Today’s lesson on how meaningful an old adage can be comes to us via Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, who is translated as having said, “the more things change the more they stay the same,” a personal favorite of mine that I never find in error.
In July, Henrik Stenson, age 40, won his first major, the Open Championship at Troon, after many years of perfecting his swing. Among the contenders was a lovable character, Andrew Johnston, with a meaty nickname, Beef, that is acceptable for the time. Although a stroke-play event, Stenson won by three in what turned out to be a match-play final round with Phil Mickelson, shooting 63 to Phil’s 65. Post victory, Stenson has played well, with a tie for seventh at the PGA and the silver medal at the Olympics. On today’s date, Aug. 25, in 1946, Ben Hogan, age 34, won his first major, the PGA Championship, after many years of perfecting his swing. Among the contenders was a lovable character, Ed Oliver, with a meaty nickname, Porky, that was acceptable for the time. Played at match play then, Hogan defeated Oliver, 6 and 4, in the PGA final. Post victory, Hogan played well, with three more victories that season.
Seventy years after we had Hogan and Porky, we have Stenson and Beef. The more things change, the more they stay the same. We can revisit this adage down the road if Johnston ever has a course named after him because on the site of the Wilmington (Del.) Country Club, where Ed Oliver started caddieing in the late 1920s, is the Ed Oliver Golf Club, named in honor of the eight-time tour winner in 1983.