A Chronicle of the Philadelphia Section PGA and Golf in the Philadelphia Area
by Peter C. Trenham
1950 to 1959
Ben Hogan won the U.S. Open at Merion and Henry Williams, Jr. was runner-up in the PGA Championship.
Ben Hogan won the Masters and the U.S. Open before ending his eleven-year association with Hershey CC.
Dave Douglas won twice on the PGA Tour while Henry Williams, Jr. and Al Besselink each won also.
Al Besselink, Dave Douglas, Ed Oliver and Art Wall each won tournaments on the PGA Tour.
Art Wall won at the Tournament of Champions and Dave Douglas won the Houston Open.
Atlantic City hosted the PGA national meeting and the British Ryder Cup team practiced at Atlantic City CC.
Mike Souchak won four times on the PGA Tour and Johnny Weitzel won a second straight Pennsylvania Open.
Joe Zarhardt returned to the Section to win a Senior Open put on by Leo Fraser and the Atlantic City CC.
Marty Lyons and Llanerch CC hosted the first PGA Championship contested at stroke play.
Art Wall won the Masters, led the PGA Tour in money winnings and was named PGA Player of the Year.
1950 - In early January Robert "Skee" Riegel
announced that he was turning pro. Riegel
who had grown up in eastern Pennsylvania had won the U.S. Amateur in 1947 while
living in California. He was now playing out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. At that time
the PGA rules prohibited him from accepting any money on the PGA Tour for six
After eleven months on the shelf Hershey Country Clubís professional
Ben Hogan returned to tournament golf on the
first Friday of January. Hogan had entered
the $15,000 Los Angeles Open at the Riviera Country Club. It didnít take long
for the world of golf to realize that he wasnít entered at Los Angeles just to
make an appearance. In a tournament plagued by rain
Hogan opened with a 73 and shot three 69s for a four-under-par 280.
Sam Snead (71-72-71-66=280), who had been the playing professional from
the Shawnee Inn & Country Club in the early 1940s came through with a last round
66 to tie Hogan and force an 18-hole
playoff. Jack Burke, Jr. finished third at 281 and Ellsworth Vines was next with
a 285. The tournament started on Friday as scheduled and the second round was on
Saturday. Sunday was rained out and the third and fourth rounds were played on
Monday and Tuesday. The playoff scheduled for Wednesday was rained out and
Hogan and Snead left for Pebble Beach
and the Crosby Pro-Am. Seventy-five hundred spectators turned out one week later
on Wednesday for the playoff. When Hogan was
introduced on the first tee the announcer said he was from Ft. Worth, Texas and
Hogan corrected him saying "Hershey,
Pennsylvania". Snead won by four strokes but
Hogan was back. First prize was 2,600 and second was $1,900.
The Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, California consisted of three rounds
played on three courses with celebrities. The field started at Cypress Point
Golf Club, then played the Monterey Peninsula course and finished up at the
Pebble Beach Golf Links. There was also a three-day pro-am with each
professional paired with an amateur partner who was an invitee of Bing Crosby.
At the conclusion of the three rounds there was a four-way tie for first place
at 214. The four professionals were Wilmingtonís Dave
Douglas (71-73-70), Sam Snead (69-72-73), Jack Burke,
Jr. (75-67-72) and Smiley Quick (72-69-73). There was no playoff and they were
declared co-champions. The purse was $10,000 and each of the co-champions won
The PGA Seniorsí Championship was held at their PGA National Golf Club in
Dunedin, Florida in the second week of January. Al Watrous won by three strokes
with a 142. Bill Jelliffe finished second at 145. Jock Hutchison (147) and
Bill Goldbeck (148) finished third and fourth. Langhorne Country Club
professional Al MacDonald and Trenton
Country Club professional George Milne were
the low Philadelphia pros tying for 12th with 155 totals.
Dutch Harrison, who was playing the PGA Tour and still a member of
the Philadelphia Section, won the Azalea Open in early April. The
tournament was played at the Cape Fear Country Club in Wilmington, North
Carolina. George Fazio led the first two
days and he was tied for the lead with Harrison
entering the final round. A one-under-par 71 the last day earned
Harrison (68-72-69-71=280) the win and a check
for $2,000. Fazio, who was now the
professional at a club in Washington D.C., finished two strokes back at 282.
Fazio had been second two weeks before that in
Jacksonville also. Joe Kirkwood,
Jr., a former assistant at the Huntingdon
Valley Country Club who was now playing the PGA Tour, and Cary Middlecoff
tied for third at 283. The total purse was $10,000.
George Fazio won $1,400 at the Azalea Open in Wilmington and this
upped his winnings on the winter tour enough to get an invitation to the Masters
Tournament along with the former North Hills Country Club professional Henry
Ransom. At the completion of the Azalea Open the two professionals with the
most money winnings on the PGA Tour, which had begun in early January, and who
were not already invited to the Masters earned invitations.
In early April a group of about 25 touring professionals threatened to leave
the PGA Tour and form their own organization. Among the 25 were all of the major
tournament winners including Ben Hogan. They
were seeking authority to handle the entire mechanics of the tour, controlling
the funds and negotiating and signing all of the agreements. They stated that
they didnít want to resign from the PGA and hoped to remain members. Two of the
playersí concerns were a change in the purse distribution and the wish of the
2,800 home pros to have autographed clubs sold only in pro shops. The tournament
manager George Schneider, who had sided with the players, was dismissed by the
PGA. There were several evening meetings between the players and the PGA
officers at the Masters Tournament, some lasting three hours. The players were
given the power to elect a committee of four tournament players to serve with
the PGA officers and represent the players in the tournament negotiations.
Dave Douglas was one of the PGA Tour members
elected to the committee.
The Masters Tournament was held on its usual dates, the first full week of
April at the Augusta National Golf Club. The first round leader was Philadelphia
product Skee Riegel with a three under par
69. On Sunday Jimmy Demaret (70-72-72-69--283) picked up seven strokes on Jim
Ferrier over the last six holes to win the Masters for a third time. Ferrier
(285), who was suffering from a thyroid condition, finished second two strokes
back and two ahead of Sam Snead (287).
Ben Hogan (288), still on the comeback trail, tied for fourth
with former Reading Country Club professional Byron Nelson (288).
Joe Kirkwood, Jr. posted a 297 and won $261 as
he tied for 14th. Riegel finished
at 288, tied for 21st and won $$244. Other Section members
Dave Douglas (309) and
Henry Williams, Jr. (311), the professional at the Tully-Secane
Country Club, were in the field but finished out of the money.
Dutch Harrison withdrew. First prize was
$2,400 from a purse of $10,000.
The Sectionís spring meeting was at the Broadwood Hotel in Philadelphia on
the second Monday in April. The guest speaker was Tom Crane, the Executive
Secretary of the PGA of America. In attendance were 84 of the 181 Section
members and there was a lot of news. The U.S. Open was going to be played at the
Merion Golf Clubís East Course in June and the Reading Open was on the PGA Tour
schedule again for a fourth year. Former Section president and pro at the
Llanerch Country Club Marty Lyons, urged all
the members to enter the qualifying rounds for the PGA and the U.S. Open so that
the Section could have a large entry in both championships.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr., world famous for his
trick shot exhibitions, was leaving the Huntingdon Valley Country Club.
He had so many shows booked he didnít have time for his duties at the club and
decided to go back on the road full time. A new member of the Section,
Jerry Barber was now the professional at the
Cedarbrook Country Club.
Ben Hogan proved that he was all the way back by winning the
$10,000 Greenbrier Open in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia during the first
week of May. He tied a PGA Tour record held by Byron Nelson with a
twenty-one under par 259. Hoganís rounds
over The Greenbrierís Old White Course were 64, 64, 65 and 66.
Hogan shrugged off the accomplishment saying
that he thought that he had played better at the Masters Tournament in April.
The host pro, Sam Snead (269), finished second ten strokes back.
Australiaís Norman von Nida (270) finished third and Skip Alexander (271)
finished fourth. First prize was $1,250 from a purse of $10,000.
George Fazio, who was now the professional at the Woodmont Country
Club in Maryland, won the Middle Atlantic PGA Section Championship on the second
Friday of May. Fazio toured the Elkridge
Hunt Club course in 66 and 70 for a six under par 136.
Fazio finished three strokes in front of Charlie Bassler (139).
Johnny Bass, Jimmy Duke and Jack Isaacs tied for third with 140s.
Ed Oliver qualified for the PGA Championship at the Western Open
in the third week of May. Any PGA member in good standing who finished in the
top 25 at that tournament qualified. Sam Snead won the tournament and
$2,600 with a score of 282. Dutch Harrison
tied for second with a 283 and Oliver tied
for fifth at 286.
Qualifying for the PGA Championship was held at The Springhaven Club on the
fourth Monday of May. Rod Munday the
professional at the Country Club of York was the medalist at three-under-par
(66-71) 137. The 66 was a competitive course record.
Mundayís score led the nation as the lowest score in all the PGA
Sections. Two pros back from the PGA Tour for the qualifier,
Dave Douglas and Ted
Kroll the former assistant at the Philmont Country Club, tied for
second with 140s. DuPont Country Club professional Terl
Johnson (143) and Saucon Valley Country Club professional
Ralph Hutchison (144) also qualified safely.
Matt Kowal the professional at the Philmont
Country Club and Bud Lewis the professional
at the Manufacturers Golf & Country Club tied for the sixth and last spot with
145s. In a playoff on Sunday Kowal shot a 69
against a 75 for Lewis to earn a trip to the
PGA. Henry Williams, Jr. was exempt for
having been a quarter-finalist in the PGA the year before.
Dutch Harrison was exempt as a member of the 1949 Ryder Cup Team.
Even though he was exempt as a former winner of the tournament
Ben Hogan didnít enter due to his damaged
legs, which made it difficult for him to walk what could be a possible 216 holes
or more in seven days if he made it to the finals.
George Fazio qualified for the PGA Championship in the Middle
Atlantic Section on the fourth Monday of May. Fazio
tied for the medal in qualifying for two of the three available spots at the
Country Club of Virginiaís James River Course. The third spot went to Charlie
Bassler with a 143. Fazio and Chandler
Harper both posted rounds of 70 and 71 for 141s. It was such a windy day that
many of the players declined to post their scores.
Six time Negro national champion
On the fifth Monday of May qualifying was held for the U.S. Open at the North
Hills Country Club and the Lu Lu Country Club. Because of the Open being at the
Merion Golf Club there was a large entry in Philadelphia so two courses were
needed. More than 140 pros and amateurs teed off at 8:45 AM in a pelting rain
and finished in a mist twelve hours later. Jerry Barber
and Mike Rooney the professional at the
Cool Creek Country Club returned the lowest scores, 142s.
Barber and Rooney
both turned in 72s at North Hills in the morning and 70s at Lu Lu in the
afternoon. Terl Johnson posted a 143.
Henry Williams, Jr. and Cobbs Creek Golf
Clubís Howard Wheeler an unattached African American professional, who
played cross-handed, were next with 144s.
Clarence Ehresman, the professional at the Ashbourne Country Club,
George Fazio and amateur Jock Houdry had
145s. Bud Lewis, Ted Kroll and New Englandís
Bob Toski and amateur Don Weiland posted 146s and survived via a five-man sudden
death playoff that only took one hole. Dave Douglas
and Skee Riegel were exempt because
they had finished in the top fifteen at the U.S. Open the year before.
Ben Hogan was exempt from qualifying in several
Al Besselink qualified for the U.S. Open in Detroit on fifth
Monday of May also. Horton Smith was the low qualifier with a 144. There were
nine spots there and Besselink (72-78--150)
Also on the fifth Monday of May Dutch Harrison
and Joe Kirkwood, Jr. qualified for the
U.S. Open at the Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, Texas. The medalist was
Australian Norman Von Nida with a 135. Harrison
(69-67--136) finished second and Kirkwood
(71-71ó142) tied for 12th. There were fifteen spots at Ft. Worth and the
143s played off. Henry Picard won the last spot in a sudden death playoff
and Ed Oliver lost out, becoming the first
U.S. Open at the Merion Golf Club
Ben Hogan playing his second shot
on the seventy-second hole
Merion Golf Club and Fred Austin hosted
the 50th U.S. Open in the second week of June. It had been eleven years since
the tournament had been in the Section. There were twelve Section members in the
starting field. Sam Byrd, who had worked at Merion as the playing
assistant for four years in the early 40s, was in the field. On the eve of the
tournament the USGA decided to increase the purse from $10,000 to $14,900. Lee
Mackey, Jr., a protťgťe of Sam Byrd, opened with a six-under-par 64 that
was a tournament record for a single round. Former Philadelphia Country Club
assistant Jimmy McHale had set the previous record at St. Louis in 1947.
