dads who won the 17-year event with two different sons), his feat is a step below the roll call of father-son achievers in pro golf. There have been nine father-son duos who have won PGA Tour events: Old Tom and Young Tom Morris and Willie Park Sr. and Jr. all won the British Open; others are Jack Burke Sr. and Jr., Clayton and Vance Heafner, Julius and Guy Boros, Al and Brent Geiberger, Jay and Bill Haas, and Craig and Kevin Stadler.

The last twosome, but likely the most entertaining is Joe Kirkwood Sr. and Jr., both Australian-born. The elder Joe was a serious player in the Jones-Sarazen-Hagen era, but during exhibition tours in the 1930s he put trick-shot routines into his matches and became better more well-known for that than his more than a dozen tournament victories.

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His son was actually named Reginald Thomas but went by Joe Jr. in the 1930s. He played professionally, but in the mid-1940s turned to an acting career, most notably playing a popular comic-book character, Joe Palooka, in both movie and TV roles. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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When Joe Jr. won the Philadelphia Inquirer Open in 1949, it completed the father-son winning combination. Previously at the 1948 U.S. Open at Riviera, the Kirkwoods were the first father and son to make the cut at a major in the modern era, which wasn't matched until Jay and Bill Haas both made the cut at the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. Who has bragging rights is open to interpretation. the Kirkwoods were both in the top 30 (Junior finished T-21 and Senior T-28) but the Haases had a top-10, Jay at T-9 while Bill finished T-40). Seems like a wash to me.


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Throwback Thursday

The career paths of 65-year-old birthday boys Tom Kite and Lanny Wadkins were strikingly similar

On the surface, Tom Kite and Lanny Wadkins were quite different in swing and style. But with both celebrating a 65th birthday within the last week, a closer look shows they covered plenty of similar ground on their way to the World Golf Hall of Fame. 

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Wadkins, born Dec. 5, 1949, in Richmond, Va., was a quick and decisive player who fired at flags with a bold strategy; Kite, born Dec. 9, 1949, in McKinney, Texas, approached the game analytically with a more measured pace and swing. They also contrast with their present focus; Wadkins has been a TV commentator for the last 12 years while Kite has stuck it out through a Champions Tour career, where he's won 10 times against Wadkins' one win. Kite beat Wadkins to the Hall of Fame by five years, being inducted in 2004.

From there, however, several similarities pile up: Walker Cup teammates in 1971 (never paired together, but each went 2-0 in singles); Rookie of the Year (Wadkins 1972, Kite 1973); six shared Ryder Cup teams (1979, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 1993, but never teamed as a twosome); each was a losing Ryder Cup captain (Kite in 1997 and Wadkins in 1995); similar PGA Tour victory totals (Wadkins with 21, Kite 19); each has a Players Championship title (Wadkins in 1979, Kite 1989); each was Player of the Year (Kite in 1981 and 1989, Wadkins 1985) and, amazingly, the one major each won took place in dramatic style at Pebble Beach. Wadkins won the first major ever to be decided in sudden death when he won over Gene Littler at the 1977 PGA. Kite won the 1992 U.S. Open, surviving a final-round wind of 40 miles per hour, helped by a birdie chip-in on the par-3 seventh.

Related: Golf Digest's "My Shot" with Lanny Wadkins

Each contributed instructionally to Golf Digest and each had a golf legend influence their careers. Wadkins went to Wake Forest, the golf domain of Arnold Palmer, on a Palmer scholarship, and Kite learned under the guidance of teaching legend Harvey Penick and attended the University of Texas. Wadkins' big amateur moment, winning the 1970 U.S. Amateur, came at Kite's expense as Tom finished a shot behind in second. Kite won the 1972 NCAA individual title, sharing it with Longhorn teammate Ben Crenshaw. 

Heck, they have similar body stock, listing themselves as 5-foot-9 and 170 to 175 pounds.

In the end, however, they did have at least two major difference: their nicknames and how they fit their golf persona.

Wadkins, born Jerry Lanston Wadkins, was Lanny, a gunslinger of a name befitting his quick-draw nature, which made him very productive in the match-play drama at the Ryder Cup. Kite, though, was Mr. Consistency, speaking to his workaholic nature that produced steady performance throughout his career, which allowed him to pile up money. He overtook Tom Watson as the career money leader and was the first to hit $6 million, $7 million, $8 million and $9 million before Tiger Woods eventually swept past. Kite finished with $11,041,042 in PGA earnings, while Wadkins had $6,355,681. 

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Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: A 75th birthday salute to Lee Trevino

Last Monday Lee Trevino celebrated his 75th birthday, a milestone certainly worth celebrating. (His friend and rival Jack Nicklaus reaches No. 75 on Jan. 21.) Nicklaus has been among those who put Trevino in the group of best ball-strikers in history, an elite few that usually includes Ben Hogan and Canadian legend Moe Norman as the finest ever.

Trevino's achievements are stout: six major championships, winning three opens in one summer (U.S., Canadian and British in 1971), two World Cup victories, the second-most Champions Tour victories (29, coincidentally the same number he had on the PGA Tour) and a Skins Game title in 1987 that resounded with an ace and a jump into caddie Herman Mitchell's arms.

Sartorially, Trevino made red famous long before Tiger Woods came along, donned in crimson in both shirt and socks. And his comedic chit-chat either cracked up his fellow competitors and gallery members or put each group on edge depending on their individual demeanor, but obviously was a delight to his answer to Arnie's Army -- Lee's Fleas.

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To celebrate the Texan's birthday, rather than look at the familiar big moments of his career, we've selected some of the rarer scenes that show him as he was in the early part of his career as a huge tour presence.

loop-trevino-mustache-1977-350.jpgEarly in his career, Trevino sported a mustache.


loop-trevino-goofy-1980-350.jpgHere Trevino hams it up with Goofy in a promotion for Walt Disney World.
 

loop-trevino-ballesteros-1979-518.jpgTrevino could entertain all sorts on tour, including Seve Ballesteros.


loop-trevino-sandwich-1972-518.jpgDoing nothing more than eating a sandwich could be a light moment.


loop-trevino-parade-1971-518.jpgAfter his spectacular summer of 1971, Trevino was honored with his own day in El Paso, Texas.

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