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Golf Digest Archives: St. Andrews remembered

July 12, 2010

Open Championships at St. Andrews can lead to some classic stories, including these two from the late Roone Arledge, the former president of ABC Sports, in the June 2000 issue of Golf Digest:

To tell the truth

Arledge, on the 1964 Open at St. Andrews: "I remember Jim McKay telling a story about interviewing Tony Lema years ago. Tony had just flown over and played a practice round, and he went on to win. He was such a gentleman. He and Gary Player were almost like public-relations men. Jim asked, 'What's your first impression of St. Andrews?' And Tony said, 'It's just wonderful. I'm so excited to be here on this sacred turf and to know that all the great golfers have played here' -- which is not true, because Ben Hogan never played there--'and it's just an honor to play, and I loved every second of it.' And Jim said, 'Thank you.' And Tony said, 'Is that thing turned off?' Jim said, 'Yeah.' Lema then said, 'Isn't it the most God-awful place you've ever seen in your life?' "

The old way of doing things

Arledge, on the 1970 Open at St. Andrews: "The opening day was spectacularly good weather for the first part of the day, and Tony Jacklin was out in 29. He got to the 14th hole, which is the long hole at St. Andrews, and he hit his second shot in a whole bunch of gorse off to the right and short of the green. And thunder opened up and rain came pouring, so they postponed play till the next day. Two things happened that showed how relatively casual the British Open was back then. They stuck a tee in the ground where Jacklin's ball was, and then they all went in. They didn't have security or anything. They were going to tee off at about 6 in the morning, something like that. Dan Jenkins and I were having dinner, and we made a pact that we would go out together and watch Jacklin's group play in. At any rate, we walk out there early, and they're on the 15th tee already. I said, 'What happened?' And Gerald Micklem, who was then the head of their championship, said, 'Well, they were both here and they wanted to go ahead and play. I didn't see any reason not to, so they went ahead.' I just couldn't imagine something like that happening in the U.S. Open, which Joe Dey used to run like Mussolini must've made the trains run on time."

*-- Mike O'Malley