Ed Dougherty delivered his own Vietnam draft notice and wound up on the PGA Tour!

Ed Dougherty Delivered His Own Vietnam War Draft Notice and Wound Up on The PGA Tour!

After graduating from St. James Catholic High School Ed “Doc” Dougherty went to work at his local post office in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. One day while delivering the mail he had to deliver his own U.S. Army draft notice. Dougherty ended up in the Vietnam War launching mortars where he received a Purple Heart and earned two Bronze Stars for valor.

Dougherty was sent back to the states for duty at Fort Lewis, Washington. Having been a good high school pitcher, he volunteered for the baseball team. He was told baseball required too much time and as a Vietnam veteran he was needed for training soldiers who were headed overseas. The base also had a golf course, so Ed who had only played a couple of rounds of golf before, managed to figure out a way to play some golf.

Dougherty, Ed-75 S.C. TTTWhen Dougherty returned home as a civilian in 1969 a friend took him to Edgmont Country Club for a round of golf. Tiny Pedone, the golf professional and part owner, watched Ed hit a few golf balls and offered him a job running the practice range. A year later, through a Philadelphia connection, Ed landed a winter job at a golf course on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands working for golf professional Mike Reynolds. He was now able to work on his game 12 months a year. Under the tutelage of Reynolds, who had grown up playing golf at The Springhaven Club, Ed’s golf improved immensely.

In 1974 Dougherty became a PGA member and in March of 1975 he began playing the PGA Tour as a Monday qualifier. Most years he was able to earn enough money to stay exempt, but there were numerous interruptions due to elbow and shoulder injuries.

He played the PGA Tour until he was 50 and then joined the Senior PGA Tour. During his career he won many tournaments. Among those was a win on the PGA Tour, two on the Senior PGA Tour, the Philadelphia PGA Championship three times and a Philadelphia Open along with the 1985 PGA Club Professional Championship which is now called the PGA Professional National Championship.

Although not showing any symptoms, Dougherty was diagnosed with Agent Orange Leukemia in 2015, which is related to his time served in the Vietnam War. Dougherty was inducted into the Philadelphia PGA Hall of Fame in 2012.


Ed “Porky” Oliver tied for first at the 1940 U.S. Open and was disqualified!

Ed “Porky” Oliver Tied For First At The 1940 U.S. Open And Was Disqualified!

The 1940 United States Open was hosted by the Canterbury Golf Club near Cleveland OH. The tournament was played on June 6, 7 and 8. 1,181 professionals and amateurs paid the entry fee of $5 for a chance to be in the starting field of 165. For the first time in a U.S. Open the players were paired in threes.

In Thursday’s first round, Sam Snead, who was playing out of Shawnee-on-Delaware, posted a five under par 67. On Friday Snead got caught in a one-hour rain storm and shot a 74, but he still held a tie for the lead at 141, along with Horton Smith and Lawson Little.

On Saturday 36 holes were played to complete the 72-hole tournament. Journeyman Frank Walsh posted a 71 in the morning round to take a one-stroke lead with 18 holes to play. Snead and Little trailed by one stroke.

At that time the USGA, which runs the U.S. Open, did not pair the players by scores for the final rounds on Saturday, and of course the players were not re-paired after the morning round.

When the first players arrived at the tee to begin the final round after their lunch break, there was no official starter at the tee. The sky was blackening from a threatening thunder storm and the scorecards were on the starter’s table. It was about 30 minutes before their designated starting times, but six players, all professionals, picked up their scorecards and teed off.

Oliver, Ed TTTSoon after they began their rounds they were informed that they were disqualified for starting play before their tee times. They all continued to play and complete their rounds under protest. One of those was Wilmington, Delaware’s Ed “Porky” Oliver who had put together a 70 that morning, which put him at 216, just three strokes off a tie for the lead. The other five were Dutch Harrison, Duke Gibson, Johnny Bulla, Ky Laffoon and Claude Harmon. Harrison stood at 218. The rest were out of contention, even for thirtieth place and the last money prize of $50.