Mackey had grown up just ten blocks from Byrd in Birmingham,
Alabama. He said that he hadnít gotten anywhere in golf until Byrd
started helping him with his game. He had worked for Byrd as an assistant
in Detroit three years before. The course measured 6,694 yards.
George Fazio, who had grown up caddying at the
Plymouth Country Club, was the first player off the tee on Saturday for the last
36 holes. Fazio and
Al Besselink were paired together at 8 a.m. At
that time the lowest scores didnít always tee off first.
Besselink stood at 143 and
Fazio was at 145, which was well below the cut
score of 149. Fazio shot a 72 in the morning
and came back with a 70 in the last round. His 287 total held up for quite
awhile but when everyone was in he was in a three-way playoff with
Ben Hogan (287) and Lloyd Mangrum (287). After
starting with a 72 and a 69, Hogan shot
72-74 on Saturday for his 289. Hoganís legs
were still in such bad shape from the automobile accident sixteen months before
it seemed like he might not finish. Hogan
said that the most tiring part was getting over and under the gallery ropes. The
spectators were still allowed in the fairways at that time. Mangrum with a third
round 69 was the only player to break par in either round on Saturday.
Dutch Harrison just missed the playoff as he
ended up alone in fourth place with a 288, winning $800.
Joe Kirkwood, Jr. was next at 289, winning $500
for his tie for fifth. Skee Riegel (294) had a
chance but a third round 79 put an end to that. Riegel
and Al Besselink (294) finished in a tie for
12th, seven strokes off the pace. They each won $133.34. On Sunday
Hogan fired a 69 for a comfortable margin of
victory. Mangrum (73) was in contention until the 16th hole when he
was penalized two strokes for lifting his ball on the green. He had marked and
lifted his ball while the others putted and then replaced it to putt. As he
prepared to putt he saw a bug on the ball and lifted it again to remove the bug.
Because the rules did not permit a player to clean the golf ball he was assessed
a two-stroke penalty. He holed the 12-foot putt. On the 17th hole
Hogan holed a fifty-foot putt for a birdie to
go four strokes ahead and clinch the playoff. First prize was $4,000 and for the
first time every professional who returned a score for the 72 holes received a
check. Fazio (75) won $1,000 for his third
place finish. Many times the two losers in a three-man playoff would split the
money but that was not the case at that U.S. Open. After 36 holes the field had
been cut to the low 50 and ties. Ted Kroll
(297), Henry Williams, Jr.
(298), Terl Johnson (300) and
Dave Douglas (301) made the cut and received
the minimum checks of $100. All those who finished below 17th place
won $100 each. Clarence Ehresman, Bud Lewis, Jerry
Barber, Mike Rooney and Howard
Wheeler missed the cut.
Won 1950 PA Open
PGA Champion 1961
Jerry Barber won the Pennsylvania Open at the Manufacturers Golf &
Country Club in mid July. A member of Manufacturers and a former assistant pro
at the club Howard Everitt was first off the tee in a field of 84 pros
and amateurs. He posted a 138 but Barber
produced eleven birdies against six bogies to edge him out by one stroke with a
five-under-par (68-69) 137. Barber, always a
great putter, only needed 55 putts for the 36 holes to pick up the first
place check of $500. Clarence Ehresman
finished third at 139. Terl Johnson,
Ralph Hutchison and Doylestown Country Club
professional Charley Lepre tied for fourth
with 140s. There were eleven money places and the total purse was $1,150.
The PGA Championship was at the Sciota Country Club in Columbus, Ohio during
the third week of July. The Philadelphia Section members had had a lot of
success in the tournament since it began in 1916. Eleven Section members had
qualified or were exempt. There was on site qualifying of 36 holes for 63 places
in the match play ladder. Even though he was exempt from qualifying as the
defending champion, Sam Snead won the medal with a 72 and a 68 for 140.
Henry Williams, Jr. tied for fifth at 145.
George Fazio (147),
Ted Kroll (149), Dave
Douglas (150) and Rod Munday
(150) all made it with ease also. The players with 153 totals played off for the
last spots. Dutch Harrison, Ed Oliver, Ralph Hutchison,
Terl Johnson and Matt Kowal
failed to qualify. The stymie was still a part of the match play rules. The
first two rounds of matches were 18-holes each and the rest were 36-hole
matches. Fazio put out Frank Staszowski in
the first round by the count of 4&3 and then lost in the second round one-down
to Bob Toski. Munday defeated Joe
Zarhardt in the first round one-down before losing to Jimmy Demaret in the
second round 5&3. Kroll won two matches as
he defeated Ray Hill 5&4 and Al Watrous 2&1.
Kroll lost in the third round to Johnny Palmer one-down.
Douglas won three matches before losing to
Williams in the quarter-finals one-down.
Douglas eliminated Marty Furgol 3&1,
Jimmy Hines 5&4 and Elmer Reed 3&2. Williams
went all the way to the finals before losing to the winner Chandler Harper 4&3.
Before beating Douglas, Williams had beaten
William Heinlein 5&3, Emery Thomas 6&5 and Claude Harmon in 38 holes. After
getting by Douglas, Williams
met former Section member Henry Picard in the semifinals. The 42-year-old
Picard was playing in his first PGA since 1941 and had just beaten Johnny
Palmer in the previous round 10 & 8. Williams
was six down to Picard with eight to play, but Picard tired
and they went to last hole even. They halved the 36th hole with
birdies. Williams made two more pars and
when Picard three putted the 38th green
Williams was in the finals. In the other
semifinal match Harper defeated Jimmy Demaret 2&1. First prize was $3,500 and
Williams won $1,500. The total purse was
Won Section Championship twice
Won Philadelphia Open twice
Bud Lewis won his second Philadelphia Open on the last Monday in
July. The tournament was played at the Cedarbrook Country Club in Mt. Airy.
Lewis put together a 73 in the morning and a 68
in the afternoon for a one-under-par 141. That nosed out
Terl Johnson, who equaled the par of 142. There was a three-way
tie for third at 143 among Charley Lepre, Jack Ryan
the teaching professional at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club and
Ernie Pagnotta the professional at the
Yardley Country Club. The tournament, scheduled for early July, had been
postponed three weeks when heavy rains flooded the Cedarbrook course before
anyone even teed off.
Won Philadelphia PGA
1944 & 1950
In late August the Sectionís members were playing their Section Championship
at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club for a third year in a row. A former Section
champion and professional at the Woodcrest Country Club,
Sam Davis, won the medal with a two-under-par
70. Seventy pros, a record entry, were competing for sixty-two places in the
match play field. The defending champion, Henry
Williams, Jr. and the host professional
Harry Obitz, were exempt from qualifying. Another former Section
champion and the professional at the Fox Hill Country Club
Felix Serafin won two gold watches in the qualifying round.
Serafin won one watch for being nearest the
pin on the par three 16th hole and he won the other watch for having
the longest drive, 307 yards, on the sixth hole. There were several upsets in
the match play. Clarence Ehresman and
Carmen Steppo the professional at the
Brandywine Country Club met in the 36-hole finals with
Ehresman winning one-up. Ehresman
was never up until the 35th hole. At one point in the morning
round he was four down and facing a two-foot putt that was perfectly stymied. He
took a 9-iron and chipped over Steppoís ball
into the hole for a half. It was the second Section championship title for
Ehresman. In the semifinals
Steppo edged out Paul Midiri, who
operated the Swing Rite Driving Range in Maple Shade, New Jersey by the slim
margin one hole. In the other semifinal match Ehresman
put out Serafin 4&3. The final
was played on Sunday as it had been for many years. Fred Waring, the owner of
Shawnee who was known for his music, presented the championship trophies.
The fourth annual Reading Open moved back to the Berkshire Country Club with
a new date, the second week of September. The host professional was
Harry Markel. The purse was the same as the
previous year, $15,000. Ted Kroll led the
first day with a course record tying 64. Sam Snead grabbed the title and
set a tournament record for the Berkleigh course. He bettered
Ben Hoganís 1948 winning score with rounds of
68, 65, 65 and 72 for 268. First prize was $2,600. Jim Ferrier (276) finished
second eight strokes back and Glen Teal finished third at 277 one stroke in
front of Ralph Bloomquist (278). The low Section members were
Kroll and Jerry Barber
who tied for tenth with 282s and each won $452.50.
Dave Douglas (286) finished 22nd and won $130.
Art Wall (287) tied for 23rd and won
$110. Even par scores of 288 didnít win any money.
The day after the Reading Open Johnny Weitzel
edged out Art Wall and Pete Cooper to
win the Anthracite Open.
Joe Kirkwood, Jr. won the $5,000 Ozarks Open at the Hickory Hills
Country Club in Springfield, Missouri. The tournament was played in two days and
ended on the first Sunday of October. The pros played 18-holes on Saturday and
36-holes on Sunday. Kirkwood opened up with
a 69 and finished with a pair of 66s on Sunday for an 18 under par 201. The
defending champion Dave Douglas finished
second with a score of 205. First prize was $1,000.
12th Philadelphia Section president
The Sectionís annual meeting was held at the Riverton Country Club in mid
October. The Section was the third largest in the country with 182 members.
Al MacDonald was elected president in a
four-man race. The past president and professional at The Springhaven Club,
Ted Bickel, Jr., was not a candidate.
Al Keeping the professional at the Gulph Mills Golf Club
and Bud Lewis were elected first and second
vice president. John Hayes the professional
at the Riverton Country Club was reelected secretary and
Walter Brickley the professional at the
Burlington Country Club was elected treasurer for a sixteenth consecutive year.
Ed Tabor was the sectional vice president.
Hayes read a citation from the PGA of
America lauding the Section for its work in golf. The Sectionís junior golf
program, involving 1,952 boys and girls, was the largest of any PGA Section.
Even though he didnít play in many tournaments Ben
Hogan won the U.S. Open and tied a PGA Tour record at the Greenbrier.
The sportswriters selected him as the "PGA Player-of-the-Year" in early
November. With 173 sportswriters and sportscasters voting,
Hogan received 112 of the votes. This was the
third annual PGA poll. The leading money winner was Sam Snead with
$35,758.83 and he led the scoring with an average of 69.23 strokes per round to
win the Vardon Trophy. Dutch Harrison was
ninth on the money list with $11,267.92, Ed Oliver
finished twelfth with $10,987.59, Ben Hogan
was sixteenth winning $8,185, Dave Douglas
was seventeenth with $7,355.71 and George Fazio
was twentieth with $7,164.67. Skee Riegel,
who wasnít eligible for prize money until July, won just over $2,000.
Under the PGA rules at that time a pro wasnít able to accept any prize money on
the PGA Tour until he had been a professional for six months.
The PGA of Americaís annual meeting was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago
in mid November. All the officers were returned to office but not without
opposition. Joe Novak was reelected president with 65 votes to 6 for John Inglis.
Horton Smith was nominated for president but withdrew and was reelected
secretary. Harry Moffitt was reelected treasurer. The delegates voted not to
change the method of competition in their championship and they approved a
resolution to give the tournament players greater power in directing their
tournament affairs. The PGA Tour players had two delegates at the national
meeting just like the Sections. One of the delegates was Lawson Little and he
was made a vice president of the PGA. The PGA amended its constitution to
recognize the USGA as the rules making body in the United States. The delegates
voted down a resolution to sell the lease on their course at Dunedin. George S.
May offered the PGA $5,000 to bring their meeting to Chicago again the next year
and the delegates voted to accept. The delegates from the Philadelphia Section
were Marty Lyons and
Walter Brickley. The PGA paid the expenses of
one delegate and the Sections had to pay the expenses for a second delegate.
Ted Bickel, Jr. was a vice president of the PGA
representing District II, which was composed of the Philadelphia Section along
with the Metropolitan and New Jersey Sections.
