For me, while the writings of Rice and Wind were inter-
esting period pieces, the more recent stories by Reilly, a
personal favorite, and Palmer’s own recollections were the
most fun. Reilly, for example, described in Sports Illus-
trated in 1987 how Palmer “became America’s favorite –
not best, not winningest, just favorite – golfer.
Everyone has a favorite golf tour-
nament. Some like the Masters, for
its legendary beauty, others the
Open Championship because it is
“For in Arnie you had an athletic god who could come
down from the heavens and screw up royally, and the
nation loved him for it.
U.S. Open for a host of reasons.
“Heading them is the fact that, as an American, it is the
championship of my country. I also believe it is the tough-est of the four to win,” he once said. And, he said, “the
Either way, coming or going, (Arnold) Palmer always tried uproariously hard. He swung as if
slashing his way out of a Brazilian rain forest. His face contorted with every tortured heave.
U.S. Open is still pure, straight golf, with a minimum of
Fans who agree with Jack, and even some of us who
don’t, are likely to relish “One Week in June: The U.S.
Open” (Sterling Press; $14.95), a new collection of stories
about U.S. Opens through the years and the greats who
took part in them. The book, with an introduction by Tom
Kite and foreword by longtime golf writer Don Wade,
includes stories by such famous oldsters as Herbert War-
“Well,” he wrote, “that’s golf. My kind of golf, anyway.”
Jenkins, and personal reminisces by the game’s legends
from Nicklaus to Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and more.
There are lots of nice little stories here. Lee Trevino initially played it straight after winning his first major but
soon reverted to his old sassy self when asked what he
would do with his Open earnings. “I might buy the
Alamo,” he said, “and give it back to Mexico.”
— Dennis McCann
Open record score of 276, decided he had won the 66th
U.S. Open midway through the final round and needed
only a one-over par 36 to claim the record as well.
“In retrospect,” he wrote, “it was the biggest mental error
of my career.” He coughed up a seven shot lead to end in
a tie with Billy Casper, who won the next day’s playoff.
“Either way, coming or going, Palmer always tried
uproariously hard. He swung as if slashing his way out of a
Brazilian rain forest. His face contorted with every tortured
heave ... Arnold Palmer did for finesse what Oliver North
did for procedure.”
Palmer’s reflections, from his memoir “A Golfer’s Life,”
of course included his hard fought comeback victory in
the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills in Denver, a triumph
that allowed him to call his wife, Winnie, at home and say,
“Hiya, lover. Guess what? We won.”
But that was a one-off for Palmer, who conceded that
poor chipping and putting on slick Open greens cost him
three additional titles and possibly a fourth. The story that
more accurately touches on the cruelty that is an inherent
part of this game came a few years later at San Francisco’s
Olympic Club when Palmer, with eyes on Ben Hogan’s