Oliver proceeded to post a 71 for a total of 287. Snead shot an 81 and Walsh took 79 strokes. As Gene Sarazen was completing his first nine in 38, Little finished at 287. Sarazen came home in 34 to tie Little at 287. Oliver and the other five were disqualified. Sarazen and Little prevailed on the rules committee to rescind the disqualification and let Oliver take part in the playoff, but the USGA’s decision was final.

Sarazen, who was 38 years old, told the press “I can beat both of them” but the next day Little won with a 70 against a 73 for Sarazen.

The Philadelphia Electric Co.’s golf pro was struck by lightning qualifying for the US Open!

The Philadelphia Electric Co.’s Golf Pro Was Struck By Lightning Qualifying For the US Open!

It was 1939 and the Philadelphia Country Club was hosting the United States Open in the second week of June. There were 1,201 entries for a starting field of 170. 29 players were exempt and the other 149 starters had to pass a 36-hole qualifying test at one of 32 sites in the USA. There was such a large entry in the Philadelphia region, that for the first time in U.S. Open history two courses were needed.

Qualifying in Philadelphia was held on the fourth Monday of May at St. Davids Golf Club and Overbrook Golf Club, which was then located near Philadelphia’s City Line Avenue. There were 171 players competing for 19 spots. One of those was 46-year old Walter Hagen, a two-time winner of the U.S. Open, who was trying for one more shot at his country’s championship. Half of the entries played St. Davids in the morning, and Overbrook in the afternoon, while the other half did the opposite.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Fred Byrod wrote in the next day’s newspaper “A late afternoon storm brought torrents of rain and terrifying thunderbolts-thrusts of lightning.” Overbrook got the rain but St. Davids got the lightning. Philmont Country Club amateur Dick Allman was playing the 16th hole at SDGC when the storm hit. Allman had just played an iron shot to the green when he was struck by a lightning bolt. His hand was black and blue for several hours after that, but he finished and he qualified.

19 Turner, Ted 2 (TGH) 3At that same time Max Cross was on the 18th hole at SDGC. As he was playing his second shot to the green with an iron, he was also struck by lightning. Cross was carried into the clubhouse unconscious. He was revived and returned to the 18th green where he had an eight-foot putt for a birdie. If he made the birdie putt he would qualify, and if he two-putted he would be in a playoff for the last four spots, but he took three putts. Ironically he was the professional at the Philadelphia Electric Company’s McCall Field Golf Course.

Pine Valley Golf Club’s playing professional Ted Turner finished just before the storm arrived with rounds of 72 at SDGC and 69 at Overbrook. He was medalist by three strokes. Hagen who was paired with Lawson Little failed to qualify. Little missed qualifying also, but one year later he won the U.S. Open.

Because of what happened at St. Davids with the lightning, the USGA had a fire truck stationed at the Philadelphia Country Club for the U.S. Open. The truck’s siren was used to warn the golfers of approaching thunder storms.

Big money purses in 1915 could be a dilemma for the golf professionals!

Big Money Purses Could Be A Dilemma For The Golf Professionals!

In 1915 (one year before the PGA of America was founded), the summer was filled with tournaments for the golf professionals. For a stretch of eight weeks there were tournaments offering decent to exceptional money. To make matters worse, the USGA in an attempt to lure the great foreign professionals, had moved the U.S. Open from late August to June right after the Shawnee Open.

Along with that the Metropolitan, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and the Western Opens were also played one right after another. At that time the state Opens were open to any professional who wished to enter. In order to attract some of the better players who were in the East competing in the U.S. Open, Shawnee Open and Met Open the Massachusetts Open tripled its purse and the Connecticut Open made its tournament the best ever.

This created problems for the golf professionals, maybe good ones, as they all were working at golf facilities. None of them could be away for eight summer weeks. Decisions had to be made as to where to play and when to be at their clubs.

