PGA Chronicle of the
Philadelphia Section PGA and its Members
by Peter C. Trenham
1930 to 1939
1930 Joe Kirkwood and Pine Valley’s Charles Lacey reached the semifinals of the PGA Championship.
1931 Ed Dudley won the Los Angeles Open, the Western Open and the scoring title for the year.
1932 George B. Smith won his third Philadelphia PGA title and Ed Dudley reached the semifinals in the PGA.
1933 Kirkwood won the North & South Open and Canadian Open, and Shute won the British Open.
1934 Denny Shute and Gene Kunes were semifinalists in the PGA and Leo Diegel was third in PGA Tour winnings.
1935 Henry Picard won six PGA Tour events and Gene Kunes won the Canadian Open.
1936 Jimmy Thomson reached the finals in the PGA Championship and won the Richmond Open.
1937 Byron Nelson won the Masters Tournament and Henry Picard won his second consecutive Hershey Open.
1938 The Section hosted the PGA Championship at Shawnee Inn & CC and Henry Picard won the Masters Tournament
1939 Byron Nelson won the U.S. Open and Vardon Trophy while Henry Picard won the PGA and led the money list.
As the decade commenced it was only 41 years since golf had begun in the United States in 1889. There were now 5,856 golf courses in the USA. There were only 3,300 golf courses in the rest of the world and 2,000 of those were in the British Empire. The previous year $21,067,216 had been spent on golf equipment in the United States, which was 37.4 percent of the total spent in the country on sporting and athletic goods that year.
The PGA had established a “Code of Ethics”.
The name “Professional Golfer” must be and remain a synonym and pledge of honor, service and fair dealing. His professional integrity, fidelity to the game of golf, and a sense of his great responsibility to employers and employees, manufacturers and clients, and to his brother professionals, transcends thought of material gain in the motives of the true professional golfer. A member shall be deemed to have violated the Code of Ethics, by
1. Allowing the use of his name or likeness in such manner as to misrepresent golf merchandise, or in which the sale of golf merchandise bearing his name or likeness causes disadvantage to any group of professionals.
2. Abusing the privileges usually extended to members of the Association, by playing, without invitation on any course, or in any way causing embarrassment to the resident professional.
3. Applying for a position without definite knowledge of its vacancy, or accepting any position or appointment in any but an honorable and ethical manner.
4. Failing to meet obligations promptly, or being guilty of conduct likely to injure the reputation and standing of the Association or any of its members.
Overbrook Golf Club head professional, Bill Leach, started the year off right. On the first Sunday of January he won the second place check at the Miami Open. In the last round Leach shot a 72 to pick up four strokes on Gene Sarazen but it wasn’t quite enough. Sarazen had turned in a 69 in the morning of the second day and he held on to win by one stroke. Sarazen’s rounds were 76, 79, 69 and 76 for a 300 total. Sarazen picked up a check for $750 and had now won the tournament four straight years. Leach finished at 301, winning $500. Cyril Walker was next with a 302 total. Berkshire Country Club professional, Al Heron (304) trailed by one stroke after the first day and ended up winning the fourth money of $200. The purse had been reduced from $3,000 to $2,500.
On the same day Bill Leach was finishing second in Miami Joe Kirkwood, Sr. tied Olin Dutra for first place in the Long Beach Open in California. The tournament was played at the Recreation Park Municipal Course. Kirkwood, who lived in Glenside, Pennsylvania and Dutra tied at even par 216 and agreed to be co-champions. They split the first and second money from the $3,500 purse, which earned the two pros $500 apiece. The contestants played 36-holes the last day and no one in the field broke 75 in the morning due to a driving rainstorm. Kirkwood’s rounds were 68, 78 and 70. Dutra’s rounds were 67, 76 and 73. Clarence Clark finished third with a 218 and Henry Ciuci was next at 219. The low amateur was 18-year-old Charley Seaver who led the first day with a 66. Many years later his son pitched for the New York Mets in the World Series.
Jim Edmundson, Sr., a former Irish Open champion and the professional at the North Hills Country Club, was elected Section president on the fourth Friday of January. The meeting was held at Boothby’s Café on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Riverton Country Club professional Leo Shea moved from second vice president to first vice president. Philadelphia Cricket Club professional Alex Duncan was elected to the office of second vice president. The new secretary-treasurer was Huntingdon Valley Country Club professional Robert Stalker. Ed Clarey, professional at the Juniata Golf Club, was chairman of the employment committee. Edmundson asked Duncan to continue as the tournament chairman and Duncan named Clarey as his assistant on the committee. A dinner followed the meeting.
Shortly after the Section’s annual meeting and elections the first vice president, Leo Shea, left the Section for a new head professional position in West Virginia. No one was appointed to fill the vacancy.
Ed Dudley, the professional at the Concord Country Club, won $750 for a third place finish at the Southeastern Open on the first of April. Bobby Jones won the tournament at Augusta, Georgia by thirteen strokes over Horton Smith (297) and Dudley (298) who finished second and third. Joe Turnesa and Wiffy Cox tied for fourth with 299s. The first two rounds were played at the Augusta Country Club’s Hill Course and the last two were at the Forest Hills-Ricker Course. Jones’ rounds were 72, 72, 69 and 71 for 284. Since Jones was an amateur Smith won the first money of $1,000 and Dudley received the second money. One-hundred plus professionals and amateurs were entered.
In mid May Bala Golf Club and Lew Goldbeck were the hosts of the Section Championship again. George B. Smith, the 128-pound professional at the Moorestown Field Club, repeated as the champion. He was the Section champion for a second time with a three over par score of (72-67) 139. Smith’s second round 67 was a course record and he needed it to edge out Yardley Country Club head professional A. B. “Al “Nelson (141), by two strokes. Walter Work, the professional at the Pine Run Golf Club, finished third with 143. Pine Valley Golf Club playing professional Charles Lacey, Bill Leach, and Clarence Hackney, the professional at the Atlantic City Country Club, tied for fourth with 144s. There were 53 entries and 10 money places. At that time the Section Championship was where the Section’s members usually paid their dues for the year.
On the fourth Monday of May a group of PGA professionals named the Professional Golfers Seniors Association played what they hoped would be their first annual national championship at the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Flourtown Course. To be eligible one had to have been a head professional for at least 25 years. Long Island’s Charlie Mayo and former U.S. Open champion Fred McLeod from Washington D.C. tied for first with 76s. A sudden-death playoff was held that day to determine a winner. McLeod’s drive was in the fairway and his shot to the green with an iron came to rest in the center of the green about eight feet from the cup. Mayo’s drive was in the right rough and his second shot barely reached the green. From there Mayo holed a 30-foot putt and when McLeod failed to hole his putt Mayo was the winner. They competed for the Willie Anderson trophy on which the names of the other deceased U.S. Open winners were inscribed. The host professional was Alec Duncan, a native of Scotland and the younger brother of the famous professional George Duncan. Ashbourne Country Club’s Dave Cuthbert was the low Philadelphia Section pro tying Gil Nicholls from the Metropolitan Section for third place at 77. Jack Hobens finished fifth with a 78.
On the third Monday in June qualifying for the U.S. Open was held at The Springhaven Club. Eighty pros and amateurs were vying for eight places in Minneapolis. Ed Dudley (72-70) and Charles Lacey (70-72) tied for the low score with 142s. Al Heron (144) was next and Felix Serafin (147), the professional at the Country Club of Scranton finished fourth. Bill Leach (149) and the LuLu Country Club professional Johnny Schuebel (149) also qualified. The other two spots went to Baltimore professionals. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. and George B. Smith were exempt for having been in the top thirty in the U.S. Open the previous year. The entrance fee was $5.
Clarence Hackney also qualified for the U.S. Open in New York on the third Monday of June with a 153. Play was over the Fenimore Country Club and the Quaker Ridge Golf Club. The medalist was Rocky Rich with a 79 at Fenimore and a course record afternoon round of 69 at Quaker Ridge. There were fourteen spots and Hackney tied for eighth as a score of 154 made it on the number.
The British Open was played at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England in the third week of June. Bobby Jones (291) won as it was his “Grand Slam Year”. Jones’ rounds were 70, 72, 74 and 75. Leo Diegel and Macdonald Smith tied for second with 293 totals. Horton Smith and Fred Robson tied for fourth at 296. Jim Barnes (297) tied for sixth.