1951 - In mid January Al Watrous won the
PGA Seniorsí Championship
(69-73ó142) at the PGA National Golf Club in Dunedin, Florida. Sixty-eight year
old Jock Hutchison almost shot his age in the second round as he put together a
69 to tie Watrous at 142. In an 18-hole playoff the next day Hutchison showed
his age when he tired on the last nine and ended up with an 81. Watrous went
around in 75 strokes to win by six. Hutchison had won the tournament twice,
finished second six times and third three times. Charlie McKenna finished third
at 146 and Eddie Williams was fourth with a 147.
In the second week of February Dutch Harrison
won the $10,000 Texas Open at the Brackenridge Park course in San Antonio.
There were 270 pros and amateurs in the starting field and play was over two
courses the first two days. After 36 holes the field was cut to the low sixty
pros and ten amateurs. Harrison (265) put
together a pair of seven under par 64s on the last two days to catch Doug Ford
(265) and force a playoff. Harrisonís first
two rounds were 67 and 70. Harrison, who was
in his seventeenth year on the PGA Tour, defeated Ford in an 18-hole playoff on
Monday with a 67 against a 68 for Ford. Jack Burke, Jr. finished third at 267
and Al Brosch was next with a 268. First prize was $2,000.
At the conclusion of the Texas Open, Jimmy Demaret and eight other pros
departed by plane for the Mexican Open. Two of them were
Stan Dudas an assistant at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club and
Al Besselink who was playing the PGA Tour
full time. The PGA tournament supervisor, Howard Capps a former assistant
at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club, had told them that they would be fined if
they played in the Mexican Open because it was not co-sponsored by the PGA and
it conflicted with the Rio Grande Valley Open. Demaret was fined $500, Vic
Ghezzi $350 and the others $200. Dudas and
Capps had worked at Shawnee and Dudas
had helped him get a job on the PGA Tour as an assistant to George Schneider. In
the end only Demaret was fined due to his status on the tour as a current
The Masters Tournament was played at its usual time in early April at the
Augusta National Golf Club. The Philadelphia Section had eight invitees and they
made a good showing. George Fazio who was
back in Philadelphia and playing the PGA Tour
led the first day with a four-under-par 68 and
Skee Riegel was the leader at the halfway point with 141.
Ben Hogan was one stroke back. After three
rounds it was still Riegel now tied for the
lead with Sam Snead at 211. Hogan was
still one stroke back at 212. On Sunday Riegel
went out two hours ahead of Hogan and
put together a solid round of 71. He made a three-foot putt for a birdie on #17
and then on #18 he faced another three-footer for a par. Saucon Valleyís
Ralph Hutchison announcing at the last green
informed the gallery that Riegelís putt
might win the tournament. He holed it for a 282 and an early lead that looked
good enough to win. At that time the leaders werenít always paired together and
they didnít always tee off last. An eight at
Won 1947 U.S. Amateur
2nd in 1950 Masters Tournament
the 11th hole ended
Sneadís hopes while Hogan, who teed of
later, was playing the front nine in 33.
Playing very conservatively Hogan tacked on
a back nine 35 for a winning 280 score. Hoganís
rounds were 70, 72, 70 and 68. This was Hoganís
seventh major title but his first win at Augusta. Lew Worsham and Lloyd
Mangrum tied for third with 286s. Dave Douglas
(288) finished fifth alone and won $750. Dutch
Harrison (294) tied for 15th and won $338.
Fazio (296) tied for 18th and won
$315. Al Besselink (297) and
Joe Kirkwood, Jr (297) tied for 20th
and they each won $308. Ted Kroll (298) tied
for 25th and picked up $150. Henry Williams,
Jr. (308), who was now the professional at the Berkleigh Country Club
tied for 47th. He won $100, which was the minimum prize.
Hogan won $3,000 and
Riegel won $1,875. The course was still a symmetrical 3,450 yards out
and 3,450 yards back. On Sunday the tournament officials announced a 50% bonus
in the prize money. That made it a $15,000 purse and all the prizewinners
received a 50% increase.
Playing from an Augusta National GC bunker
Ted Bickel, Jr.
The Sectionís spring meeting was on the first
Monday in April at the Riverton Country Club. Honorary president
Ted Bickel, Jr. was presented with a plaque
for his years of service to the Section. Wiffy Cox and Al Houghton from the
Middle Atlantic Section were the guest speakers. The Reading Open was on the PGA
Tour schedule for a fifth straight year.
In May the USGA and the R & A announced that the stymie
rule would be eliminated at the end of the year. There had been a great
deal of conversation concerning the unfairness of the stymie. Most tournaments
in the United States were already being played without the use of it so this
didnít mean much to the American golfer. The PGA Championship and the Philadelphia
Section Championship were both played at match play. The stymie rule was still
enforced in those tournaments because the PGA had agreed to follow the USGAís
PGA Qualifying Medalist
Led USA two straight years
On the last Monday in May the Section qualifying for the PGA Championship was
held at the Bala Golf Club. For the second straight year
Rod Munday was the low man and the low scorer in the country as
well with his rounds of 65 and 66 for 131. The Section had seven spots to
qualify for. The second place went to the head professional from the Colonial
Country Club, Johnny Weitzel, who finished
the day at even par 136. The next two places went to the professional from the
Jeffersonville Country Club Angelo Paul
(138) and the professional from the Country Club of Harrisburg
Joe Ludes (138).
Lu Lu Country Club professional Charles
Schneider, Sr., Terl Johnson and Bud Lewis
picked up the last three spots with 140s. Eight Section
members were exempt from qualifying. Ben Hogan
was exempt as a past PGA champion. Dutch
Harrison, Ed Oliver, Ted Kroll,
George Fazio and
Joe Kirkwood, Jr. had exemptions based on their positions on the PGA
Tour money list. The top thirty money winners from 1950 were exempt that year.
Henry Williams, Jr., runner-up in the PGA
the year before and Dave Douglas were exempt
for having reached the quarter-finals. Hogan
didnít enter the PGA because his damaged legs couldnít make it through 36-holes
a day. Harrison and
Kirkwood didnít enter the tournament either.
Qualifying for the U.S. Open was held at the Llanerch Country Club on the
first Monday of June. Dave Douglas (69-71)
shaved four strokes off par with a 140 to lead a field of 57 pros and amateurs.
Atlantic City amateur Bo Wininger, who would go on to win on the PGA
Tour, was one stroke back at 141. Ken Gibson
the head professional from the Huntingdon Valley Country Club grabbed the
third spot with a 145. The fourth spot went to Reading amateur Buddy Lutz with a
146. Henry Williams, Jr., John Serafin, Air
Force Sergeant Harold "Reds" Ridgely, and Howard Wheeler finished in a
four-way tie for the last spot with 147s. Ridgely won the playoff for the last
spot but then withdrew in favor of Williams
who had finished second in the playoff. After Ridgelyís withdrawal Wheeler
went on defeat Serafin, who was the
assistant to his father Felix at the Fox
Hill Country Club, for the first alternate spot. Gibson
withdrew from the Open and Wheeler got in as an alternate.
Ben Hogan, George
Fazio, Dutch Harrison, Joe Kirkwood, Jr., Skee Riegel and
Al Besselink were exempt due to having
finished in the top twenty in the previous U.S. Open.
The U.S. Open was held at the Oakland Hills Country Club near Detroit in the
middle of June. At the end of 36 holes Dave Douglas
was in second place one stroke out of the lead and after three rounds he was
in fifth place, two strokes back. The defending champion
Ben Hogan had started slowly with 76-73, but he
had moved into contention with a 71. Entering the final round on Saturday
afternoon Hogan was two strokes behind the
leaders at 220. Hogan blew the field away in
the last round with a 67. His 287 total won by two strokes.
Hogan and Clayton Heafner (289), who finished
second, were the only two players to break 70 in the tournament. Heafner had a
last round 69. Robert Trent Jones had remodeled the course and only
Hogan and Heafner finished under 291. When
Hogan finished he stated that it was the
hardest course he had ever played. First prize was $4,000. Bobby Locke finished
third at 291 and Lloyd Mangrum was next at 293. Douglas
(294) and Al Besselink (294) tied
for sixth winning $387.50 apiece. Skee Riegel
(295) tied for tenth and won $187.50. Joe Kirkwood,
Jr. (299) tied for 21st, Ed
Oliver (301) tied for 24th and
Dutch Harrison (307) tied for 47th. They each won $100,
which everyone who made the cut received. The total purse was $14,800. The
tournament took in $110,892 in admissions and the program book which was sold at
the course brought in another $75, 000 in advertisements. The USGA and the club
shared the income. Howard Wheeler, George Fazio
and Henry Williams, Jr. missed
On the day Ben Hogan won the U.S. Open
the Hershey Country Club officials announced that
Hoganís contract, as the golf professional, was not being renewed.
The club officials said that they no longer wanted to have a playing
professional represent the club. For some time Hogan
had been aware of this and he had recommended
Walter Hall as his replacement. The club hired
Hall as their new club professional.
After winning the U.S. Open for a third time Ben
Hogan told the press that he had no plans to enter another tournament
that year. That included the PGA Championship, which was coming up in two weeks.
He said that he was not retiring but he was going to play exhibitions the rest
of the year. His plan was to play one or two exhibitions a week at $1,000 a day.
The Pennsylvania Open was held at the Pittsburgh Field Club on the Monday
after the U.S. Open. Most of the money stayed in western Pennsylvania.
Westmoreland Country Club professional Johnny Bulla won by four strokes over
Oakmont Country Club head professional Lew Worsham (145, with a 72 and a 69 for
141. George Griffin, Jr. (147), assistant to
his father at the Green Valley Country Club and the Highland Country Club
professional Art Tucke (147) tied for third, six strokes off the pace.
In late June seven of the Section members made it through the on-site
qualifying for the 64-man match play field in the PGA Championship. The host
club, the Oakmont Country Club, became the first club to host the championship a
second time. Claude Harmon, Lloyd Mangrum and Pete Cooper tied for medalist
honors with 142s. Ed Oliver (144),
George Fazio (145),
Dave Douglas (147), Rod Munday
(148), Henry Williams, Jr. (149),
Johnny Weitzel (151) and
Ted Kroll (151) all qualified safely. The 154
scores played off. Terl Johnson, Bud
Lewis, Joe Ludes and
Angelo Paul failed to qualify. Charles
Schneider, Sr. withdrew before play began. The first two rounds of
match play were 18-holes and the rest were 36-hole matches.
Fazio, Douglas, Kroll, Williams and
Weitzel all lost in the first round. Fazio
lost to Toney Penna 4&2, Douglas lost to
Buck White 2&1, Kroll lost to Ray Gafford on
the 19th hole, Williams was
beaten by former Section member Gene Kunes
4&2 and Johnny Weitzel lost to Lawson Little
3&2. Rod Munday and
Ed Oliver were the only pros from the Section
to win a match and they lost in the second round.
Munday eliminated Bob Toski 5&3 and then lost to Vic Ghezzi 4&3.
Oliver defeated Herman Keiser 5&4 before losing
to George Bolesta 2&1. Sam Snead won his third PGA Championship defeating
Walter Burkemo in the finals by 7&6. In the semifinals Snead beat Charlie
Bassler 9&8 and Burkemo got by Ellsworth Vines with a one-hole victory. The PGA
of America kept the stymie rule in play for their championship even though the
USGA had decided that the rule would be abandoned at the end of the year. The
purse totaled $17,700. All of the qualifiers won money. The losers in the first
round each won $100, second round $200, third round $350, fourth round $500 and
those that lost in the fifth round each received $750. Burkemo took home a check
for $1,500 and Snead won $3,500.
In the third week of July Joe Kirkwood, Jr.
won the $20,000 Blue Ribbon Open at the North Hills Country Club near
Milwaukee. After an opening round of one over par 72 he posted rounds of 66 and
69 to trail by one stroke. On Sunday Kirkwood
shot a 64, the low round of the tournament by two strokes, to win the first
prize of $2,750. Sam Snead (273) finished second two strokes back and one
in front of Lloyd Mangrum (274) and Jim Ferrier (274).
Skee Riegel, playing out of Tulsa,
ended up in fifth place alone at 275 and won $1,150.
George Fazio (280) tied for seventh and won
$762. First prize was $2,750.