Nicholls, Gil TTTThe Philadelphia professionals had a busy summer. Wilmington Country Club’s Gil Nicholls won the Met Open for a second time along with the Shawnee Open, where Walter Hagen was second, and he finished sixth at the Western Open in Chicago. Pocono Manor’s Eddie Loos lost the Pennsylvania Open in an 18-hole playoff to North Jersey’s Tom Anderson. Boston’s Tom McNamara won the Philadelphia Open, as Whitemarsh Valley’s Jim Barnes and Philmont’s Charlie Hoffner tied for second. Barnes finished seventh at the Western Open, where he was the defending champion and won the Connecticut Open later in the summer.

By 1922 the amateur golf leaders had become concerned about the purses being offered for professional golf tournaments and exhibitions. On November 12 the USGA issued a statement which the New York Times reported. “While the USGA has no desire to hinder or hamper any professional from competing in prize money tournaments or from earning money to the limit of his ability, nevertheless the present officials feel that if the practice now in vogue is not checked, great harm will be done in creating a class of professional players who will devote their time and attention in attending tournaments.”

In spite of the fears of some people the PGA Tour was taking form and who could have imagined the PGA Tour of today.

There was a black member of the PGA of America before Charlie Sifford!

There Was a Black Member of the PGA of America Before Charlie Sifford!

Before Charlie Sifford, before Pete Brown and before Lee Elder there was a PGA member of African descent named Dewey Brown.

Brown, Dewey (TGH) (2)Dewey Brown was born in North Carolina in 1898 and grew up in New Jersey. He was introduced to golf as a caddy at the Madison Golf Club. Before long he was working on the golf course mowing fairways behind a horse drawn mower for $1 a day.

By the age of 18 he was an accomplished golfer and had become interested in club making. He began working under the golf professional at the Morris County Country Club as a club maker. He must have learned quickly as he made a set of clubs for Chick Evans that Evans used to win the 1916 U.S. Amateur at Merion Golf Club.  Brown later made a set of clubs for United States President Warren G. Harding.

In 1918 Shawnee Inn & Country Club professional Willie Norton hired Brown as his assistant. At Shawnee Brown gave many golf lessons. During the winter months he would return to New Jersey and work for Baltusrol Golf Club professional George Low teaching indoors and making golf clubs.

At one point Brown left Shawnee to buy a farm but he returned in 1925 and stayed on for another 12 years. In 1928 he became a member of the PGA of America but in 1934 the PGA inserted a clause in its by-laws stating that the members had to be Caucasians. His membership in the PGA was terminated.

He left Shawnee in 1937 to manage clubs in New Jersey and New York, but in 1946 he returned to Shawnee one more time. Fred Waring, the famous bandleader, had bought Shawnee and hired Brown to be his hotel manager. He did not stay long as a new opportunity beckoned. He bought the Cedar River House & Golf Club in Indian Lake, New York. By then he was certainly qualified to own an inn and golf club. Brown managed the hotel and was the golf professional as well. Eleven years after buying the Cedar River House he joined the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.

When the PGA eliminated the “Caucasian Only” clause from its by-laws in 1962 Brown applied for reinstatement. A couple of years later he was a “Class A” PGA member again.

When Dewey Brown retired in 1972 one of his son’s took over the business. Brown died in 1973 and is buried in Indian Lake Cemetery which is across the road from his Cedar River Golf Club. Some golf historians have referred to him as one of America’s golf pioneers.

A Philadelphia PGA club pro may have been the victim of an Augusta National ruling!

A Philadelphia PGA Club Pro May Have Been the Victim of an Augusta National Ruling!

The fifth Masters Tournament kicked off on Friday April 1, 1938. The schedule called for one round on Friday, one round on Saturday and 36 holes on Sunday. There were five professionals from the Philadelphia Section in the starting field.

Serafin, Felix 2 TTTOne of those was Felix Serafin, the head professional at the Country Club of Scranton. Serafin was in the fourth pairing of the day at 12:45. With a field of only 44 players the first starting time was 12:30.