In late June Ed Dudley won the eighteenth annual Shawnee Open, which was hosted by the Shawnee Inn & Country Club. Dudley had rounds of 74, 66, 73 and 69 for a two-day six-under-par 282. In winning he picked up $600 finishing six strokes ahead of three-time champion Johnny Farrell (288) who finished second. This was the second lowest 72-hole score in the tournament history. Johnny Farrell had scored lower in 1927 but four hundred yards had been added to the course since then. In the second round Dudley broke the course record with a six-under-par 66, which netted him another $50. Wiffy Cox finished third with a 290. Felix Serafin had the next best finish among the Section members as he took the fourth money with a 291. Al Heron tied for fourteenth at 301. The host professional was Willie Norton.
At Minneapolis’ Interlachen Country Club in the second week of July, Bobby Jones won the third leg of his Grand Slam at the U.S. Open. Three Section professionals made good showings. Jones’ rounds were 71, 73, 68 and 75 for 287. Macdonald Smith finished two strokes back in second place with a 289 and took home the first place check of $1,000. Horton Smith was next at 292 and Harry Cooper finished fourth at 293. Charles Lacey (298) finished 7th and won $350 from the $5,000 purse. Al Heron (301) and Ed Dudley (303) finished 11th and 17th. They were also in the money winning $80.25 and $47.50. George B. Smith, Clarence Hackney, Joe Kirkwood, Sr., Bill Leach, Felix Serafin and Johnny Schuebel missed the cut. The tournament was broadcast on radio for the first time. The final round was on CBS from 6 PM to 8 PM Eastern Standard Time. This was made possible by announcer Ted Husing carrying a thirty-pound transmitting apparatus on his back in brutally hot weather.
On the second Monday of July, just two days after the U.S. Open ended, Ed Dudley was in Pittsburgh to defend his Pennsylvania Open title. The tournament was held at the Allegheny Country Club. 36 holes on the last day of the US Open didn’t deter Ed Dudley. He brought home the title again winning the state open for the second year in a row. Again the championship was 72 holes and played over two days. Dudley’s rounds of 73, 74, 70 and 68 for a five-over-par 285, won by six strokes over Highland Country Club’s Vince Eldred (291). Ohio’s P.O. Hart (294) finished third and two western Pennsylvania pros Fred Baroni (296) and Perry Del Vecchio (296) tied for fourth. No one else from the Philadelphia Section finished better than 20th. Dudley’s 68 in the final round was a course record.
Later in the week the three-day 72-hole Met Open ended in a tie at the Fairview Country Club in New York. Willie Macfarlane and Johnny Farrell tied at 280. The next day Macfarlane won a playoff that took twice as long as planned. In the morning Macfarlane and Farrell ended up still tied after matching one under par 70s. The committee sent them out for another 18 holes, which Macfarlane won with a 72 against a 74 for Farrell. Macfarlane’s tournament rounds were 71, 73, 69 and 67. Horton Smith finished third at 281 missing the playoff by one stroke. Gene Sarazen and Wiffy Cox tied for fourth with 282s. Ed Dudley (285) tied for sixth and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (288) finished tenth.
On a Sunday, the day after the Met Open ended, the Concord Country Club held a one-day invitation tournament for ten leading professionals. Joseph C. Luke, the Golf Chairman at Concord, sponsored the tournament putting up a purse of $1,550. Gene Sarazen, playing out of Long Island, shot a 30 on the front nine in the afternoon to win the $500 first prize. He finished one stroke ahead of Connecticut professional Johnny Golden with a two-under-par 36-hole score of 71 and 67 for 138. Golden (139) won $400 and the host pro, Ed Dudley, who finished third with 140, won $300. Craig Wood and Billy Burke tied for fourth at 142. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. was the only other pro with Philadelphia ties that was invited. The one-day event drew 1,500 spectators.
On the third Monday of July Al Heron and his assistant Harry Markel won the head professional-assistant professional championship at the Philmont Country Club’s North Course. The Berkshire Country Club team won by three strokes with a 66 and a 68 for a 36-hole total of 134 that was aided by Heron’s course record 67 in the morning round.
On the last Monday in July the Section held qualifying for the national PGA Championship at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. Charlie Schneider, who had left the Rydal Country Club earlier that year to be the professional at the Pennsylvania Golf Club, led with rounds of 70 and 74 for an even par 144. The other four successful qualifiers were Clarence Ehresman (146), assistant at the Philadelphia Country Club, Charles Lacey (148), Johnny Schuebel (148) and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (150). Kirkwood had to win a four man sudden-death playoff to lock up the last spot, which he did by making pars on the first two holes.
In the second week of August Clarence Hackney won the Philadelphia Open at the Cedarbrook Country Club in Mt. Airy. There were 84 pros and amateurs entered but the defending champion Ed Dudley was not among them. Hackney shot a two-under-par 69 in the last round and picked up 10 strokes on Green Valley Country Club’s professional George Griffin, Sr. His rounds of 75, 78, 73 and 69 for a two-day total of 295 that earned him a check for $350 and a gold medal. That brought him in three strokes in front of Griffin (298). Tavistock Country Club assistant pro Jack Leach tied for third with Long Island’s Charles Luhr at 299. The total purse came to $925, which included two money prizes for professionals who were working at Golf Association of Philadelphia member clubs.
George B. Smith won another tournament, the Central Pennsylvania Open, on the next Monday. It was played at the par 66 Galen Hall Country Club. Smith had a 31 on the last nine to finish with a 68, which added to his morning 70 gave him a 138 total. Smith won by two strokes over Al Heron (140), George Griffin, Sr. (140) and Johnny Moyer (140), the professional at the Shamokin Valley Country Club. They all tied for second. Ocean City Golf Club professional Charlie Hoffner finished fifth with a 141. No one had a par or better score for any 18-hole round that day. First prize was $100 and eight players took home a check.
Bruce Coltart, assistant to his father Frank Coltart at the Philadelphia Country Club, won the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship on the second Monday of September at the Valley Forge Golf Club. After a round of 80 in the morning Coltart came back with a course record 72 in the afternoon. His 152 total edged out Philadelphia Country Club assistant Al Keeping (153) by one stroke. Harry Markel finished third at 155. Hi-Top Country Club assistant Frank Wood, LuLu Country Club assistant Al Zender and Robert “Buzz” Campbell, assistant to his father Jack Campbell at the Old York Road Country Club, tied for fourth with 156s.
The Section had four members successfully qualify on site for the 32-man field at the PGA Championship. The championship was played in the second week of September at the Fresh Meadow Country Club in Flushing, New York. Charles Lacey (147), Charlie Schneider (151), Clarence Ehresman (157) and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (157) were the qualifiers for the matches, all played at 36-holes. Johnny Schuebel failed to qualify. In the qualifying the players were sent off in three-man pairings at six-minute intervals. The players were expected to complete the 18 holes, get something to eat and tee off for their afternoon round exactly four hours after their morning tee time. The 158 shooters played off for the last spot. Lacey made it in spite of breaking his #3 and #4 irons during the morning round of the qualifying. Johnny Farrell and Horton Smith were the medalists with 145s. In the first round Schneider lost to Gene Sarazen on the 36th hole one-down and Ehresman lost to Harold Sampson 4&3. Lacey and Kirkwood each won three matches to make it to the semifinals. On the way to the semifinals Lacey defeated Charles Guest in the first round 3&2, then he beat Al Watrous 5&4 and Sampson 4&3 before losing to Tommy Armour, the eventual winner, one-down. Kirkwood beat Gunnar Johnson 8&7 in the first round, then he got by Jack Collins in 37 holes and he nipped Horton Smith one-down. In the semifinals he lost to Sarazen 5&4. Armour then defeated Sarazen one-down in the finals.