Ben Hogan went back on his vow to only play exhibitions for the remainder
of the year. In the second week of August big money brought him back to
tournament golf at the Tam OíShanter Country Club in Chicago. The $50,000 World
Championship of Golf gave Hogan a $10,000 appearance fee to play in the
tournament. After opening with rounds of 68, 69 and 70 Hogan came from
five strokes back of Jimmy Demaret (276) with a last round 66 to win by three.
The 66, a course record, gave him a 15 under par 273. Pete Cooper (277) and
Bobby Locke (277) tied for third one stroke behind Demaret. The first place
$12,500 check and the appearance fee gave Hogan a $22,500 payday.
1951 Section Champion
won the medal at the Section Championship
qualifying in late August. He shot a 68, missing the tournament record by one
stroke. The defending champion, Clarence Ehresman,
was exempt from the qualifying for 64 places on the match play ladder.
Harry Obitz and Shawnee Inn & Country Club
hosted the championship again. Two of the Sectionís strongest players met in the
finals with Rod Munday taking the measure
of Henry Williams, Jr. The match was still
even after the morning 18 but Munday, a
notoriously poor putter, started making putts in the afternoon round and won the
Bulletin Cup with a 2 & 1 victory. Munday
putted right-handed, left-handed and cross-handed. Sometimes he did this all
on the same green. In the semifinals Munday
defeated Reading Country Club head professional
Henry Poe 2&1 and Williams
eliminated an old foe, Felix Serafin 6&4.
The Philadelphia Section kept the stymie rule in effect for the tournament even
though the USGA had decided to discontinue it at the end of that year. In the
finals the stymie affected play on four holes with
Williams being stymied three times. First prize was $500 and
possession of the Evening Bulletin Trophy for one year.
The Wood Memorial was held on the third Monday of September at the
Jeffersonville Golf Club. The Eastern Open had just ended and the touring pros
were passing by on their way to the Reading Open so the tournament drew a very
strong field. There were nine touring pros entered.
Dave Douglas birdied five of the first eight holes and went on to
victory even though he hit his drive on #16 out of bounds. He finished with a
four under par 66 to edge out Charlie Lepre
(67) and California pro Jimmy Clark (67) by one stroke.
Johnny Moyer the head professional at the Schuylkill Country Club,
Merion Golf Club assistant Bob DeHaven
and Massachusettsí Bob Toski tied for fourth with 68s. First prize was $300
from a $1,000 purse.
In the third week of September the fifth annual Reading Open had a new venue.
The tournament was held at the Berkleigh Country Club and the host professional
was Henry Williams, Jr. Jim Turnesa led all
the way with rounds of 69-70-67 and even though he had a last round 74 his 280
total won by three strokes. Jack Burke, Jr. (283), whose father had been a
professional in the Philadelphia area, finished second with a last round of 68.
Skee Riegel and Jimmy Clark tied for third
at 285 and each won $1,300. They finished one-stroke in front of
Dave Douglas who tied for fifth with
Ted Kroll at 286.
They each and won $833.33. Rod Munday
(293) tied for 15th and won $235.
Williams (294) tied for 18th, winning $215.
Buddy Heckman (297), the head professional at
the Green Hills Country Club, finished 24th and won $150.
Johnny Moyer (299) tied for 29th and
won the last money prize of $50. Ed Oliver
would have been in the money but he disqualified himself when he discovered that
he had played a ball from "Out of Bounds" on the tenth hole. The purse was still
$15,000 but first prize was reduced from $2,600 to $2,400. As a result of the
changes in the payout thirty players won checks, which was eight more than the
year before. Three thousand spectators were on hand for the last round.
Even though he had just finished hosting and playing in the Reading Open at
his own club Henry Williams, Jr. won the
Philadelphia Open the next day in September at the Llanerch Country Club.
Williams had his problems with the front nine
each round but he mastered the back nine. On his two back nines, morning and
afternoon, he had eight birdies and ten pars. When it was all over
Williams had put together a 71 in the morning
and a 70 in the afternoon for a three under par 141 and a two-stroke victory.
Bud Lewis and Johnny
Moyer tied for second with 143s. Amateur Jimmy McHale (144)
was fourth, Charley Lepre (145) was fifth
and amateur Francis "Bo" Wininger (146) finished sixth. The winner
received $350 and the runner-ups each won $182.50. There were ten money places
and the total purse was $1,005.
The annual fall meeting of the Section and election of officers was held in
Philadelphia at the Broadwood Hotel on the third Monday of October.
Al MacDonald was reelected president.
Bill Boyle, the head professional at the Iron
Rock Golf Club, was elected first vice president and
Bud Lewis was reelected second vice president.
John Hayes and Walter
Brickley were reelected secretary and treasurer.
Ed Tabor was the sectional vice president.
Hayes reported that the Section had 187
members, third largest in the country. MacDonald
appointed Hayes, Harry Obitz, Clarence Ehresman
and Marty Lyons to a newly created advisory
board. The tournament schedule that year had been the largest ever put together
by the Section.
The Ryder Cup matches were played in Pinehurst, North Carolina on the
Pinehurst #2 course in early November. Ed Oliver,
Ben Hogan and Henry Ransom were on the team along with Sam Snead
who was the playing captain. It was the only Ryder Cup not played on
consecutive days. The teams attended a college football game in the middle of
the matches. A strong American team lived up to expectations and won easily
9-1/2 to 2-1/2.
In mid November Ben Hogan was selected "PGA Player-of-the-Year" for
the third time in four years. In 1949 when he didnít win he was recovering from
the automobile accident. The selection was made by a poll of sports writers and
broadcasters. Hogan received 85 percent of the votes even though he only
played in four tournaments. He won the Masters, U.S. Open, World Championship
and he was fourth at the Colonial. In one other start he shot a 65 the first
round of the Phoenix Open but had to withdraw due to illness. Hogan won
$20,400 in official money and averaged 70.00 strokes per round. The leading
money winner for the year was Lloyd Mangrum with $26,088. In eighth place on the
money list was Skee Riegel with $10,882.17
and Ed Oliver finished tenth with $9,959.17.
Dutch Harrison won $7,687.50 and ended up in
the nineteenth place. Ted
Kroll won $6,723.83 to finish twenty-fourth and
Dave Douglas was 28th with $5,900.
Mangrum also led the scoring with 70.05 strokes per round because Hogan
didnít play enough tournament rounds to be eligible for the award.
The national PGA meeting was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago at the end
of November. There were now 30 PGA Sections. Horton Smith, an outstanding
tournament player and club professional, was elected president. There was
surprise opposition to Smith when the PGA Tour representative
Dave Douglas nominated Harry Moffitt.
Smith was elected by 57 votes to 19 for Moffitt. Moffitt was elected secretary
over Harold Sargent and then Sargent was elected treasurer unopposed. Howard
Capps resigned as the PGA Tour tournament supervisor. Capps had been
an assistant at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club in the 1947 and 1948. The
delegates from the Philadelphia Section were Al
MacDonald and John Hayes.
The Philadelphia Section held an unusual mid-winter meeting on the third
Monday of December, The Sectionís delegates to the national meeting,
Al MacDonald and John
Hayes, reported on the meeting. The Section had been complimented at
the meeting for its continuation of the veteranís rehabilitation program and the
success of the program. The Korean War was being fought and just like World War
II there were wounded soldiers in need of rehabilitation.
Al MacDonald had followed Leo Diegel as
the Sectionís Rehabilitation Program and he jumped back into action.
MacDonald, his co-chairman
Angelo Paul and their committee of golf
professionals instructed 200 wounded veterans from the Naval Hospital at the
League Island Golf Course on how to hold and swing a golf club. They also
instructed 400 wounded veterans at the Valley Forge Hospital where the golf
course that the professionals and green superintendents had built was still in
operation. Golf Association of Philadelphia president, J. Wood Platt, was in
attendance and promised close cooperation with the PGA.
1952 - The PGA Seniorsí Championship was played at the PGA National Golf Club in
Dunedin, Florida in the second week of January. Portland, Maineís Ernie Newnham
won with a 75 and a 71 for 146. Al Watrous, who had won the tournament the last
two years, finished second at 147. Louis Chiapetta, Charley McKenna, Harry
Schwab and Phil Turnesa tied for fourth with 148s. Ed Dudley tied for 17th
with a 153. Harold Calloway (154), the head
professional at the Skytop Club and Al MacDonald
(153) tied for 23rd. There were 106 entries.
Ted Kroll won the $10,000 San Diego Open in the third week of
January. Kroll put together rounds of 65,
69, 72 and 70 for a twelve under par 276. The 65 in the first round was a course
record. The 65 was a remarkable score as Kroll
played most of the round in a driving rainstorm. The course was waterlogged
for all four rounds as the rain persisted. The other professionals in the
tournament described the 276 score close to a miracle. Jimmy Demaret finished
second at 279, three strokes off the winning pace. Jay Hebert and Jim Ferrier
tied for third with 282s. Skee Riegel (283)
and Ed Furgol (283) tied for fifth. Riegelís
last round of 70 was made up of eight birdies, six bogies and four pars. First
prize was $2,000.
At the Phoenix Open in February Dave Douglas
was reelected to the PGA Tour seven-man tournament committee. The next
election was scheduled to be held just prior to the PGAís annual meeting that
Henry Williams, Jr.
Runner-up 1950 PGA
Won 1952 Tucson Open
Henry Williams, Jr. won the $10,000 Tucson Open at the El Rio Golf
and Country Club in the first week of February. With a first round 68 he trailed
the leaders by just three strokes and a second round 65 moved him within one
stroke of the leaders. Skee Riegel was one
of the leaders with 68-64. On Saturday he grabbed a two-stroke lead with a par
round of 70 as thirty-five mile-per-hour winds made the scoring very difficult.
Riegel posted a 74. Sunday was another windy
day and Williams put together a steady 71
for a 274 total and a two-stroke victory. Cary Middlecoff came in with a 67, the
low round by two strokes on Sunday, and finished second with 276.
Riegel finished third at 278. Lloyd Mangrum,
Joe Moore and amateur Frank Stranahan tied for fourth with 279s. First prize was
$2,000. It was an accomplishment for a true club professional like
Williams to win a PGA Tour event. The PGA
Tour was now mostly composed of full time touring pros, some club professionals
who joined the tour for the winter events and the local pros that played when
the tour was nearby. Williams usually
managed to win $800 or $900 in three months on the Winter PGA Tour but 1952 was
certainly going to be better. He said that he usually didnít quite break even
but the experience was invaluable.
Sam Snead picked up a second green jacket at the Masters Tournament in
early April. Even though thirteen players broke par the first day only Snead
was under par at the end of 72 holes. The last two days the wind blew and
the scores soared. Snead won by four strokes with a 286. Sneadís
rounds were 70, 67, 77 and 72. Jack Burke, Jr. finished second at 290.
tied for third with Tommy Bolt and Jim Ferrier at
291. First prize was $4,000 and
(297), now the playing pro from the Pine Valley
Golf Club, Skee Riegel
(297) tied for 14th. They
each won $442.50. Joe
(298) tied for 19th and won $420.
(304), who was now back playing the PGA
Tour full time, and Dave
(304) tied for 30th. They each won $200.
The Sectionís spring meeting was held on the first Monday of April at the
Riverton Country Club. There were now 3,032 PGA members in the country and 194
Section members. A pro-pro tournament with the pros being paired by blind draw
preceded the meeting. The guest speaker was the treasurer of the PGA of America,
Harold Sargent. Willie Polumbo, the
tournament chairman and professional at the Kennett Square Golf & Country Club,
presented the members with the tournament schedule. There were 35 events and
Polumbo stated that there might be a few
The week after the Masters Tournament Dave Douglas
won the $10,000 Greensboro Open at the Starmount Forest Country Club. After
a disappointing 73 in the opening round Douglas
came through with a course record 64 in the second round. That put him in
position to win as he trailed the leader Ed Oliver
by just one stroke. He shot a steady round of 71 in the third round and a
last round 69 produced a seven under par 277. This allowed him to edge out Bobby
Locke by one stroke. Oliver, Sam Snead and
Jim Ferrier tied for third at 279. Snead was in the lead playing the
par-three 17th hole but a four over par seven ended his chance of
winning. Snead played the hole in five strokes and he was also assessed a
two-stroke penalty for taking a penalty drop from a lateral hazard that was
nearer the hole than it should have been. Art Wall
(280), who played the PGA Tour from the Pocono Manor Golf Club led after
the third round and finished sixth alone, one stroke in front of
Skee Riegel (281). First prize was
Qualifying for the PGA Championship was at the Torresdale-Frankford Country
Club on the third Monday in May. Charley Lepre
brought in the low score with a 147. Lepre
turned in a one under par 70 in the morning and he came back with a 77 in
the afternoon. There were forty starters and Lepre
had the only sub-par round. Rod Munday,
Walter Brickley and
Johnny Weitzel who was now the head professional at the Hershey
Country Club tied for second with 148s. Henry Williams,
Jr. turned in a 150 to win the fifth spot. Atlantic City Country Club
head professional Buck Worsham also made the
grade with a 151. There were seven openings (one for every 28 Section members)
and three players tied for seventh with 152s. On the next Monday Bala Driving
Range professional John Lewis (73) grabbed
the last spot by defeating Felix Serafin
(76) and Tony Midiri (79), who operated the
Swing Rite Driving Range with his brother Paul,
in an 18-hole playoff. Dave Douglas, Ted Kroll
and Ed Oliver were exempt off having
been in the top thirty on the 1951 PGA Tour money list.