Within a couple holes of Serafin’s start it began to rain. Serafin finished the first nine with a four under par 32 and with rain continuing to fall Serafin made it to five under par at some point on the back nine. When Bobby Jones, the president of Augusta National, had to hole a putt from the back of the first green for a bogey 5 play was stopped and the golfers were called in off the course. The first round was then called a “Rain Out”. In those days when the full field could not complete a round due to weather all scores for that day were just “Washed Out”.

In 1938 communications and scoreboards for golf tournaments were not what they were later. On Saturday the New York Times reported Serafin being four under par on the front nine but losing strokes on the second nine. The next day the newspaper corrected its article and gave Serafin credit for his fine play. One thing that everyone knew was that Serafin was well ahead of the rest of the field when play was stopped.

Serafin wasn’t an unknown or he would not have been invited to the Masters. Along with other victories he had already finished second in the 1935 North & South Open and won the Pennsylvania Open twice. During his career he played in 11 U.S. Opens, 8 Masters Tournaments and 6 PGA Championships.

With a Monday finish, Hershey Country Club head professional, Henry Picard won by two strokes with a three under par 285. Serafin put together a 291 total and tied for sixth with the host professional Ed Dudley, who was also the professional at the Philadelphia Country Club at the same time. First prize was $1,500. Serafin and Dudley each won $275.

The PGA Tour pros played with 16 clubs during World War II!

The PGA Tour pros played with 16 clubs during World War II!

When the USGA declared that the long putter could no longer be anchored to the body as of January 1, 2016 there was an outcry from PGA Tour professionals who use that style to make a living.  A significant topic of discussion was the separation of rules, the Tour’s having their own set, with some difference from the USGA/R&A rules of golf.

This has happened before. In 1938 the USGA, for the first time, had imposed a limit of 14 clubs a golfer could use in a stipulated round. When World War II broke out the PGA Tour was faced with a depletion of competent playing pros. To keep the public interested in its tournaments, the PGA’s touring professionals voted to allow the players to carry 16 clubs. It was felt that with 16 clubs they would be able to show the spectators a wider variety of golf shots. (They also played “Preferred Lies” due to poor turf condition.)

Over the years the PGA Tour differed and deviated from the USGA over several other rules like; the stymie, cleaning the ball on the green, how to play preferred lies, embedded ball rule, method for marking balls on the greens and grooves on irons.

Dudley, Ed TTTIn January 1946 Ed Dudley, the president of the PGA of America and the pro at the Augusta National Golf Club, received a letter from the United States Golf Association informing the PGA that is was time to begin playing by the “Rules of Golf” again. Dudley fired a letter back stating that his organization had no apology to make. He stated that the PGA ran over 40 tournaments a year on the PGA Tour in all kinds of weather and course conditions. He also pointed out that the USGA only sponsored one tournament a year in which professionals compete and that was in the summer under favorable conditions.

In May 1946 at the Western Open Sam Snead disqualified himself after shooting a first round 69 with 16 clubs when he discovered that the tournament was being played under USGA rules and a 14 club limit.

It was not until the 1947 Masters Tournament that the PGA Tour returned to playing with a maximum of 14 clubs and most other USGA Rules.

A Philadelphia golf pro motivated the USGA to keep the stymie rule for another 30 years!

“Did You Know”
A Philadelphia Golf Pro Motivated the USGA to Keep the Stymie Rule for Another 30 Years!

When golf came to the United States in the late 1800s the neophyte golfers did their best to adhere to the rules of St. Andrews. One of those rules was the stymie which had been a rule in Scotland for almost 300 years. At some point in the 1800s the rule was redefined to state that the stymie was only for match play when there was just one ball in play to each side.

The stymie rule was: That on the green the two golf balls had to remain in place unless they lay within six inches of each other. The golfer who was away, had to either play around or over the intervening ball. If the stymied player moved the other ball while playing his stroke the opponent could either replace the ball or play the ball from its new position. If the ball had ended up in the hole the player was deemed to have holed out with his previous stroke. To assist in measuring stymies the scorecards were six inches in length.