On the last Tuesday of September a driving contest that welcomed all comers was held at Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium under the lights. The national amateur was being held at Merion Cricket Club that week and all of the contestants were eligible to enter, which some of them did. Some of the leading professionals that were entered were Gene Sarazen, Tommy Armour, Harry Cooper, Emmett French, Clarence Hackney and Ed Dudley. Seats were priced from $1 to $3. There was a purse of $7,500 and more than 100 entered. A tee was constructed at a 40-foot elevation in the south endzone. In order to qualify for the finals each of the entrants hit three drives into a sixty-yard wide fairway, which extended for 422 yards. The players were facing a stiff cold wind so there was almost no roll. In the finals Detroit’s Clarence Gamber missed the fairway with his first two drives and then proceeded to win the contest. He won with an average of 256 yards, 5 and 1/3 inches. Gamber’s longest drive, which was registered on his fifth and final attempt, covered 262 yards and one inch. That was also the longest drive of all the contestants. Cliff Spencer of Baltimore was next with an average of 250 yards, 1 and 2/3 inches. Washington D.C.’s T. Monroe Hunter finished third with an average of just over 247 yards. Detroit’s James Beaupre was fourth as he averaged 240 yards. Tony Longo, who was later a Section member, (238 yards, 2 feet, 10 inches) finished fifth, Al Heron (238 yards, 6 inches) was sixth and Clarence Hackney (222 yards) was seventh.
The national PGA meeting was at the Palmer House in Chicago during the third week of November. The delegates voted to increase the number of qualifiers for the PGA Championship from 64 to 100. The suggestion for the creation of a business golfer PGA member classification was rejected, as they could not be admitted due to the apprenticeship rules. Before a person could become a member he had to serve a three-year apprenticeship in a golf shop under a PGA member. The delegates also voted to limit the members of the Ryder Cup team to professionals born in the United States. Before that the restriction had been an unwritten understanding for eligibility. Charles W. Hall was elected president. Jack Pirie was reelected secretary and Jack B. Mackie was reelected treasurer. The vice presidents were W.H. Way, Harold Sampson, Dan J. Goss, Jack Shea, Thomas Boyd and Bob Johnson. The delegates to the meeting from the Philadelphia Section were Alec Duncan and Robert Stalker.
Back to Top
The R&A sanctioned the use of steel-shafted golf clubs for all tournament play. The USGA had made them legal for tournament play in late 1924. By the late 1920s steel had almost completely replaced hickory in the United States.
In early January the Wanamaker Cup which Rodman Wanamaker had donated for the PGA Championship in 1916 reappeared after having been lost for more than six years. An employee of the L.A. Young Company that manufactured the Walter Hagen golf clubs in Grand Rapids, Michigan found it in the company’s basement. It was in an unopened box. Hagen had won the PGA Championship for a second time in 1924 and possession of the cup for a year. When Hagen appeared for the 1925 championship he said he had forgotten to bring it. He won the tournament and then won it again in 1926 and 1927 for four straight. Finally in 1930 the PGA had a new cup made to replace the previous one. When pressed about the disappearance and return of the cup, Hagen said he had asked a cap driver to deliver it to his hotel. Now the cup was back in the hands of the PGA. The substitute cup was turned into the Alex Smith Cup for the low medalist at qualifying each year at the PGA Championship.
On the second weekend in January Ed Dudley was on the West Coast winning the Los Angeles Open. On Tuesday qualifying was held at six golf courses for 58 spots in the starting field that had not been taken by exempt players. The Wilshire Country Club hosted the tournament. Par at Wilshire was 70, but it was reduced to 69 for the last day of 36 holes. The course was drying out so a par five on the back nine was played as a par four for the final two rounds. At the halfway point Eddie Loos, who had been the professional at the Philadelphia Cricket Club in 1917, and Al Espinosa were tied for the lead at 139. Dudley trailed by six strokes. On the morning of the last day Dudley posted a 72 to pick up two strokes on the leaders. A last round 68 brought him home two strokes in front of Espinosa (287) and Loos (287). Tommy Armour and Frank Walsh tied for fourth with 288s. Dudley played the 72 holes in rounds of 72, 73, 72 and 68 for a total of 285 strokes. Dudley had been the professional nearby at the Hollywood Country Club in 1928.. The victory earned him 35 percent of the $10,000 purse, $3,500.
One week later on the third Monday of January, Alec Duncan was elected president at a Section meeting at the Penn Athletic Club in Philadelphia. Roxborough Country Club’s professional, Herb Jewson, who had been the president of the Section for four years in the 1920s, was back in office as the secretary-treasurer. He was called on to replace Robert Stalker who had died recently. Leo Shea had been the first vice president the year before and would have been elected president but he had moved to West Virginia to take a new head professional position. Duncan was elected because of the executive ability he had shown on the tournament committee and his skill as a witty after-dinner speaker. Ed Clarey was elected first vice president and Bala Golf Club professional Lew Goldbeck was elected second vice president. At this meeting two proposals of interest were discussed. A new larger, lighter golf ball was endorsed by the Section. The ball measured 1.68 inches in diameter and weighed 1.55 ounces. The previous ball had been 1.62 inches and 1.62 ounces. One reason given for the change was that the ball would sit up better and be easier to hit from the fairway. Another reason for the lighter ball was to put the spoon (3-wood) and the long irons back into the game since it wouldn’t go quite as far as the heavier ball. The USGA was concerned that the older courses were becoming obsolete. The members didn’t have much choice about the matter, as this was the only ball sanctioned by the United States Golf Association. However they went on record as unanimously approving the ball. The other proposal of interest wasn’t a new one as it had been brought up before. The suggestion was made by several members to change the Section Championship to match play from stroke play. It was pointed out that the national PGA Championship was contested at match play so the Section Championship should be played under the same format. The tournament committee agreed to consider the change.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. won the Southeastern Open in Augusta, Georgia at the end of March. He finished two strokes in front of Paul Runyan (292) with rounds of 74, 74, 71 and 70 for a total of 290 and took away a check for $1,000. The last round was played in driving rain and Kirkwood came from five strokes behind to win. His last round, a one-under-par 70, was the low round of the day. Willie Macfarlane (293) finished third and Johnny Farrell was next at 295.
Riverton Country Club and their professional Walter Brickley hosted the Section Championship on the second Monday of May. The winner was George Griffin, Sr. with a score of (72-77) 149. Griffin nipped The Springhaven Club’s assistant professional Bill Cone (150) by one stroke in the one-day 36-hole tournament. A.B. “Al “Nelson and Clarence Hackney tied for third at 151 as eight professionals finished in the money. There were 41 entries.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (308) finished tied for 26th in the British Open at the Carnoustie Golf Club, Angus, Scotland in the first week of June. Tommy Armour was the winner giving him his third victory in a major. Armour’s rounds were 73, 75, 77 and 71 for 296. Jose Jurado (297) finished second one stroke back. Gene Sarazen and Percy Alliss tied for third with 298s.
On the second Monday in June 20-year-old Robert “Buzz” Campbell led the qualifying for the U.S. Open at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club with a 72 and an 80 for 152. Johnny Schuebel, now the pro at the Airport Driving Range in Camden, was next with a 153. George B. Smith (154) and Clarence Hackney (157) also qualified. Two Maryland pros also qualified at Whitemarsh. There were 1,150 entries competing at twenty locations and 74 of them were at Whitemarsh. Ed Dudley and Al Heron, who was now the professional at the Riverside Country Club, were exempt due to having finished in the top thirty in the U.S. Open the year before but Heron didn’t enter the tournament.
In the third week of June Ed Dudley won his second PGA Tour tournament of the year, the Western Open at Dayton, Ohio. His four-under-par 280 total for the three days beat Walter Hagen (284), who finished second, by four strokes. Gene Sarazen (287) and Jock Collins (287) tied for third, seven off the pace. Dudley’s rounds were 69, 70, 70 and 71. The Western Open first played in 1899 had the status of a major at that time. First prize was $500 from the $1,615 purse.
In 1931 Leo Diegel was employed in Mexico as the professional at the Agua Caliente Golf Club. There was a Ryder Cup rule that one had to be born and domiciled in the country he was representing. The British PGA felt like Diegel should not be eligible for the matches as he was working outside the USA. When Diegel provided proof that he had an apartment in San Diego, which was only 21 miles from Agua Caliente, the furor died down.