Art Wall, Johnny Weitzel and Henry
Williams, Jr. qualified for the U.S. Open at the Woodcrest Country
Club on the first Monday in June. Wall was
low with 71-70 for 141. Weitzel turned in a
144 and Williams posted a 145. There was a
record 1,688 entries in the country, which meant about one in twelve would
qualify to join the exempt players in Dallas. Dave
Douglas, Al Besselink and Skee Riegel
were exempt by having been in the top twenty in the U.S. Open the
Ted Kroll, George Fazio and Bo Wininger,
who was now a professional playing out of the Atlantic City Country
Club, also qualified for the U.S. Open in St. Louis on the first Tuesday
of June. Wininger finished second with a 136
and Kroll tied for 6th at 142.
Fazio got under the wire with a 145. The
medalist was Fred Haas, Jr. with a 133.
Ed Oliver qualified for the U.S. Open on the first Tuesday of June
also. Oliver grabbed one of eight spots at
the St. Andrews Country Club near Chicago, with a 70 and a 72 for 142. Sam
Bernardi led with a 140 and the 143s played off. There were eight spots in
The PGA and Life Magazine cosponsored the first National Golf Day. As
the defending U.S. Open champion Ben Hogan shot a target round at the
Northwood Club in Dallas, site of that yearís championship. Golfers from all
parts of the country paid $1 each for the opportunity to compete against
Hogan using their handicaps on their own course. The ones who won received a
badge saying, "I Beat the Champion". Eighty thousand dollars was raised for
In the first week of June Dave Douglas
picked up his second win of year on the PGA Tour. It came at the $15,000 Ardmore
Open at the Dornick Hills Country Club in Ardmore, Oklahoma. The touring pros
called it the "Poor Boys Open" because it was usually scheduled with poor dates
and leading money winners werenít entered. Waco Turner, a wealthy oilman, owned
the course and sponsored the tournament. First prize was $2,400 but before the
tournament started Turner added another $3,000 to the first prize. He also paid
out bonus money in the form of $10 for all birdies, $100 for daily low rounds,
$5 for each stroke under par in a round and $250 for eagles.
Douglas put together steady rounds of 70, 68,
69 and 72 for a one under par 279. The host pro Dutch Harrison, finished
second at 281 just missing out on a large bonus. His employer, Turner, had said
that he would pay a $6,000 bonus if his pro won the tournament. Lloyd Mangrum
(282) and Julius Boros (283) finished third and fourth.
Al Besselink, Ted Kroll
and Roberto De Vicenzo tied for fifth with 284s. Harrison had been a
member of the Philadelphia Section the year before.
Once again George Fazio and
put together very good
U.S. Opens. The Open
was played at the Northwood Club in Dallas during the second week of June.
opened with a 71 and added on a second round 69. That put him in second place
two strokes behind Ben Hogan going into the last dayís 36-hole finish. A
pair of 75s left Fazio
(290) in fifth place as Julius Boros
handled the Texas heat better than everyone else. Boros won by four strokes with
rounds of 71, 71, 68 and 71 for a 281. Ed
shot a 70 and a 72 the last day to place second by himself at 285.
Hogan (286) finished third and Johnny Bulla (287) was fourth. First
prize from the $14,900 purse was $4,000.
$2,500 and Fazio
tied for seventh at 292 and won $350.
Bo Wininger (298),
Henry Williams, Jr. (304), Johnny Weitzel
(308) made the cut and each won $100.
and Dave Douglas
missed the cut.
The PGA Championship was played in Louisville, Kentucky at the Big Spring
Country Club and qualifying began four days after the U.S. Open ended. At that
time the PGA always gave the host pro an exemption into the tournament. As the
U.S. Open winner Julius Boros was invited to play in the PGA Championship even
though he wasnít a PGA member yet. To invite Boros the PGA by-laws were
temporarily changed. Boros played a practice round but he then decided to
withdraw because of the controversy his invitation had created among the pros.
Henry Williams, Jr. shot a 138 to finish
third in the qualifying and Dave Douglas was
one stroke behind at 139. The medalist with a 136 was Dutch Harrison, who
was now the pro at a club in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Ted
Kroll (142) and Charley Lepre
(145) also made it safely. There were 64 places on the match play ladder to
qualify for and the 147 scores played off. It was the lowest qualifying cutoff
score in the history of the PGA Championship. There were twelve players at 147
for nine spots and one of those was Johnny
Weitzel, who was eliminated on the first hole.
Rod Munday, Buck Worsham, John Lewis, Walter Brickley
and Ed Oliver also failed to make it
through the on-site qualifying test. The first two rounds of matches were 18
holes each and after that the matches were 36 holes.
Lepre lost in the first round to
Chandler Harper 6&5. Douglas won his first
round match against Johnny Palmer 2&1 and lost in the second round to Walter
Burkemo one-down. Williams won two matches
as he beat Jim Gantz 5&4 and Jack Jones one-down. In the third round
Williams was defeated 6&5 by Chick Harbert.
Kroll made it all the way to the semifinals
before losing to Jim Turnesa 4&2. To get to the semis
Kroll defeated Lawson Little one-down, Lloyd Mangrum two-down, Ray
Hansberger 2&1 and Cary Middlecoff in 38 holes. After 26 years of second place
finishes in major professional tournaments by the Turnesa brothers Jim Turnesa
came through with a victory. In the finals Turnesa defeated Harbert one-down.
Harbert had beaten Bob Hamilton 2&1 in the semifinals. The purse was $17,700 and
first prize was $3,500.
Another Philadelphia product, Al Besselink,
won on the PGA Tour at the Sioux City Open in late July. It was the first
win on the PGA Tour for Besselink. He
opened with a 65 on the 6,506 yard Elmwood Country Club course to lead by two
strokes. In the next two rounds Besselink
added a 70 and a 67 to trail by three strokes. A last round eight under par 64,
which included two eagle 3s and a back nine 31, brought him in with a four
stroke victory over Jerry Barber (270).
Besselink represented various clubs around the country from time to
time but he always had a home in Merchantville, New Jersey. The tournament purse
was $15,000 and first prize was $2,400. Jim Turnesa and Jimmy Clark tied for third
1952 Section Champion
Pat Tiso was the medalist at the Section Championship. His 67 tied
the tournament record for the Shawnee Inn & Country Club as eight players
finished under the par of 72. The tournament was played in the third week of
August and Harry Obitz was the host pro
again. There were 72 entries and the low 64 qualified for the match play rounds.
An old name but a new face won the title. John Serafin,
the 23-year-old son of Felix Serafin and
the head professional at the Elk View Country Club, outlasted a former winner
Matt Kowal in the final round that went 38
holes. Kowal made a 20-foot birdie putt on
the 36th hole to send the match into overtime. In the sudden death
playoff both players parred the first hole and then
Serafin holed a four-foot birdie putt on the par five second extra
hole to wrap up the win. In the semifinals Serafin
eliminated Charley Lepre 3&1 and
Kowal sent home the defending champion
Rod Munday by the margin of 3&2.
On the first Sunday of September Ted Kroll
caught and passed Skee Riegel to win the
first Insurance City Open. On day one of the tournament
Riegel and Art Wall
had each posted five under par 66s over the Wethersfield Country Club to
lead by one stroke. Riegel put together a 67
in the second round to lead the field by four strokes and he posted a steady 71
on Saturday, which allowed him to stay in front by two. On Sunday the remains of
a hurricane blew in while the players were on the back nine. The winds were
strong enough to uproot several small trees around the golf course.
Kroll had played the front nine in 31
strokes and he got around the back nine in par 36 for an eleven under par 273.
Riegel (276) turned in a 73 and finished
tied for second with Lawson Little (276) and Earl Stewart (276).
Krollís four rounds were 69, 70, 67 and 67.
First prize was $2,400 and the purse totaled $15,000.
The 15th Frank H. Wood
Memorial tournament was played at the Jeffersonville Golf Club on the second
Monday of September. The tournament was held each year in memory of
Jeffersonvilleís pro Frank Wood who had died from
pneumonia at the age of 32 in 1934. The one-day tournament attracted a
strong field as the touring pros were on their way from Albany where the Empire
State Open had just been played to the Eastern Open in Baltimore. The tournament
ended in tie as Al Besselink and Tommy Bolt
posted five under par 65s, just missing Ed Dudleyís course record of 64.
There was no playoff and they were declared co-champions.
Rod Munday finished third with a 66 and
Terl Johnson was next at 67.
Besselink and Bolt each picked up $275. There
were 92 pros in the field and some of the other name pros were
Ed Oliver, Dave Douglas, George Fazio,
Marty Furgol, Bob Duden, Dow Finsterwald and Jimmy Clark. On Tuesday the
amateurs competed in the amateur division. Eighteen-year-old Bob Schoener,
Jr., who had won the Pennsylvania Public Links Championship that summer,
produced a 65 of his own. Jimmy McHale and Leo Heller tied for second
George Fazio won a second Philadelphia Open on the fourth Monday
of September at the North Hills Country Club. Fazio
started off with a four over par nine on the second hole but hung in to
finish with a three over par 74 total for his morning round. In the afternoon
Fazio put together a 69.
Fazioís 143 score gave him the Philly Open
title by one stroke. That was Fazioís first
appearance in the tournament since he won in 1949. Ken
Gibson and reinstated amateur Howard Everitt tied for second
with 144s. Charley Lepre was next in fourth
place with a 146. Rod Munday,
Mike Souchak the playing professional from the
Valley Forge Golf Club, and amateur Wes Steinman tied for fifth with 147s. The
entry was one of the largest in the history of the tournament. First prize was
George Griffin, Jr.
Won 1952 Pennsylvania Open
Won 1953 Philadelphia Open
The Pennsylvania Open was held at the St. Davids Golf Club and the Gulph
Mills Golf Club on the first Monday of October. At the conclusion of the one-day
36-hole championship George Griffin, Jr. and
a 23-year old amateur, Arnold Palmer, were tied at 143. Palmer was on a
three-day leave from the Coast Guard.
Griffin (69 GM-74 SD) and Palmer (71 GM-72 SD)
both encountered problems at SDGC on two holes that were thought by the members
to be among the easier ones.
Griffin came to the short 18th hole at SDGC in
position to finish with what looked to be a good chance to win. (It was
difficult to tell with half of the field playing the other course in each
put his second shot in the front bunker, played his third shot onto the green
and then three-putted for a double-bogey six. In Palmerís round he had made a
double-bogey on the short par three 6th-hole. By the time that
all of the scores were tabulated from the two courses it was dark.
Griffin had the $500 first place money in hand
and the next day he picked up the title as well by defeating Palmer in an
18-hole playoff at Gulph Mills with a 73 versus a 76 for Palmer. The 23-year-old
Palmer wasnít well known in eastern Pennsylvania but he had already won the West
Penn Amateur five times. Ken Gibson was
close again with a third place finish. George Fazio
tied for fourth with the defending champion Johnny Bulla at 146.
Art Wall, Mike
Souchak and Leo Anderson tied for sixth with 147s.
