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Rub of the Green

October 9, 2011

RUB OF THE GREEN: Loquacious golfers can provide priceless quotes

Golfers always seem to have a great deal to say, but determining who said what and who said it first can be a problem.

In fact, it may turn out that a quote is often attributed to the wrong person. Regardless, quotes from golfers are always entertaining.

A few years back I talked to Tommy Bolt about an answer he is credited with giving to the question, “What is the toughest shot in golf, Tommy?” Bolt supposedly replied, “The one you’re trying to hit next.”

I asked Tom if indeed those were his words. His reply: “I have no idea. I say so many things, I really don’t know if I said that or not. I might have.”

One thing is sure, quotes are funny and interesting. For example, a golf writer once asked Bolt about his cursing on the course. Tommy’s reply: “I never cussed much, that’s bulls****.”

After scoring an unbelievable 13 on a par three, Ben Hogan was asked how that could happen. Ben, with a steely look, came back with, “Because I missed a 2-foot putt for a 12.”

Who said, “I’m at the twilight of a mediocre career”? Answer: Dr. Jerry Baker, a member of the Indiana State Teachers College men’s golf team that won the 1952 Indiana Collegiate Conference championship.

It was none other than Johnny Miller who declared, “Ninety-nine out of every 100 golfers grip their clubs too tightly.”

Billy Casper once offered this advice, “Try to think where you want to put the ball, not where you don’t want it to go.”

Who said this to Seve Ballestreros just before Seve won the 1979 U.S. Open? None other than Roberto DeVincenzo, who said, “You have the hands. Now play with the heart.”

Guess who did not make this statement, “As great as his talents are on the golf course, he is actually a better person.” These were not the words of Tiger Woods’ ex-wife; they were uttered by his father, Earl Woods.

Lloyd Mangrum, a star of yesteryear, once offered this observation: “That S.O.B. Bobby Locke was able to hole a 60-foot putt over peanut brittle.”

Frank Beard declared, “Everybody cheats when they start playing golf. A lot of people never stop.”

Who limped down a fairway after bashing his knee with a putter?

Answer: Ivan Gantz, who was overheard saying to himself, “I told you what would happen if you missed another short putt.”

Who said, “I’ll either give you shots or let you cheat, but you can’t do both.” Actually this writer used the original line on the eighth hole at Elks Fort Harrison golf course some 15 years ago.

When discussing long-ball hitters, Terre Haute native Bill Neff was fond of saying, “The woods are full of long hitters.”

When asked to join the temperance movement, the great English golfer Harry Vardon replied, “Moderation is essential in all things, madam, but never in my life have I been beat by a teetotaler.”

Golf stories are endless.

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