The Ryder Cup Matches were back in the United States at Columbus, Ohio in late June. The captain Walter Hagen was determined to field the strongest team possible. He held a seventy-two-hole qualifier at the host club, Scioto Country Club, the week before the cup matches to fill the last four places on the team. Future Section member Leo Diegel was one of six professionals already chosen for the team. Ed Dudley, who had been a member of the losing team in 1929, was one of thirteen professionals invited to Scioto to compete for the last four places on the team. Dudley didn’t make the team but Denny Shute a future Section member did. Shute had to win an eighteen-hole playoff after being tied for the fourth place at the end of the seventy-two holes. Hagen’s plan seemed to bring results as the U.S. team defeated the visitors from the British Isles by a comfortable 9 to 3 margin. Henry Cotton was selected for the British team but was uninvited since he insisted on traveling alone.
In the first week of July the U.S. Open was held at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. The defending champion Bobby Jones had retired from competitive golf so O.B. Keeler who had become famous writing about Jones’ golf had been hired by NBC. Keeler gave a report on the tournament over radio from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. each day. On Saturday Keeler broadcast his show while following the leaders through the final holes with a portable transmitter strapped to his back. Because of the new 1.68-inch ball all the contestants’ golf balls were measured at the first tee. Burke and George Von Elm ended regulation play tied at 292. The next day a 36-hole playoff was held. Burke was around in 73-76=149 and Von Elm tied him with 75-74=149. The next day the two pros met in another 36-hole playoff. This time Burke prevailed with (77-71) 148 against Von Elm’s (76-73) 149. Burke’s tournament rounds were 73, 72, 74 and 73 for 292.prize was $1,000. Leo Diegel finished third at 294. Wiffy Cox and Bill Mehlhorn tied for fourth at 295. Ed Dudley (301) finished 15th winning $57.50 as 20 places were paid. Clarence Hackney (312) tied for 43rd and George B. Smith (315) tied for 46th. Buzz Campbell withdrew after the first round. Johnny Schuebel missed the cut. Total prize money was $4,550.
The Pennsylvania Open was played at the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Flourtown Course in mid July. Felix Serafin grabbed the title with a two-day three-over-par 287. Serafin’s rounds were 76, 70, 71 and 70. He came from six strokes back after the first day to win by three over the defending champion, Ed Dudley (290), who finished second. France’s Aubrey Boomer and New York’s Joe Turnesa tied for third at 291. Ten pros won money from the $1,080 purse and the winner took away almost one-half, $500.
The Met Open was held in the third week of July at the Crestmont Country Club in New Jersey. Looking for a third Met Open title Macdonald Smith began slowly with rounds of 76, 72 on the first two days. In the morning of the third day Smith burned up the course with a record six under par 66 and he tacked on a 71 in the afternoon. The last round was played in driving rain. Smith’s 285 total brought him in five stokes in front of Gene Sarazen (290). Johnny Farrell (291) was next two strokes in front of Ed Dudley and Willie Macfarlane who tied for fourth with 293s.
At the Philadelphia Open in the second week of August at the Manufacturers Golf & Country Club, Ed Dudley led after the morning round on the first day of the 72-hole event with a par 72. During the afternoon round there were heavy rains and thunderstorms, which made the course unplayable at times. Even though some players had to hole out with lofted irons on greens that were flooded, play was not stopped. The sponsor of the tournament, the Golf Association of Philadelphia, decided to cancel out the scores for the whole day even though the morning round was played in perfect sunny weather. Their interpretation of the rules of golf was “If the committee considers that the course is not in playable condition it shall at any time have the power to declare the day’s play null and void”. One of the forty-three competitors who finished was Dudley. As he was nearing the 18th green lightning struck near the clubhouse and the flash reflected off his club. He stayed on his feet but his leg was temporarily paralyzed and it was about thirty seconds before he could walk again. He finished with an 81 but the score didn’t count. The next day (Tuesday) the tournament, now reduced to 36-holes, was resumed. The winner for the second straight year was Clarence Hackney with rounds of 72 and 75 for 147. Dudley, A.B. “Al” Nelson, Dudley’s assistant Ralph Hutchison, and Baltimore professional Ralph Beach tied for second with 150s. Hackney had benefited greatly from the washout as he had shot an 80 in the first round. Total prize money was $935 and Hackney won $350.
The Section members held qualifying for the PGA Championship at The Springhaven Club on the third Monday of August. George Low, Jr., 19 year-old assistant to his father, George, Sr. at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club, led the competition for the seven places in the national championship with 72-73 for 145. Ed Dudley picked up the second spot with a 146. Next at 147 were Joe Kirkwood, Sr. and Clarence Hackney. The fifth and sixth spots went to Charlie Hoffner and John Beadle, the professional at the Paxon Hollow Golf Club, who each posted 148s. Harry Markel and his former boss Al Heron ended up in a tie for the last spot at 150. The spot went to Markel, who was now the head professional at the Berkshire Country Club, when he birdied the first hole against a par for Heron. Before the qualifying began there had been questions over who was eligible for the tournament. All of the competitors had paid their PGA dues but several had been late with their payments. In order to be eligible for the PGA Championship, $35 of the $50 dues had to be paid by July 15. Six of the pros entered who had not paid their dues on time were Hackney, Hoffner, Markel, the host professional Andy Campbell, Morrie Talman and Howard Slattery. Even though Campbell had been two days late with his dues, the PGA of America had accepted his entry, maybe because he was hosting the qualifying event. The pros not in the good graces of the PGA of America, competed in the qualifying rounds under protest. Since the national PGA office had accepted Campbell’s entry the local officers allowed the other late payers to compete under protest. After the players had teed off, Section Secretary Herb Jewson wired Albert R. Gates, business administrator for the PGA of America, for his opinion. Gates replied “Should the gentlemen you refer to be certified as qualifiers for the P.G.A. Championship their entries will probably be accepted, but cannot decide definitely until full report from sectional officers”. That evening George Sayers, professional at the Merion Cricket Club, who had both missed qualifying by one stroke, sent a letter of protest via overnight wire to the PGA of America. It stated that three of the qualifiers were late paying their dues and were not in good standing as of July 15 and should not have been entered in the qualifying event. Of the six accused, Hoffner, like Campbell had been two days late paying their dues. Markel and Hackney had been 30 days late with their payments. Kirkwood had to qualify even though he had been a semi-finalist in the PGA Championship the year before and Dudley had to qualify even though he had won two tournaments on the PGA Tour that year.
Two days later on August 19, Philadelphia Section secretary/treasurer Herb Jewson announced that the PGA of America had declared Harry Markel and Clarence Hackney ineligible for the PGA Championship. Charlie Hoffner, who had been two days late paying his dues, was not disqualified. Al Heron, who had lost in a playoff two days before to his former assistant Markel, was now in the championship. Jewson stated that an 18-hole playoff would be held on Friday for the seventh qualifying place. George Sayers, Marty Lyons and the host professional Andy Campbell who had shot 151 scores were scheduled to playoff. Campbell wired the PGA to say that he did not care to play in the PGA Championship.
The 18-hole rain soaked playoff at The Springhaven Club between Marty Lyons and George Sayers held on the third Friday of August ended in a tie with 79s. A second 18-hole playoff was held in rain the same day, which Lyons won handily with a 73 against an 85 for Sayers.
In the third week of September nine Section members, seven apparent qualifiers plus Clarence Hackney and Harry Markel, who had been declared ineligible by the PGA, showed up at the Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, Rhode Island for the PGA Championship. Hackney, Markel and Charlie Hoffner were informed that they were not eligible for the tournament. Hackney said he had not been notified that his dues payment was overdue. He also said that he didn’t know he had been barred from participating in the championship until he arrived at Wannamoisett. He threatened to take legal action by applying for an injunction against the playing of the championship. Hackney was seen walking around with important looking papers sticking out of his back pocket. When the PGA officials were told of this they changed their stance. Hackney, Markel and Hoffner were given starting times along with the 104 Section qualifiers for the qualifying rounds. Hackney and Markel missed qualifying for the matches with Hackney missing the playoff for the last spot by one stroke. Gene Sarazen was the medalist at (73-72) 145. Ed Dudley and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. qualified for the 32-man match play with 151s. Failing to qualify along with Hackney and Markel were Al Heron, John Beadle, Charlie Hoffner, Marty Lyons and George Low, Jr. Dudley and Kirkwood both lost in the first round. Dudley lost to Cyril Walker 3&2 and Kirkwood lost to Tommy Armour 2&1. All of the matches were 36-holes. Long shot Tom Creavy, who was 20 years old, won by beating future Section member Denny Shute in the finals 2&1. To reach the finals Creavy defeated Sarazen 5&3 in the semifinals and Shute got by Billy Burke one-up. Total prize money was $7,200 with first prize $1,000.