In the second week of October the Valley Forge Cup was played at the Plymouth
Country Club. The tournament format was selective drive from the first tee and
alternate stroke from there on. The two-man teams were made up of pros and
amateurs who had been paired by a blind draw. In one semifinal match the team of
Tony Midiri and
Aroniminkís George Rowbotham defeated Bill Boyle
and Green Valleyís Sam Robinson 3&2. In the other match
Mike Souchak and Newarkís Ellis Taylor
eliminated Henry Poe and Plymouthís Doug
Bradley. In the 36-hole finals Midiri and
Rowbotham soundly defeated Souchak and
Taylor by the count of 6&4.
The annual meeting of the Philadelphia Section was held at the Atlantic City
Country Club on the third Monday of October. There was a pro-pro event in the
afternoon and dinner was served at 6:00. The meeting was held after the dinner.
Henry Poe was elected president. The
election of Poe was a little unusual since
he had never been an officer or served on a committee in the Section but he had
been hand picked by his predecessor Al MacDonald.
Bill Boyle was reelected first vice president and
Willie Polumbo was elected second vice
president. John Hayes and
Walter Brickley were reelected secretary and
treasurer. Ed Tabor was the vice president
Bill Moran won the Section Stroke Play Championship in late
October. The first round was played at the Tavistock Country Club and the second
round was at the Brandywine Country Club. Moran
(143) put together a 74 at Tavistock and a 69 at Brandywine to win by two
strokes. Terl Johnson and
George Griffin, Jr. tied for second with 145s.
The national meeting of the PGA was in Chicago at the Sheraton Hotel during
mid November. A proposal to change the PGA Championship was presented to the
delegates. The change called for 72 holes of stroke play in two days with the
low 15 going into match play with the defending champion. The club pros were
opposed to this, as it would be more difficult for one of them to win.
Dave Douglas, the national vice-president
representing the PGA Tour thought it would be too much golf. The proposal was
defeated 46 to 7. A vote, that did pass but by the slim margin of 33 to 32, was
for authorization to move the national office from Chicago to Dunedin. A
committee was appointed to revive the PGA Hall of Fame. Another committee was
formed to work with the National Golf Foundation to encourage the construction
of more golf courses. President Horton Smith, Secretary Harry Moffitt and
Treasurer Harold Sargent were all reelected. Henry Poe
and John Hayes were the Sectionís
delegates to the PGA meeting. They had been elected as the delegates to
represent the Section at the fall meeting in October.
Julius Boros was voted the "PGA Player-of-the-Year" and he was the leading
money winner on the PGA Tour with $37,032. He led Cary Middlecoff by more than
$6,000. Ted Kroll led the Philadelphia
Section pros with $17,500.00 as he placed fifth on the money list.
Dave Douglas was seventh on the list with
$15,173.33. Ed Oliver was in tenth place on
the money list, Al Besselink finished
fourteenth and Skee Riegel ended up in
sixteenth place. Oliver won $13,359.17,
Besselink took home $10,004.16 and
Riegel earned $9,820.84. Jack Burke, Jr. won
the Vardon Trophy with an average of 70.54 strokes for 78 official rounds. The
total prize money on the PGA Tour that year added up to more than $600,000.
1953 - The PGA Seniorís Championship was won by Harry Schwab in mid January at
Dunedin. A first round 66, which was a tournament record, gave him a commanding
lead and a second round 76 gave him a total of 142 and the title. Schwab
finished three strokes in front of Gene Sarazen (145), who was eligible for the
tournament for the first time, and Charles McKenna (145). Harry Schwab was the
father of Pat Schwab who would later win a number of tournaments in the
Philadelphia Section in the early 1960s. Bill Goldbeck, Ralph Beech and
John Watson tied for fourth with 146s. Al MacDonald
tied for 16th with a 152.
As usual the Masters Tournament was played in the first full week of April at
the Augusta National Golf Club. Ben Hogan won a second Masters in record
fashion with a 274. He led by one at the halfway point with rounds of 70
and 69, and he never looked back. In the third round Hogan and
Ed Oliver were paired together. Hogan
shot a 66 and Oliver put together a 67.
Their better-ball score for the round was 59. It was described by some as the
greatest two-man competitive round in golf history. The 66 gave Hogan a
four-stroke lead over Oliver. In the final
round Oliver picked up one stroke with a
front nine 35 but Hogan birdied the 13th after reaching the
green in two and he led by four again. Hogan then birdied fifteen
and eighteen for a 69 and a total of 274. Oliver
finished with a 70, which put him in second place five shots back at 279.
Lloyd Mangrum (282) and Bob Hamilton (284) finished third and fourth.
Al Besselink finished in ninth place with a
288. Skee Riegel tied for 29th
(297) and George Fazio tied for 51st
(305) ended up below the top money places and received the guaranteed money of
$200. At the presentation ceremony Bobby Jones announced that the prize money
was being doubled which brought the total purse to $26,000. First prize was
$4,000 and second was $2,500. Besselink won
$600 and everyone who finished worse than 23rd received $200 each.
Joe Kirkwood, Jr. withdrew after nine holes and
he also received $200.
RU in all 3 U.S. Major Championships
Member of 3 Ryder Cup Teams
The Sectionís spring meeting was held at the
Broadwood Hotel in Philadelphia on the second Monday of April. The Section now
had 217 members and 90 attended the meeting. The tournament chairman
Willie Polumbo presented the tournament
schedule to the members. They all signed a "get well" card for Babe Zaharias who
was recovering from cancer surgery in a hospital in Beaumont, Texas. A
representative from "Life" magazine attended the meeting to present the plans
for National Golf Day that was on May 23.
In the fourth week of April Al Besselink
won the $35,000 Tournament of Champions at the Desert Inn Country Club in Las
Vegas. It was the first year that the tournament was held. The field was made up
of 20 professionals, all tournament winners in the last twelve months. The only
tournament winner who wasnít there was Ben Hogan.
Besselinkís rounds of 72, 68, 68 and 72 for an eight under par 280
won by one stroke. He holed a six-foot par putt on the last green to edge out
Chandler Harper (281). Besselink was paid
off with a wheelbarrow filled with silver dollars. He also had bet $500 on
himself at 25 to 1, which put another $12,500 in his pocket.
Because he had just heard that Babe Zaharias had been diagnosed with cancer he
donated half of his $10,000 first prize to the Damon Runyan Cancer Fund.
Besselink and Zaharias had won the
International Two-Ball Championship at Orlando in February 1952. Cary Middlecoff,
Johnny Palmer, Lloyd Mangrum and Lew Worsham tied for third at 285.
Winner of 1st Tournament of Champions
Paid 10,000 in silver dollars from a wheelbarrow
On the last Monday in May George Fazio
toured the Reading Country Club twice in 69-66 for a seven under par 135 to
qualify for the PGA Championship. Henry Williams, Jr.
finished one stroke higher at 136 and Johnny
Weitzel shot 139. Next in line was Charley
Lepre, the new head professional at the Tavistock Country Club, with
a 142. Stan Dudas ended up in fifth place
with a 144. The last two places went to Rod Munday
and Angelo Paul who both turned in
145s. Ed Oliver and
Dave Douglas were exempt off having been among
the top 30 money winners on the PGA Tour in 1952.
Qualifying for the U.S. Open was held at the North Hills Country Club and the
Manufacturers Golf & Country Club on the first Monday in June. The USGA had come
up with a new qualifying method. Twice as many qualifying places were up for
grabs at the local level. A total of 299 exempt players and local qualifiers
would advance to Pittsburgh for a second qualifier at the site of the Open.
There were 1,649 entries. The Philadelphia region had fifteen spots.
Dave Douglas (136) set a hot pace with a 69 at
North Hills and a 67 at Manufacturers to lead a large field by five strokes.
Amateur Harry Haverstick and amateur Lynn Creason grabbed the second and third
spots with a 141 and a 143. Three other Section members who made the grade were
Johnny Weitzel at 144,
Charley Lepre at 146 and Henry Williams, Jr.
at 147. Paul Midiri and
Bud Lewis posted 148s to tie for eighth.
Bob Schoener, Jr., assistant to his father at the Green Pond Golf
Club, Walter Brickley and a future Section
member, amateur Joe Hoch, were at
149. John Serafin along with amateurs
Don Weiland and Alex Sott tied for the last three spots with 150s. They survived
a sudden-death playoff with three other players.
The first alternate was amateur Dick Chapman, who later got in as an
alternate. Ed Oliver and
George Fazio were exempt off their 2nd and 5th
place showings in the 1952 Open as the top twenty and ties were exempt. The
entry fee was $10. John Lewis, who had shot
a 151 in the qualifying round, got in as the fourth alternate when the USGA
allotted another spot to Philadelphia. Lewis
received a wire from the USGA the afternoon before the U.S. Open was getting
under way. He was able to make it to Pittsburgh in
time for the on-site prequalifying event that was beginning the next day.
On that same first Monday of June Art Wall
and Al Besselink qualified in St.
Louis for the U.S. Open. With the help of an afternoon 65
Wall qualified with a 142, which was just one
stroke off the leader. Gardner Dickinson led the qualifiers with a 141.
Besselink also made the grade with strokes to
spare with a 143. A score of 148 qualified there. The PGA Tour had been in St.
Louis so the players were competing for 25 places in the Open.
Mike Souchak also qualified for the U.S. Open on the first Monday
of June at the Winged Foot Golf Club in New York. He posted scores of 72 and 78
for a 150 that tied for 11th on Winged Foot Golf Clubís East and West
courses. There were 22 spots in New York. Mickey Homa led with a 140 and the 152
scores played off.
The U.S. Open was held near Pittsburgh at the Oakmont Country Club in the
second week of June. The 299 professionals and amateurs who had either qualified
locally or had exemption status were all now required to play a second 36-hole
on-site qualifier. The qualifier was held on Tuesday and Wednesday and play in
the championship began on Thursday. They played one round at Oakmont and one
round at The Pittsburgh Field Club. The 150 lowest scores and ties qualified and
all scores of 156 or better made the grade. The ties were not played off and 157
players advanced to the championship. California pro Jimmy Clark led with a 136.
Eight professionals from the Philadelphia region qualified.
Al Besselink and Ed
Oliver led the Philadelphia contingent with 146s, one stroke ahead of
Johnny Weitzel (147).
George Fazio posted a 150 and Mike Souchak
was next at 151. Dave Douglas and
Henry Williams, Jr. turned in 155s and
Art Wall made it on the cut number at 156.
Walter Brickley, Charlie Lepre,
Bud Lewis, John Lewis, Paul Midiri, Bob Schoener, Jr.
and John Serafin didnít make it through
the on-site second qualifying rounds.
When the U.S. Open got under way Ben Hogan went right to the front
with a five-under-par 67. George Fazio was
in second place with a 70. After two rounds Fazio
was still in second place two strokes behind Hogan who around in 72
strokes. With the usual double round on Saturday Hogan stayed
close to par with a 73 and a 71 to win a fourth U.S. Open by six strokes with a
score of 283. Sam Snead (289) ended up in second place and Lloyd Mangrum
(292) finished third. Fazio had another
solid Open with a tie for fourth at 294 with Jimmy Demaret and Pete Cooper. The
prize money was increased by $5,000 to $20,400. First prize was $5,000 and
Fazio won $816.67. Art
Wall (301) tied for 26th, winning $150 and
Ed Oliver (316), who was near the end of the
money list won $150 also. Johnny Weitzel, Mike Souchak,
Henry Williams, Jr., Dave Douglas and
Al Besselink missed the cut.
Six wins on PGA Tour
The Pennsylvania Open was held at the Hershey Country Club on the Monday
after the U.S. Open ended. The town of Hershey was celebrating its 50th
anniversary. For the first time since 1938 there were entries from outside
Pennsylvania. There were seven full or part time touring pros entered among the
80 entries. The first prize left the state as Bo Wininger, now playing
out of Oklahoma City, grabbed the title with a 71-72 for a three-under-par 143.
It was his first victory as a professional. The defending champion,
George Griffin, Jr., and Jim Coleman, an
assistant at Oakmont Country Club, tied for second at 144. Lew Worsham finished
fourth one stroke farther back at 145. Smiley Quick, playing out of Los
Angeles and the host professional Johnny Weitzel
tied for fifth with 146s. The purse was $2,300 and first prize was $1,000.
The PGA Championship was played near Detroit at the Birmingham Country Club
in the first week of July. Seven of the nine Philadelphia Section pros qualified
for the match play as Johnny Palmer led with 134.
George Fazio and
Rod Munday qualified with 143s.
