More Easy Laughs
A collection of some of the most amusing anecdotes from the 60-year history of Golf Digest
As part of our 60th anniversary, we continue our series of amusing anecdotes from the pages of the magazine. --Mike O'Malley
JERRY TARDE, ON FORMER AUGUSTA NATIONAL CHAIRMAN HORD HARDIN
Hord was known to the world for those endless minutes he spent, green-jacketed and glassy-eyed, interviewing the Masters winner on television each year.
"Seve, let me ask you," he started, in 1980. "A lot of people have asked me ... how tall are you?"
"Six foot," replied Ballesteros.
"Even six foot?" Hord followed up.
"Yes," said Seve, squinting now.
Hord leaned in. "What do you weigh?" he asked.
The scene was out of a Monty Python movie, but only years later did I realize the full extent of Hardin's panic. "I knew Seve was a handsome fellow," Hord said. "I was building up to ask him about girls. But I got halfway through asking about height and weight when I realized maybe he'd say, 'I don't like girls. I like guys.' So I sort of froze up. I always realized how terrible I was at those things."
JACK NEWTON, ON JACK NICKLAUS AND ARNOLD PALMER HAVING A DISAGREEMENT
Jack was always my idol. The crowd always pulled for Arnie against Jack, but Jack put up with it. I remember sitting in a clubhouse when Nicklaus and Palmer had a bit of a blue [argument]. I played early with Arnold. We came into the locker room, and a storm started to brew. Anyway, the storm got worse, and the players were called in. Jack was something like eight over par playing the ninth hole. Arnold said, "You know what's going to happen here, don't you? They're going to cancel the round because Jack is eight over." And just as he said it, Jack walked in behind him and heard him say it.
Jim Thorpe, when I first met him, said to me that we "Frenchmen" had to stick together out there. He and I were on the bench as Jack walked in. I don't know if you've ever noticed, but when Jack gets nervous or angry, he has a little twitch he does with his chin, and he goes bright red. Well, he did both. And as he walked past, he said, "Yeah, Arnold, just like they did for you all those times."
At that, Jim Thorpe turned to me and said, "Newtie, this is no place for we Frenchmen. There's an argument going on between God and Jesus Christ, so we better get out of here!"
HENRY LONGHURST, ON THE VALUE OF 'BENEVOLENT DICTATORS' RUNNING GOLF CLUBS
My British benevolent dictator, and he really did dictate, was the late J.F. Abercromby, universally known as Aber and certainly one of the outstanding architects in all golf. About 40 years my senior, he used to wear a green velour porkpie hat and habitually carried under his arm an ancient wooden putter. We younger members were in considerable awe of him. I was standing beside him at the bar at Addington one Sunday morning when a member came in and pre-emptively demanded of the steward, "Where's the suggestion book?" Aber turned slowly and prodded the luckless fellow with a bony finger. Then, pointing to himself, he said, "I'M the suggestion book!"
That's the way to run a golf club.
DAVE KINDRED, ON FORMER NEGRO LEAGUES BASEBALL STAR BUCK O'NEIL
He knew players named Steel Arm and Copperknee, Sea Boy and Gunboat. On a night of romantic maneuvering, Satchel Paige stood in a hotel corridor calling for Nancy, Nancy, Nancy. His fiancee, Lahoma, suddenly appeared and asked, "Nancy?" At which point, Buck O'Neil, familiar with his partner's multilayered love life, popped open his door and said, "Here I am, Satchel."
The grateful Satch said, "Oh, Nancy, there you are. I've been looking for you." And forever after called him Nancy.
Which explains why the golfer Buck O'Neil cries out, "C'mon, Nancy, hit it," when his tee shots don't fly all that far.
BUTCH HARMON, ON HIS DAD, 1948 MASTERS CHAMPION CLAUDE HARMON
One summer in the early '60s, my mom and dad traveled to the British Open. My brothers and I stayed home. I was about 18. Dad owned a Lincoln Continental, which he got through a deal with Ford. On the night of the Fourth of July, I was driving home when another car ran a red light. I hit the car broadside and demolished the Lincoln. My parents were in England, so they didn't know what happened. So now I started driving my mom's Chevy Impala.
Dad phones us from London and says, "Butch, I want you to have one of the other boys come up with you to pick us up at the airport. Your mom's bought a lot of stuff, and we need two cars."