Ralph Hutchison won the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship over his home course on the third Monday of September. Hutchison put together rounds of 77 and 76 on the Concord Country Club course. His total of 153 was three strokes better than Clarence Ehresman and Valley Forge Golf Club assistant Jimmy Lyons who each posted 156s. Bill Cone and Ted Beadle, who was assistant to his brother John Beadle at the Paxon Hollow Country Club, tied for fourth with 158s.
Later that year it seemed like the tournament committee had listened to the suggestions for a Section match play championship. A match play tournament, though not the Section Championship, was held at the end of September at the Paxon Hollow Golf Club. The professionals qualified for 16 places the morning of the first day and played the first round matches that afternoon. The low qualifiers were Ed Dudley, Charlie Hoffner, Jimmy Lyons the assistant at the Gulph Mills Golf Club and George Griffin, Sr. with 74s. They played two matches the second day and a 36-hole final the third day. At the conclusion of the first day’s play the Paxon Hollow Golf Club added $100 to the purse. The Western Open champion, Dudley, met the former Canadian Open champion Clarence Hackney in the finals. Dudley only led by one hole at the lunch break but in the afternoon round he was five under par and laid his opponent three stymies as well and the match was over after the thirteenth hole (6&5). In the semifinals Dudley eliminated Howard Slattery, the professional at the Bucks County Golf Club, 4&3 and Hackney put out Griffin, Sr. 2&1.
Ten months after requiring that the tournament golfers play the 1.55 ounce golf ball, the USGA changed their minds and introduced another ball late that year. The new ball would be the same size, 1.68 inches, but heavier at 1.62 ounces. The R&A had not gone along with the USGA ball. The USGA’s new specifications gave the manufacturers more latitude, as the ball could be larger than the prescribed size and less than the prescribed weight. Most golfers didn’t like the light ball they had been required to play and called it the “balloon ball”. The better players felt that the light ball didn’t hold its line in the wind and didn’t putt well. Late that fall a ball manufacturer had sent Ed Dudley some of the new balls to test. He said he thought the new balls were so much better that the pros might be shooting in the 50s soon. This was the third change in ten years. Prior to 1921 when 1.62 ounces and 1.62 inches were fixed as the standard, the use of any size ball was permissible.
Alec Duncan was reelected president for the next year at the Section’s annual meeting on the first Monday of November. They met at the Denckla Building in Philadelphia. The meeting was restricted to Class “A” members of the PGA. Ed Clarey was reelected first vice president and The DuPont Country Club professional Percy Vickers was elected second vice president. Secretary-Treasurer Herb Jewson, who was reelected, reported in his year-end financial statement that $1,912.50 had been paid out in prize money at the Section tournaments. This left a balance in the treasury of $342.14. This was very good since they had had no money at the same time the year before. Only $206 of this was immediately available because $142.14 was in the Manayunk Trust Company that had been closed due to the Great Depression. Len Sheppard and the St. Mungo Golf Company who he represented hosted the meeting. Jewson and Clarey were elected to be delegates to the PGA’s national meeting, but Clarey declined and George Sayers was elected as the Section’s second delegate.
In mid November twenty-three of the Sections were represented by 46 delegates at the PGA’s national meeting in Boston. The meeting was held at the Statler Hotel. One Section did not attend the meeting. Herb Jewson and George Sayers represented the Philadelphia Section. The delegates agreed to create a uniform code for the instruction of golf. Every PGA member would be asked to submit his plan for teaching golf. Sectional boards would study the various plans with the aid of a physician. The Sectional boards would send their plans to a national board. The national board would be composed of America’s outstanding golf teachers, leading amateur golfers, physicians, physical culture people, and the president of the USGA. The board would agree on one uniform and officially adopted set of rules for instruction. All members of the PGA would be expected to adhere to the adopted set of teaching rules or risk losing their PGA membership if they refused. An examining board would be organized to test every member’s knowledge of the plan and the future applicants for membership also. No one would be admitted to the PGA unless he knew the teaching rules and taught them to his pupils. On the tournament front Gene Sarazen and some of the money players agreed to play exhibitions to raise funds to support the association’s tournament bureau. Also at the meeting the dues were reduced from $50 to $40. President Charles W. Hall, Secretary Jack Pirie and Treasurer Jack B. Mackie were reelected. The vice presidents were Jack Shea, W.H. Way, Dan J. Goss, Harold Sampson, John J. Martin and Thomas Boyd. There were now 1,380 PGA members, an increase of 280 over the previous year.
Ed Dudley had had a very successful year, playing the light ball, winning the Los Angeles and Western Opens. In winning the Western Open he shot one of the lower 72-hole scores on record at that time, a 280. In late December the PGA announced that Dudley had won the scoring title for the year. He averaged 71.39 strokes for the thirty tournaments that he entered. Johnny Farrell played in more events than any other pro, 36, finishing second in scoring with 71.80 strokes per round. Walter Hagen ended up in third place with an average of 72.0 strokes per round. Gene Sarazen and George Von Elm, the leading money winners for the year, were in fifth and sixth place in the final averages with more than 73 strokes per round.
Back to Top
By late January it was apparent that the new heavier ball was easier to play. The winning scores on the PGA’s winter tour were lower, from three to nine strokes, in every event. The pros stated that the ball putted better and cut through the wind better than any ball they had played before. The PGA went on record that they hoped the R&A and the other powers of the world of golf would recognize it as the international ball.
Ed Dudley and Tommy Armour won the International Four-Ball in the second week of March at the Miami Country Club. They defeated the U.S. Open champion, Billy Burke, and his partner Johnny Golden in the 36-hole finals by a margin of 3&2. Dudley and Armour reached the finals by putting out Gene Sarazen and Johnny Farrell in the semifinals 3&2. Burke and Golden eliminated Harry Hampton and Neil McIntyre 2&1.
In the second week of May at the Riverton Country Club Ed Dudley won the other championship of the Section, now played at stroke play since the Section Championship was going to be played at match play. After a morning round of 74 Dudley set a new competitive course record of 69 in the afternoon to finish four strokes in front of former Section champion George B. Smith (147). Dudley took possession of the Evening Public Ledger Cup for the year. The cup, which had been in play since 1922, was continuing on with the Section’s stroke play championship. A.B. “Al” Nelson and Melrose Country Club professional Charlie Schneider tied for third with 149s. Up to that time the cup had gone to the winner of the Section Championship for one year. It was decided that the cup would remain with the stroke play event.
Qualifying for the U.S. Open was held at 20 locations in the country on the first Monday in June. There were 1,012 entries, 139 less than the year before. Ed Dudley was one of 34 golfers who were exempt from qualifying. The Philadelphia locale was The Springhaven Club and with 71 entries nine places were allotted to that site. George B. Smith was the medalist with a 73 and a 69 for 14 2. A.B. “Al” Nelson and Charlie Hoffner tied for second with 144s. The next two places went to St. Davids Golf Club assistant Bill Green and Howard Newton, the professional at the Cedarbrook Country Club who tied with 146s. Walter Brickley picked up the sixth spot with a 147. In a sudden death playoff for the last three spots The Springhaven Club’s professional Andy Campbell (148) and Felix Serafin (148) got in on the second hole. Jack Hiner (148), a former assistant at the Green Valley Country Club, prevailed over Bill Neilan (148), the professional at the North Hills Country Club for the ninth and last spot. Even though he qualified Hoffner didn’t play in the Open that year.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. qualified for the U.S. Open at the Olympia Fields Country Club’s #1 and # courses in Chicago on that same Monday in June. Kirkwood put together rounds of 78 and 77 for 155 to make it by two strokes. The medalists, Bob MacDonald and John Bird, shot 151s and there were sixteen spots there.