Ed Oliver posted a solid 145.
Dave Douglas, Stan Dudas and
Johnny Weitzel all posted 148s.
Henry Williams, Jr. (149) squeezed in through a
seven-man for four places playoff. Angelo Paul
and Charley Lepre missed qualifying. The
first two rounds of matches were 18 holes and matches after that were each 36
holes. Oliver, Dudas, Munday, Fazio and
Weitzel were put out in the first round and
three of them lost in extra holes. Dudas
went out at the hand of Iverson Martin by 6&5. Munday
lost to Leonard Dodson 3&1. Fazio went
extra holes with Broyles Plemmons and lost on the 22nd hole.
Weitzel also went extra holes and lost to Ed
Furgol on the 20th hole. Williams
put out Oliver in the first round on the 20th
hole and he defeated Charlie Bassler 3&1 in the second round before losing by
4&3 to Jimmy Clark in the third round. Douglas
won three matches to advance to the quarterfinals and all three went extra
holes, which tied a tournament record. In the first round
Douglas took out Lew Worsham in 20 holes, in
the second round he defeated Sam Snead on the 19th hole and in
the third round he eliminated Jackson Bradley in 37 holes.
Douglas lost two-down in the quarter-finals to
Walter Burkemo. The new PGA champion was Burkemo who had lost in the finals in
1951. This time he stepped up and grabbed the major title by defeating Felice
Torza 2 & 1. In the semifinals Torza beat Jack Isaacs in 39 holes and Burkemo
defeated Claude Harmon one-down. The purse was $20,700 and first prize was
One day after the PGA Championship came to a conclusion the British Open got
under way at the Carnoustie Golf Club in Angus, Scotland. The people that Ben
Hogan trusted had been telling him that his career would be more complete if
he could win the British Open so he decided to enter for the first time. Since
the PGA Championship was more golf than his damaged legs could manage it made
his decision to enter much easier. Hogan arrived ten days early in order
to get to know the course, which was considered to be the most difficult of the
British Open venues. Also he needed to adapt his game to the smaller 1.62
British golf ball versus 1.68 inch American ball. Hogan began with a one
over par 73 in the first round and he turned in a lower score in each round. The
second day he shot a 71 and the third day, which called for 36-holes, he was
around in 70-68. His 282 total brought him home four strokes in front of four
players. Peter Thomson, Antonio Cerda, Dai Rees and amateur Frank Stranahan tied
for second at 286. First prize was 500 British Pounds. The victory made Hogan
the first player to win three modern major titles in one season.
The week after the U.S. Open Dave Douglas
won the Canadian Open at the Scarboro Golf Club in Toronto. He started with a
68, 70 and 69 to trail the leader by four strokes entering the last round. With
three holes to go he was still trailing but a birdie, birdie, birdie finish for
a 66 gave him a 273 and put him one stroke up on Wally Ulrich (274). First prize
from the $15,000 purse was $3,000. Dutch Harrison finished third at 276.
Gardner Dickinson and Canadian Pat Fletcher tied for fourth with 277s. This was
the forty-fourth Canadian Open and it was the fifteenth time that a professional
who either was or would be a Philadelphia Section member won the tournament.
Won the 1953 Canadian Open
Member 1953 Ryder Cup Team
Won eight times on the PGA Tour
Ed Oliver won the $17,500 Kansas City Open near Kansas City,
Missouri in the fourth week of July. The tournament was played near Kansas City
at the Milburn Golf & Country Club. Oliver
led the first day with a seven under par 65. The next two days he tacked on a 69
and a 70. On Sunday Oliver turned in another
65 for 269 and a two-stroke win over Marty Furgol (271).
Oliver had shot a 62 in the tournament on
the same course in 1950. First prize was $3,000. Earl Stewart finished third at
273. Bo Wininger, Lloyd Mangrum and Jim Turnesa tied for fourth with
274s. Art Wall
(276) made seven birdies on the front nine to help himself move up to seventh
place with a 67.
In the second week of August a golf tournament was televised to a national
audience for the first time. George S. Mayís World Championship, which was held
at his Tam OíShanter Country Club in Chicago, was televised by ABC. The TV
viewers were treated to an unbelievable conclusion when Lew Worsham holed out a
pitching-wedge shot from 140-yards on the 72nd hole to edge out
Chandler Harper by one stroke. Harper had just holed a two-foot birdie putt on
the 72nd hole to finish with a total of 279, which looked like the
winning score. Worsham, playing right behind Harper, then holed his wedge shot
for an eagle two, to finish at 278. First prize was $25,000, which was more than
the total purse at any PGA Tour event that year. Second place paid $15,000.
Al Besselink, who was paired with Harper, ended
up in third place at 281 and won $5,000. Cary Middlecoff, Jim Ferrier and Fred
Haas, Jr. tied for fourth with 282 totals. Coincidentally Lew Worsham also won
the first televised golf tournament when he won the 1947 U.S. Open, which was
aired locally in St. Louis. The tournament carried a total purse of $75,000 of
which $12,000 went to the womenís division that was being held at the same time.
The Ryder Cup team was named in early August. The Philadelphia Sectionís
Ed Oliver and Dave
Douglas were selected along with former Section members Sam Snead
and Ted Kroll. There was concern that the U.S.A. wasnít sending its
strongest team. Dutch Harrison and Ben Hogan earned places on the
team but declined the invitations. Harrison didnít want to travel that
far and Hogan didnít feel that he could play 36 holes in a day. The
executive committee of the PGA replaced them with Jim Turnesa and Walter Burkemo,
the 1952 and 1953 PGA champions.
Art Wall picked up his first win on the PGA Tour at the $15,000
Ft. Wayne Open in mid August. He played his first nine on the Elks Country Club
in 30 and put together rounds of 66, 66, 68 and 65 to tie Cary Middlecoff for
the top spot at the end of 72 holes. In the last round
Wall had two eagle twos when he holed out his second shots on short
par fours and he made a ten-foot birdie putt on the last hole to get the tie.
Their 265 totals were twenty-three under par. The next day
Wall shot a 70 in the playoff against a 72 for
Middlecoff to win by two strokes and earn the $2,400 first prize.
Dave Douglas was alone in third place with a
267 one stroke ahead of Jimmy Clark (268). Ed Oliver
finished fifth at 269.
Henry Williams, Jr.
The Section Championship was at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club again, in the
third week of August. George Griffin, Jr.,
the son of the 1931 Section champion George Griffin,
Sr., was the medalist with a five-under-par 67. This was the first
year that he was eligible for the Section Championship. There were 78 entries
and the low 64 qualified for the match play. The host was
Harry Obitz who won two matches. The finalists were
Pete DíAngelis, the head professional at the
Plymouth Country Club, and Henry Williams, Jr.
In the semifinals DíAngelis made a
hole-in-one with a #5 iron on the "punch bowl"
twelfth hole and a birdie 2 with a four-foot putt on the long eighteenth
to defeat Jack Robinson one-down.
Robinson and Griffin
were assistants at the Green Valley Country Club. In the other semifinal
match Williams played sub-par golf to defeat
a former Section champion Terl Johnson 4&3.
In the 36-hole finals DíAngelis won the
first four holes but Williams came back to
defeat DíAngelis by 3&2.
Williams was six-under-par for the day. It was
the second Section Championship title for Williams.
1953 Section Champion
In late August the PGA Hall of Fame was revived and
three of the greatest golf professionals of all time were selected. The nationís
sportswriters and sportscasters picked Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and
Byron Nelson from a list of eleven nominees.
On the second Monday of September
George Griffin, Jr.
added the Philadelphia Open crown to his
victory at the Pennsylvania Open the previous year. The tournament was played at
his home course where his father, George Griffin, Sr.
was the head professional. Griffin, Sr.
had won the Philadelphia Open in 1932. High winds and firm greens
made the scoring difficult for the101 entries. There were only two rounds of par
71 shot all day. Griffinís
75-71 for 146 nipped George Fazio (147) by
one stroke. Bud Lewis and
Ralph Hutchison tied for third
with 152s. The purse was $1,000 and first prize was $350. Eight pros received
On the third weekend in September the ten-man Ryder Cup team played a
challenge match at the Reading Country Club. The event was put together to raise
money for the trip to Great Britain and to reimburse the pros for lost paydays.
Dave Douglas and Ed
Oliver were on the Ryder Cup team. There
was a strong team of challengers captained by Jimmy Demaret and made up of pros
that almost made the team. George Fazio, Henry
Williams, Jr. and Al Besselink
played for the challengers. The 20 pros participated in a pro-am at the
Berkshire Country Club the day before the challenge match. On Saturday they
played five better-ball matches. The next morning they played five scotch
foursomes matches and in the afternoon there were ten singles matches. The Ryder
Cup Team defeated the challengers 12 1/2 to 7 1/2 but the fundraiser was the
focus. The Ryder Cup Team members each received $850 and the challengers were
paid $400 apiece. Another $2,500 was raised to help defray the teamís expenses.
The team members were then off to the Concord Hotel in the Catskill Mountains
for practice and a farewell dinner before taking a flight to London.
The Ryder Cup matches were held at the Wentworth Golf Club in early October.
The American team was thought to be a little weak since Ben Hogan and
Dutch Harrison who had made the team were not there. Harrison
declined to travel overseas and Hogan declined, saying that the 36-hole
matches were too much for his legs. The British team had a great opportunity to
win but two four-foot putts that were missed on the final green gave the
Americans a 6-1/2 to 5-1/2 win. Ed Oliver
and Dave Douglas were paired together in the
foursomes the first day and they won an important point. On the second day in
the last match on the course Douglas picked
up a tie in his singles match as a result of one of the missed putts on the home
green. Sam Snead and Ted Kroll were also on the team.
The annual meeting of the Philadelphia Section was at the Atlantic City
Country Club on the first Monday of October. A pro-pro tournament was held in
the afternoon and the meeting was in the evening. There was a scratch pro-am the
next day. Henry Poe was reelected president.
Bill Boyle was reelected first vice
president and Leo Fraser, owner and
president of the Atlantic City Country Club, was elected second vice
president. John Hayes was reelected
secretary and Walt Silkworth, the head
professional at the Rydal Country Club, was elected treasurer.
Walter Brickley, who had been first
elected in 1935, stepped down after nineteen years as the treasurer.
Brickley was also the secretary for the first
five of those years. Ed Tabor and
Harry Obitz were vice presidents at-large.
Section Treasurer 19 years
Section Sectary 5 of those years
Dave Douglas was reelected to the PGA
Tournament Committee in the second week of October. He had been on the committee
for three years. For three years he had been the chairman of the committee which
made him a vice-president of the PGA of America. As the vice-president he
represented the PGA Tour at the PGA of Americaís national meeting.
The PGA of Americaís annual meeting was held in Detroit at the
Sheraton-Cadillac Hotel during the second week of November. President Horton
Smith, Secretary Harry Moffitt and Treasurer Harold Sargent were reelected
without opposition. The delegates voted down a proposal to change their
championship from match play to stroke play. Ben Hogan received the "PGA
Player-of-the-Year" award. It was the fourth time he had won the award in the
six years of its existence. Harry Radix, who the scoring average trophy had been
named for at one time, accepted the award for Hogan. The PGA announced
that $68,000 had been raised and given out to various charities and golf
projects. Henry Poe and
John Hayes were the delegates to the
The leading money winner on the PGA Tour was Lew Worsham with $34,002.00.
Ed Oliver was seventh on the list with
$18,125.14 and Dave Douglas was 17th
with winnings of $13,363.25. Art Wall
finished 20th winning $10,839.05 and Al
Besselink was 21st with winnings of
$10,386.33. The scoring leader for the Vardon Trophy was Lloyd Mangrum with
70.22 strokes per round.
The year ended with 5,026 golf courses in the country. Of those courses 2,970
were private. There were 665 less courses than there were in 1931 and there were
also 1,458 less private courses. The Great Depression and World War II had taken
a toll on golf.
1954 - In late January a familiar name, Gene Sarazen, won the PGA Seniorsí
Championship at Dunedin, Florida. The tournament had been expanded to three
rounds and Sarazen won with a two-under-par 214. Sarazen won with rounds of 67,
72 and 75 at the PGA National Golf Club. Perry Del Vecchio and Al Watrous tied
for second with 216s. John Watson finished fourth at 219. The purse was $5,000
and Sarazen won $1,000. The pros didnít realize it but that week the PGA
Merchandise show was born. That year the PGA Winter Tournament Program was in
its first year so many of the younger PGA members were at Dunedin along with the
seniors. During the Seniorsí Championship the pro-golf salesmen set up
card-tables and displayed their goods between the clubhouse and the first tee.