Most golfers were of the opinion that the rule was unfair and a matter of luck. In 1920 the USGA softened the rule a bit. With the new version the golfer who was stymied could concede the next stroke to an opponent who had laid the stymie. Thus, if an opponent’s ball was close to the hole it might be best to concede the next stroke rather than be stymied.

Kirkwood, Joe Sr. TTTThe next year (1921) the Western Golf Association abandoned the stymie rule completely. Sometime during that year the president of the USGA, Howard Whitney, met up with Joe Kirkwood, Sr., who was the greatest golf trick shot artist of all time. (Kirkwood was a longtime resident of Glenside, Pennsylvania and the professional at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club from 1938 to 1949.) Whitney watched Kirkwood demonstrate the art of negotiating a stymie. Upon witnessing that exhibition, Whitney decided that the stymie was an important part of golf.

At a meeting of the USGA at Pine Valley Golf Club in April 1922 the stymie was returned to the rules of golf as it was before 1920. The USGA and the R&A were once again in complete agreement on the stymie rule.

In 1938 the USGA modified the stymie rule again. If the obstructing ball lay within six inches of the hole the stymied golfer could ask to have the ball marked. During all of these changes by the USGA the R&A never altered its interpretation of the rule in any way.

In 1944 the PGA of America stopped using the stymie in its championship and many other golf organizations were simply ignoring the rule. In 1952, 30 years after Kirkwood had influenced its continued life in the USA, the stymie was removed from the rules of golf.

A Philadelphia golfer’s connection to the movie “Caddy Shack”!

A Philadelphia Golfer’s Connection to the movie “Caddy Shack”!

Harold “Reds” Ridgley was born in Philadelphia in 1913. He grew up next to the Brookline Square Club in Havertown where he learned to play golf as a caddy. When the Brookline Square Club closed in 1927, he caddied at Merion GC, Paxon Hollow CC and the Main Line GC. Ridgley was runner-up in the 1957 British Amateur; and later played an important role in what may be your favorite golf movie.

Ridgley, Reds-Finegan TTTWhen the U.S. Open was played at Merion in 1934, Ridgley caddied for Harry Cooper.  At the same time he was playing golf anywhere he could.  By the late 1930s he was in money matches against the best golfers in Philadelphia, like Billy Hyndman and George Fazio. In 1942 he was drafted into military service, and ended up in the Army Air Force as the tail-gunner on a B-17. He was stationed in England and on his 23rd mission his plane was shot down over Germany. He parachuted from the plane and was captured, spending the rest of World War II in a POW camp.

Back home in 1945, he was sent to a hospital in Atlantic City for rehabilitation. That summer he won the Bright Memorial Tournament at Wildwood and reenlisted in the Army.  His golf continued to improve. In 1951 Ridgley entered the U.S. Open and made it through qualifying at Llanerch. For some reason, he gave up his spot in the tournament to the first alternate, Henry Williams, Jr.

Ridgley was sent back to England where he set course records at various clubs, along with winning military and local tournaments.  In 1953 he entered the British Amateur, winning three matches, and the following year he lost in the fifth round to the great Joe Carr.  In 1957 Ridgley made it to the finals of the British Amateur, losing to Reid Jack, 2 & 1. He made one more run at the Amateur title in 1959, where he lost to his old friend Billy Hyndman in the fifth round. Ridgley had caddied for Hyndman at Merion 26 years before in the 1933 Pennsylvania Amateur, and now they were playing each other 3,500 miles from home. A year later he was back in the states and stationed at Andrews Air Force Base. That year he won the 1960 Maryland State Amateur Championship.

After retiring from the military, Ridgley moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and joined the Rolling Hills Country Club. The movie “Caddyshack” was filmed at Rolling Hills in 1980. Rodney Dangerfield starred in the movie. He was a good actor, but he was not a golfer. Any golf shots by Dangerfield seen in “Caddyshack” were played by Harold “Reds” Ridgley.

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