The British Open was played in second week of June at Prince’s Golf Club, Sandwich, England. Gene Sarazen (283) won another major championship and he won by a large margin despite a poor last round. Sarazen’s rounds were 70, 69, 70 and 74. Macdonald Smith, the greatest player to never win a major at that time, finished second at 288. Arthur Havers finished third at 289. Percy Allis, Charles Whitcombe and Alf Padgham tied for fourth with 292 totals.
Gene Sarazen won the U.S. Open in the fourth week of June at the Fresh Meadow Country Club, Flushing, New York. Sarazen (286) put together rounds of 74, 76, 70 and 66 to finish three strokes in front of Bobby Cruickshank (289) and Phil Perkins (289). Leo Diegel finished fourth at 294. Ed Dudley (302) finished in the money tying for 14th and winning $63.34. George B. Smith (303) tied for 21st, missing the money by one stroke. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (304) tied for 23rd and Bill Green (322) also made the cut. Felix Serafin, Andy Campbell, Walter Brickley and Howard Newton missed the cut. A.B. “Al” Nelson withdrew after the first round.
The Pennsylvania Open was at the Oakmont Country Club in the second week of July. Highland Country Club professional Vince Eldred won with a 306 score as Oakmont proved to be as difficult as advertised. Eldred’s rounds were 75, 77, 78 and 76. Oakmont’s professional and green superintendent, Emil Loeffler (309) finished second three strokes back. Ed Dudley and Perry Del Vecchio, professional at the Greensburg Country Club, tied for third with 311s.
The PGA of America announced that all members in arrears on their dues as of July 15 would be taken off the rolls. Such former members were not subject to reinstatement and would have to rejoin as new members.
In mid August Olin Dutra won the Met Open at the Lido Golf Club on Long Island. After beginning with a 76 and a 73 Dutra posted a 68 in the morning of the third day but he still trailed the leader by five strokes. A course record 65 in the last round that broke the course record on a very difficult course brought Dutra (282) a two-stroke victory over Walter Kozak (284). Joe Turnesa finished third at 288. Bobby Cruickshank, Johnny Farrell and Vic Ghezzi tied for fourth with 280s.
On August 1st Joe Kirkwood, Sr. led the qualifying on Philmont Country Club’s North Course for the PGA Championship. Kirkwood drove all night after giving an exhibition in Bradford the day before. Kirkwood stopped at his home for breakfast and then without any sleep for 24 hours he toured the North Course in 70 strokes twice for a 140 total. Kirkwood finished five strokes in front of Ed Dudley (145) who finished second in the competition for the seven open places. Clarence Hackney was third with a 146 and Philmont Country Club teaching pro Joe Coble was next at 152. Charlie Schneider and Ed Ginther, professional at the Newark Country Club tied for fifth with 153s. George B. Smith (154) birdied the first playoff hole to beat out four other professionals for the last spot.
One week later two-time tournament runner-up George Griffin, Sr. won the Philadelphia Open at the Paxon Hollow Golf Club. He had played in his first Philadelphia Open in 1910 as a teenage shop assistant. Griffin took home $350 with his two-day three-over-par 291 as he nipped Ed Dudley (292) by one stroke. Griffin’s rounds were 72, 72, 71 and 76. Clarence Hackney (293), winner of the tournament the two previous years, and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (293) finished two strokes back of the winner. The Golf Association of Philadelphia provided five money prizes for pros affiliated with their member clubs who did not finish in the top money places. The purse totaled $955. Secretary of the GAP, Francis B. Warner, arranged transportation for the benefit of those who did not have automobiles.
The PGA Championship was played in early September at the Keller Golf Club in St. Paul, Minnesota. Of the seven Section members who had qualified locally for the PGA Championship only Ed Dudley and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. qualified for the match play. They had tied for third in the qualifying with 145 totals. Olin Dutra was the low qualifier at (71-69) 140. Clarence Hackney (153) lost out in a ten-man playoff for the last two spots. The sudden death playoff lasted just one hole as two players made birdie threes and the other eight went home. Joe Coble, Charlie Schneider, Ed Ginther and George B. Smith also failed to qualify. Kirkwood lost in the first round one-down to John Kinder. Dudley won three matches and reached the semifinals. On the way to the semifinals Dudley beat Joe Turnesa 8&7, Henry Picard 10&9 and Al Collins on the 38th hole. In the semifinals Dudley lost to Olin Dutra, who went on to win the championship over Frank Walsh 3&2. It took 38 holes for Walsh to make it past the defending champion Tom Creavy in the semifinals
Joe Brennan won the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship for a third time on the third Monday of September. Now the teaching professional at the Oak Park Country Club, Brennan toured the Baederwood Golf Club par 71 course in rounds of 76 and 74. His 150 total won by three strokes over George Low, Jr. (153). Bruce Coltart finished third at 156. Bill Green and Jimmy Lyons, now back as the assistant at the Gulph Mills Golf Club, tied for fourth with 158s.
The tournament committee had heeded the proposals from some of the previous Section meetings and changed the Section Championship to a match play format with an 18-hole qualifying round. The tournament was also moved to the fall after having been played in the early part of the year every year except one. Played at the Concord Country Club in late September the championship was won for a third time by George B. Smith. He defeated Clarence Hackney on the 37th hole in the finals. George Griffin, Sr., won the qualifying medal with a one-under-par 69. Ed Dudley, the host professional, did not play in the tournament. He had sprained his ankle in an exhibition match the day before and walking 36 holes a day would not have been possible. In the semifinals Smith defeated John Beadle 2&1 and Hackney defeated Howard Jervis, the professional at the Tredyffrin Country Club 2&1.
Herb Jewson was returned to the office of president at the Section’s annual meeting on the first Monday of November at McCallister’s restaurant in Philadelphia. Jewson had been the president for four years from 1924 to 1927. He was elected because he had done such outstanding work as the secretary-treasurer. Two years before when Jewson was elected treasurer the Section had no money in their bank account and now they had $653.65. However, only $412.65 was immediately available since another bank, the Jenkintown Citizens Bank had closed. Because of the problems the year before the officers probably thought they should keep the funds in more than one bank but they now had $241 in two closed banks. For the first time the Section members were paying their national dues to the PGA of America and their Section dues to the Section treasurer. Until then the Section collected both of the dues and then in turn passed the national’s money on to the national office. Ed Dudley, who ran second in the race against Jewson, automatically became first vice president. Ed Ginther was elected second vice president. A.B. “Al” Nelson was elected secretary-treasurer. George Low, Sr. was made an honorary vice president of the Section on a motion presented by Dudley. Low had been the first president of the old Eastern Professional Golfers’ Association and had been runner-up in the 1899 U.S. Open. Dudley was appointed tournament chairman and he promptly laid out a plan for the coming season at the meeting. He stated that there would be three sweepstakes events with each followed by a dinner and a meeting. Any professional who did not stay for the meeting would be fined. The pro-am championship would be named the Wasserman Cup for Philmont member Howard Wasserman who had donated a trophy for the competition. A professional could bring any amateur that he wanted to, but for the pro-lady championship the professional had to play with a member of his club. There also would be three handicap pro-amateur tournaments for amateurs who scored in the 90s and 100s. Thirty-seven Section members were in attendance. A meeting was scheduled for the second week in December to consult with their delegates following their return from the national meeting.
The national PGA meeting was held at the Pere Marquette Hotel in Peoria, Illinois in the third week of November. The delegates elected their first American born President, George R. Jacobus. Jack B. Mackie was reelected treasurer and R.W. “Doc” Treacy was elected secretary. The vice presidents were Thomas Boyd, James Wilson, Dan J. Goss, Harold Sampson, Fred Brand and Wolf C. Riman. The elimination of alternates to the PGA Championship was the big news from the meeting. There was a story going around that an alternate had attempted to buy a place in the championship. As a result of this if any qualifier dropped out his place would remain vacant. Herb Jewson and A.B. “Al” Nelson represented the Philadelphia Section.