Skee Riegel was back home in the Philadelphia area as the
professional at the Radnor Valley Country Club. Riegel
was 39 years old and after a number of years on the tournament trail as an
amateur and professional it was time to settle down.
Dave Douglas won the $30,000 Houston Open in early March at the
Memorial Park Golf Course. Douglas began
with a 70 and a 71 to trail by three strokes. A third round 69 and a last round
67 gave him a 277 total and the $6,000 first place check. The purse was one of
the largest of the year. Cary Middlecoff finished second at 279.
Ed Oliver, Ted Kroll, Fred Haas, Jr. and Shelly
Mayfield tied for third with eight under par 280s.
Johnny Weitzel was back at the Hershey Country Club after a
successful winter on the PGA Tour. Weitzel
had third place finishes in both the Phoenix Open and the Mexican Open.
In the second week of April
Dave Douglas, Al Besselink, Ed Oliver, Skee Riegel and
George Fazio represented the Philadelphia
Section in the Masters Tournament. An amateur, Billy Joe Patton, had a great
chance to win but in the end it was Ben Hogan and Sam Snead tied
at the top with 289s. Patton finished third one stroke back with the help of a
last round 71 that included a hole-in-one. Dutch Harrison and Lloyd
Mangrum tied for fourth with 291s. The next day Snead got by Hogan
to win the title with a 70 against a 71. Besselink
(24) led the Philadelphia pros with a tie for ninth and won $781.
Oliver (299) finished tied for 22nd
and won $443. Fazio (302) tied for 33rd,
Riegel (303) tied for 38th and
Douglas (307) tied for 53rd. They
all won the minimum prize, which was $250. The purse was $33,500 and first prize
The Sectionís members met for their spring meeting on the second Monday of
April at the Broadwood Hotel in Philadelphia. The officers announced that a
Philadelphia PGA Caddie Scholarship Fund had been instituted. Holding
tournaments at the professionalsí clubs and other means would raise money for
the fund. Each year the Sectionís professionals could nominate boys from their
clubs for consideration. Leo Fraser had
pushed the idea and Henry Poe appointed him
chairman of the committee. There were fourteen other caddie scholarship funds in
place in the United States but this was the first one sponsored by a PGA
Section. The Section presented Walter Brickley
with a wristwatch in appreciation of his nineteen years of service as the
treasurer of the Section.
Art Wall won the Tournament of Champions at Las Vegas in late
April. The $35,000 purse and the $10,000 first prize were the second largest of
the year. Wall started fast at the Desert
Inn Country Club with a 69 and a 66 and coasted home with a 70 and a 73. His 278
total won by six strokes. Al Besselink and
Lloyd Mangrum tied for second with 284s. The tie for second was worth $3,750 and
Besselink picked up a bonus check of $1,000
for the low round the last day, a four under par 68.
Besselink was the defending champion. Cary Middlecoff finished fourth
In May Ben Hogan announced that his line
of golf clubs would soon be on the market and that they would be sold only
through PGA pro shops. He said that he had enough faith in his fellow golf
professionals to believe that it would work. Hogan had tried to hire
George Izett as his club designer but when
Izett decided to continue with his custom
golf club company in Ardmore Hogan hired Izettís
top club maker.
Section qualifying for the PGA Championship was held on the first Monday of
June at the Llanerch Country Club. The scores were low and
Stan Dudas set a hot pace with a 65 in the
morning round and a 73 in the afternoon for 138. Henry
Williams, Jr. grabbed the next spot with a 140.
George Fazio, Angelo Paul and
George Griffin, Jr. now the head professional at the Green
Valley Country Club, tied for third at 141. The last two places went to
Johnny Weitzel and Rod
Munday with one-under-par 143s. Dave Douglas
and Ed Oliver were exempt as Ryder Cup
team members and for have finished in the top 30 money winners on the PGA Tour
in 1953. Art Wall and
Al Besselink were
in the top 30 on the money list also but they not PGA members as they had not
yet completed their five-year apprenticeship. Fazio
didnít go to the PGA Championship. The first alternate
Ralph Hutchison, who had finished with a 144 at Llanerch, replaced
One week later on Monday qualifying was held for eight places in the U.S.
Open. Two courses, North Hills Country Club and Sandy Run Country Club, were
needed, as there were 130 entries. Sam Penecale,
who was new to the professional ranks and unattached, posted the only
sub-par score. He was two under par at each course with a morning 69 at North
Hills followed by a 70 at Sandy Run for 139. Next was
Al Besselink at 143. Skee Riegel, Bud Lewis
and Al Nelson, an assistant at the
Shawnee Inn & Country Club, all had 147s. The last three places went to
Henry Williams, Jr., Johnny Weitzel and
John Vasco the professional at the Lehigh
Country Club with 148s. John Serafin who was
working for his father at the Fox Hill Country Club had tied with them at 148
and had been eliminated in a playoff that lasted only one hole.
George Fazio, who had tied for fourth the
previous year didnít have to qualify, as the top twenty were exempt.
Also on the first Monday of June Art Wall
qualified in Cincinnati for the U.S. Open with a 136. There were fifteen spots
in Cincinnati and the medalist was Bob Duden with a 131. The 138 scores played
off for the last two spots.
Mike Souchak led the qualifying for the U.S. Open in Pittsburgh on
the first Monday of June with a 136. Qualifying in Pittsburgh was on the first
Monday also. There were seven spots in Pittsburgh and the 142 scores played off
for the last spot.
In the second week of June the U.S. Open was held at the Baltusrol Golf
Clubís Lower Course. The winner was the pro with the withered left arm, Ed
Furgol. After a bad tee shot on the seventy-second hole, Furgol played his
second to the 18th fairway of Baltusrolís Upper Course. From there he
was able to make a par five and finish one stroke ahead of Gene Littler (285).
Furgol put together four steady rounds of 71, 70, 71and for a score of 284.
Lloyd Mangrum and Dick Mayer tied for third with 286s. First prize was $6,000
out of a total purse of $23,280. There were eleven pros from the Philadelphia
Section in the starting field but only three of them survived the cut of the low
50 and ties. Johnny Weitzel shot a 296 with
the help of a first round hole-in-one and a third round 69 which got him a tie
for 21st. George Fazio tied for
27th and Skee Riegel tied for 42nd.
Weitzel won $240 and
Fazio and Riegel
each won $180, which each player who made the cut received.
Mike Souchak, Henry Williams, Jr., Sam Penecale, Al
Nelson, Art Wall, Bud Lewis, Johnny Vasco and
Al Besselink missed the cut. The tournament was
televised to a national audience for the first time by NBC.
Henry Williams, Jr. missed the cut on Friday at the U.S. Open but
on Monday he outlasted more than 100 pros and amateurs to win the
Pennsylvania Open. The tournament was played at the Hershey Country Club for the
second straight year. There were a few entries from outside the state.
Williams put together a three under par 70 in
the morning and a 71 in the afternoon for a total of 141. With a second place
finish, first year pro Sam Penecale (143)
picked up his first tournament check, $350. Stan Dudas
and the host professional Johnny Weitzel
tied for third with 144s. Alabamaís Harold Williams (146) won fifth money.
Rod Munday, Utahís Dick Lundahl, and amateur
Arnold Palmer, a former Pennsylvania High School champion, tied for sixth with
148s. First prize was $750 from a purse of $1,600. The course measured 6,990
In the third week of August Ed Oliver was
the medalist at the on-site qualifying for the PGA Championship. The
championship was held at the Keller Golf Club in St. Paul, Minnesota. The St.
Paul Open had been held there for several years so many of the players were
familiar with the course. Oliver led the
first day with a 66 and came back with a 70 the second day. His 136 total was
low by just one stroke. Dave Douglas (144)
and Johnny Weitzel (145) also qualified
safely. Henry Williams, Jr. made it right on
the number with a 147. No playoffs were needed as all of the players at 147 were
in the match play. Ralph Hutchison, Angelo Paul, George
Griffin, Jr., Stan Dudas and Rod Munday
failed to qualify. The first two rounds of the match play were 18-hole
matches and the next four rounds were 36-hole matches. In the first round
Douglas lost to Walter Burkemo 4&2 and
Weitzel lost 3&2 to Ed Furgol, who had just won
the U.S. Open. Williams won his first round
match over Frank Commisso 3&2 and lost his second round match to Elroy Marti
two-down. Oliver won two matches. In the
first two rounds he eliminated Jackson Bradley 4&3 and Bill Nary one-down.
Oliver lost in the third round to Chick Harbert
3&1. Harbert went on to win the PGA Championship as he defeated the defending
champion, Walter Burkemo, in the finals 4&3. In the semifinals Burkemo got by
Cary Middlecoff by winning the 37th hole and Harbert edged out Tommy
Bolt by a one-up margin. The purse was $20,700 and first prize was $5,000.
John Serafin & Johnny Weitzel
Section Championship final at Shawnee
Evening Bulletin Trophy
At the end of August the Section Championship was back at the Shawnee Inn &
Country Club for a seventh consecutive year. There was a three-way tie for the
medal with Pete DíAngelis, John Serafin and
Ken Gibson posting one-under-par 71s. Sixty
-four players qualified for the match play ladder. The semifinals came down to
Serafin versus Country Club of Harrisburg professional
Jim Gantz and Johnny
Weitzel versus Rod Munday.
Gantz 3&2 and Weitzel defeated
Munday 3&2. The tournament took a two-day break
and the 36-hole final was played on Sunday as usual.
Serafin won the Section Championship for the second time in three
years. Weitzel was four up after 21 holes
but from that point on Serafin played
five-under-par golf. The two pros came to the 36th hole with
Serafin holding a one-hole lead.
Serafin closed out the match with a birdie two
on Shawneeís long par three 18th hole for a two-up win. This also
gave him possession of the Evening Bulletin Trophy for a year.
Ralph Hutchison won the
Philadelphia Open at the Torresdale-Frankford Country Club on the second Monday
of September. Hutchison had finished second
in the tournament 23 years before in 1931. His winning score of 72-70 for 142
matched par and won by three strokes. Fast greens and deep rough made the
scoring difficult. Johnny Weitzel and
amateur John Dyniewski tied for second with 145s.
George Fazio was fourth alone with 146. First prize was $350. There
were 88 entries.
On the second Monday of October the Philadelphia Section members met at the
Atlantic City Country Club for their annual meeting. There was a pro-pro
tournament in the afternoon and the meeting was held after dinner.
Henry Poe was elected president of the Section
for a third year. Leo Fraser and
Walter Brickley were elected first and second
vice president. Ken Gibson was elected
secretary and Walt Silkworth was reelected
treasurer. The Philadelphia Section now had a legal advisor in Francis Sullivan
who represented Ben Hogan as his attorney and was a member at Merion Golf
Club. The Section had also hired a publicist to appear on radio and television
for promotion of the PGA professionals.
The national PGA meeting was held in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Lowry Hotel
in early December. Harry Moffitt was unanimously elected president after Harold
Sargent withdrew his name from the ballot. Sargent was elected secretary. There
were five candidates for treasurer and after five ballots Wally Mund was elected
with 43 of the 74 votes cast. A plan was proposed to arrange exhibition matches
for the British Ryder Cup team on its way to Palm Springs next year. The
possibility of setting up a second, or Class "B" PGA Tour, was discussed. Ed
Furgol was honored as the PGA Player of the Year and the late Macdonald Smith
was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Leo Fraser
and Ken Gibson were the Sectionís delegates
to the meeting.
The leading money winner on the PGA Tour was Bob Toski with $65,891.24. Most
of that came at the World Championship in Chicago where he won $50,000. Dutch
Harrison led the scoring for the Vardon Trophy with 70.41 strokes per round
and Ed Furgol was voted the "PGA Player-of-the-Year".
Dave Douglas won $12,120.00, which put him in 19th place
on the money list. George Fazio finished 23rd
with winnings of $$9,777.82 and Ed Oliver
was next in 24th place with $9,365.95.
Continue to 1955 - 1959... ...