News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 9, 2011

RUB OF THE GREEN: Loquacious golfers can provide priceless quotes

Bob Arnett
The Tribune-Star

---- — 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.

It seems that none other than Kenny Bosc has won the Generous to a Fault Award for 2011. It seems that Frank Perry requested a few shots for a side bet. Perry was happy when Bosc offered him 10 strokes.

When the round ended, it seems Perry had won the match without the help of a single stroke. Bosc accepted the loss and came back with an even-par round the following day.

Bosc’s prize for his Generous to a Fault Award is a copy of the book, “How to Bet Smart,” written by Jean Van Devalve.

Kudos are in order for Rich Schelsky for his win in the hotly contested WTHI TV Men’s City Golf Tourney. Congrats are also in order for Ryan Roscoe for running an excellent tournament.

Roscoe took the reins of the Terre Haute Golf Association after Chris Keen had so ably led the THGA for two years. The THGA is one of the best golf organizations you’ll find anywhere.

Billy “Bum” Alumbaugh was obviously “off his game” when he shot a “fat” 92 in the opening round of the recent Spaghetti Open.

This writer can recall Alumbaugh winning medalist honors in this tourney a couple of decades ago with a round of 68.

With the 10-percent rule in effect, Bill needed only to two-putt from 15 feet to win his flight and claim a $175 gift certificate.

Instead Alumbaugh lined up his 15-footer and knocked it squarely into the cup. This violated the 10-percent rule and Bum was relegated to last place.   

Although his winnings were “zilch,” this scenario makes Bill look like a totally honest player.

If you top the ball, you are coming “up” on your shot. You may be coming up on your toes, straightening your knees or pulling your shoulders back. The head usually gets the blame for all topped shots, but most of the time the blame lies elsewhere.

Keep your head down and your shoestrings tied. We’ll be back.

Bob Arnett can be reached by e-mail at