In late November the leading playing professionals in the country formed an association to promote open tournaments in the United States and Canada. Two of these professionals were Ed Dudley and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. Walter Hagen’s manager, Bob Harlow, was hired to manage their affairs. He stated that the group would not operate any tournaments in opposition to the PGA schedule. Harlow explained that the members of the new group were not satisfied with schedule offered by the PGA Tournament Bureau. The winter tour purses had totaled $62,000 the previous year but the new winter schedule was only offering $43,000. The PGA stated that the prize money would compare favorably with other years considering the present business conditions. President George Jacobus stated that the PGA appreciates the value of the playing professionals and is doing all it can to help. Although they made up only a small percentage of the membership one-fourth of the PGA budget went to the promotion of money tournaments. Within a few days the PGA announced the hiring of a Chicago newspaperman to run their tournament bureau.
The country was going through the Great Depression and there were destitute PGA members. In mid December President George Jacobus appointed an unemployment relief committee made up of the Section presidents. The presidents would make a report on any member who was unable to help himself and the association would see that he was provided for.
Golf balls had been selling for $2 a dozen during the first half of the year but the price had cracked at the end of June. It was predicted that balls would sell for $1 to $1.25 a dozen the next year. This was a real bargain since the gutta-percha golf ball had sold for $3.50 to $4 per dozen in 1899.
Back to Top
In January Ed Dudley was named golf professional at the new Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. He was a native of Georgia and was the first choice of Bobby Jones for this position from the time the club was formed. The plans were for him to be at Augusta in the winter and at Concord Country Club in the summer.
Early in the year, Section Secretary-Treasurer A.B. “Al” Nelson received word that Denny Shute had been selected as the new professional at Llanerch Country Club. An outstanding player and Ryder Cup team member in 1931, Shute had again been voted onto the team for the 1933 matches.
In mid January Jim Gallagher, the PGA clinic man, visited the pros in Philadelphia to give them a demonstration on the art of club making. 41 Section members turned out for the one-day clinic. It was a big help to the younger pros as well as the older pros who had to learn some of the art all over again because so many golfers were using steel shafts. Fitting the golfers with the new steel shafts was a little bit different from the wooden shafts.
Denny Shute won the Gasparilla Open in Tampa, Florida in the second week of February. The last day he shot a 67 in the morning and a course record 63 in the afternoon to catch Willie Macfarlane at 272. Shute’s first two rounds were a pair of 71s and par was 70. Shute beat Macfarlane with a par on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. First prize was $300. Johnny Revolta (276), Horton Smith (279), and Craig Wood (280) were third, fourth, and fifth.
Joe Kirkwood, Sr. won the 31st North and South Open in late March at the Pinehurst #2 Course. His 277 score set a new tournament record by four strokes and he won by five strokes, as he collected the $1,200 first prize. Kirkwood’s four rounds were 68, 67, 70 and 72. He had stopped giving his trick shot exhibitions for two months and he felt that this helped his game, as he did not once drive off a fairway in the 72 holes. Harry Cooper finished second at 282. Craig Wood and Horton Smith tied for third with 285s. Henry Picard was next at 286. Denny Shute (291) tied for 11th.
U.S. Open qualifying was held at the Old York Road Country Club in Jenkintown on the third Monday in May. At par 69 and 6,100 yards the 55 contestants all thought the scoring would be very low. At the end of the day the lowest score was 150, twelve over par. Bill Neilan, Joe Brennan now the assistant professional at the Hi-Top Country Club, John W. Campbell the professional at the Holmesburg Golf Club and amateur Will Gunn, Jr. all posted 150s. Ed Ginther and Johnny Moyer tied for fifth with 151s. Pete Henry, Sr., assistant to Denny Shute at the Llanerch Country Club also qualified with a 152. Shute, Ed Dudley, Joe Kirkwood, Sr. and George B. Smith were exempt from qualifying for having finished in the top 30 in the Open the year before. Kirkwood was now representing the DuPont Penns Grove Country Club. The usual top professionals from the Section and some from outside the Section were there but they couldn’t make any low scores that day.
The Met Open was played in the fourth week of May over the Winged Foot Golf Club’s testing West Course. The winner was Willie Macfarlane with rounds of 72, 72, 75 and 72. Macfarlane (291) made birdie threes on the last two holes to edge out Paul Runyan (292) by one stroke. Dick Metz finished third at 293 and the defending champion Olin Dutra was next with a 295.
A Philadelphia Section PGA stroke play championship was played at Ashbourne Country Club before a gallery of several hundred in late May. Ed Dudley played the last nine holes in 33 strokes to win the other Section Championship again with a par score of 71 and 69 for 140. Dudley edged out Clarence Hackney (141) by one stroke. Charlie Schneider and Denny Shute finished two strokes back in a tie for third with 142s. Hackney was trying to take permanent possession of the Evening Public Ledger Cup as he now had two legs on it, but the cup was Dudley’s to hold for another year.
The U.S. Open was played near Chicago during the second week in June. Six Section members had qualified in mid May and four more were exempt. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (296) tied for ninth, winning $156.25 and Denny Shute (301) tied for 21st winning the next to last money prize of $50. Bill Neilan (312) made the cut but missed the money as an amateur, Johnny Goodman, won the tournament. Goodman’s rounds were 75, 66, 70 and 76 for 287. Ralph Guldahl finished second at 288 and Craig Wood was next with a 290. Walter Hagen and Tommy Armour tied for fourth with 292s. George Smith, Ed Dudley, John Campbell, Ed Ginther, Pete Henry, Sr., Joe Brennan and Johnny Moyer missed the cut.
The Ryder Cup matches were at Southport, England in late June. That year the team had been selected by a vote of the PGA Section presidents and the Executive Committee of the PGA of America. Section members Ed Dudley and Denny Shute along with Leo Diegel who would become a Section member later that year were on the team. The two days of matches were all even as the last pairing left on the course, Shute and his opponent, approached the final green all even. Shute three putted and the cup went back to Britain. Shute also lost his foursome match in partnership with Olin Dutra by 3&2. Dudley won his foursome match in partnership with Billy Burke one-up and he wasn’t called on for the singles matches. At that point the record stood at two wins for each country and no team had won on foreign soil. The British captain J.H. Taylor took a hard line and had his players up for early morning runs. Again Henry Cotton qualified for the British team but was not a member of the team. He was working in Belgium and since the Cup rules stated that only home-born players domiciled in their own country could participate. Partly due to a six-year recess for World War II the British would not win again for 24 years.
Denny Shute recovered from his Ryder Cup failure to win the British Open in the first week of July at the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, St. Andrews, Scotland. Ed Dudley opened up with a 31 on the first nine, which Bernard Darwin called an absurd score. It included an eagle two at the seventh hole. That helped him shoot a 70, which trailed the leader Walter Hagen by two strokes. The host professional Andra Kirkaldy, was performing his ceremonial duty of holding the flagstick at the 18th green for each player. He was the father of David Kirkaldy, who had been the professional at the Aronimink Golf Club and the Brinton Lake Club (Concord) in the early 1920s. At the halfway point Walter Hagen led Ed Dudley by one stroke at 140. The wind came up for the 36-hole final day. Leo Diegel and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. were among five players tied for the lead after three rounds at 216, as Dudley and Craig Wood trailed by one stroke. In the fourth round Shute shot his fourth consecutive 73 and tied Wood at 292. The next day Shute won the 36-hole playoff by five strokes. In the playoff Shute put together a 75 and a 74 for 149 against Wood’s 78 and 76 for 154. This was the first time an American had won while playing in the championship for the first time. The British felt that this was almost as good as having one of their own win it. Shute’s father, also a golf professional, had done his apprenticeship at St. Andrews and his grandmother was still living in Scotland when he won. Eight of the first fourteen in the championship were Americans. Diegel, who would be the professional at Philmont Country Club later that year, finished tied for third with Gene Sarazen and Syd Easterbrook at 293. Dudley (295) tied for seventh, and Kirkwood (297) finished tied for 14th. First prize was 100 pound sterling, which was equal to about $370.
The Country Club of Scranton hosted the Pennsylvania Open in the third week of July. Hollywood Country Club assistant pro Dick Metz took the title to New Jersey with rounds of 70, 70, 72 and 73 for a three-under-par 285. Metz won $550 of the $1,500 at stake. There were eight money prizes. The host professional and a past champion, Felix Serafin, finished second at even par 288. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. and Pittsburgh’s Ted Luther tied for third at 290. Willie Macfarlane and Sam Parks tied for fifth with 297s. The tournament drew a starting field of over 140 players and many were players with national reputations.
In late July the PGA Executive Committee held a telegraphic poll and voted 8 to 2 to exempt the Ryder Cup Team members from qualifying for the PGA Championship. This was good news for Section members Ed Dudley and Denny Shute and the rest of the Ryder Cup Team as most of them were still out of the country when their Sections were holding the qualifying rounds.
On the last Friday of July the Section held qualifying for the PGA Championship at the Llanerch Country Club. Buzz Campbell led the scoring by six strokes with a pair of one under par 71s for 142. Tied for second with 148s were Clarence Hackney, Al Heron, and Harry Markel. Bruce Coltart, the assistant to his father Frank at the Philadelphia Country Club was next at 149. Joe Brennan and Charlie Schneider also made the grade with 150s. There were eight places available and Frank H. Wood, (151) the professional at the Jeffersonville Golf Club, beat George Low, Jr. (151) for the last spot, by making two pars in a sudden-death playoff. The Ryder Cup team members Ed Dudley and Denny Shute were exempt from qualifying.
Three days later on July 31st 117 pros and amateurs teed off in the Philadelphia Open at the lengthened Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Flourtown Course. In his first tournament since returning from the British Open Ed Dudley won the two-day event with a four over par 288. His four rounds of 72, 72, 75 and 69, which established a 72-hole record for the Philly Open, beat out the second place finisher Felix Serafin (297) by nine strokes. Dudley took away a check for $350 and a gold medal with the image of Bobby Jones on it. North Jersey’s William Malcolm finished third with a 302. Malcolm had been a caddy at the Cricket Club’s St. Martins Course 25 years before. In fourth place was Joe Brennan (303), now the teaching professional at the Oak Terrace Country Club. Long Island’s Charles Lacey (306), who had been the assistant pro at the Cricket Club five years before, won fifth money. The weather was so hot that only 47 of the 125 players who began play completed the four rounds. Dudley then left on a three-tournament tour, the PGA, the Canadian Open in Toronto, and the Western Open in Chicago. There were three money prizes for Golf Association of Philadelphia pros that weren’t among the other money winners. The prizes added up to $900.
In the second week of August Ed Dudley (143) and Charlie Schneider (145) qualified on site for the 32-man field in the PGA Championship. All of the players with scores of 146 and better qualified. Jimmy Hines (70-68) and Mortie Dutra (72-66) tied for the medal with 138s. Denny Shute, the British Open champion, and Walter Hagen lined up some exhibitions in England and didn’t arrive home in time to play in their championship at the Blue Mound Country Club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Frank H. Wood, Clarence Hackney, Bruce Coltart, Al Heron, Joe Brennan, Buzz Campbell and Harry Markel failed to qualify. Schneider lost in the first round to Al Espinosa 3&2. Dudley won two matches before losing in the quarterfinal round to Gene Sarazen by 6&5. In the first round Dudley beat Ben Pautke 2&1 and he put out Clarence Clark in the second round 3&1. Sarazen went on to win the title and $1,000 by beating Willie Goggin 5&4. In the semifinals Sarazen eliminated Johnny Farrell 5&4 and Goggin beat Hines one-down. The purse was $7,200.
The next week in August Joe Kirkwood, Sr. won the Canadian Open in Toronto by eight strokes. Kirkwood kept getting better as the tournament progressed. He finished with an eagle on the last hole for a 69, which added to his earlier rounds of 71, 72 and 70 gave him a 282 total. Harry Cooper (290) and Lex Robson (290) tied for second. Ralph Guldahl finished fourth with a 291. Four-time Canadian Open champion Leo Diegel, playing out of Agua Caliente, Mexico tied for fifth with Johnny Farrell and Al Houghton at 292.
The Section Championship was played at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club in late August. The tournament was held on the A and B nines of the 27-hole course. There were some unusual happenings in the qualifying. Howard Slattery, now the professional at the Valley Forge Golf Club, started the front nine in the qualifying round with three birdies and a hole-in-one on the fifth hole to stand five-under-par after the first seven holes. He finished the front side in 31 and was the medalist with a 70. The defending champion, George B. Smith, lost out in a playoff for the last place in the qualifying. After the pairings were made for the match play which commenced that afternoon Slattery announced that he was withdrawing because he had a commitment to a full schedule of golf lessons. At this point the match play pairings were set and could not be changed. Smith was out and Slattery’s opponent received a bye. It was hard to believe this happened, as Slattery had been the tournament chairman a few years before.
There was an added attraction at the Section Championship. As a matter of courtesy the new British Open champion Denny Shute played in the qualifying round at Huntingdon Valley. He had previously announced that it would not be possible for him to compete in the match play as he had an exhibition tour starting the next day. He was paired with his manager and former assistant, Pete Henry, Sr. in a four-ball match against two veteran pros Jack Campbell and George Low, Sr. the host professional. Low and Campbell proved that they could still play as they defeated Shute and Henry 3&2. Henry went on to be the Acushnet (Titleist) salesman and distributor for the Middle Atlantic States.
After that the pros got down to the business of the match play for the Section Championship. Charlie Schneider, who had gotten his start as a caddy at the old Huntingdon Valley Country Club course in Noble, won the championship. He defeated another product of the Philadelphia caddy yards, Joe Brennan, in the 36-hole final by the count of 9&8. In the semifinals Schneider defeated George Low, Jr. one-down and Brennan defeated A.B. “Al” Nelson one-down.
On September 2nd, two days after the Section Championship ended, the PGA Tour came to Hershey for the first annual Hershey Open. Ed Dudley finished off another successful year by adding another victory to his Philadelphia Open title and Section stroke play victory. His two-day scores of 73, 72, 70 and 73 for a four-under-par 288 total won by 10 strokes and earned him $500 from the $1,500 purse. Dudley also won $50 each day for the low round of the day. Al Espinosa, the second place finisher with 298, won $300. George Von Elm finished third with a 299. Willie MacFarlane and Johnny Farrell tied for fourth at 300. The host professional was T.J. Clancey.
The Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship was played at the St. Davids Golf Club on the fourth Monday of September. The tournament ended in a tie between George Low, Jr. and Buzz Campbell. The two assistants who worked under their fathers finished the day with nine over par 151 totals. 75-76 for Low and 74-77 for Campbell. Either one could have been the winner except for putting problems. Low, who excelled at putting, three-putted four times on the last nine and Campbell took three putts on the last green. An 18 hole playoff was scheduled for the next Sunday but was not played until the first Tuesday of October. Philadelphia Country Club assistant Dick Renaghan finished third at 152. Bill Green and Bruce Coltart tied for fourth with 153s.
A playoff for the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship took place on the first Tuesday of October at the St. Davids Golf Club. Playing steady golf, George Low, Jr. took the title. He made all pars on the last nine to put together a one over par 72 that won by four strokes over Buzz Campbell (76), who was back at the Old York Road Country Club.
In late October, Ryder Cup Team member and two-time National PGA champion Leo Diegel signed a contract to become the professional at the Philmont Country Club. Philmont officials announced that Diegel would officially start in March. He had recently finished second in the Eastern Open and he was the chairman of the National PGA tournament committee. Three members of the 1933 Ryder Cup Team were now employed in the Section.
On the first Sunday in November Leo Diegel was on the West Coast winning the Southern California Open in Los Angeles. He put together four rounds of 69, 74, 70 and 69 for a six-under-par 282 that won by five strokes over Willie Hunter (287). Ray Mangrum finished third at 291 and Fay Coleman was next with a 292. Diegel had also won the tournament in 1930.
The next day, the first Monday in November, the Section’s annual meeting was at McCallister’s restaurant in Philadelphia. Section President Herb Jewson and the was reelected along with the other officers. Ed Dudley was again the first vice president and Ed Ginther was the second vice president. A.B. “Al” Nelson was again the secretary/treasurer. The main topic of discussion at the meeting was the desire to establish strict requirements in playing and teaching for PGA membership. One proposal would make it necessary to turn in at least three scores of 75 or better in recognized tournaments. The Philadelphia Section was one of several Sections wishing to create higher standards for membership and eliminate incompetents from recognition as bonfire professionals. The secretary-treasurer reported that the Section had a surplus of $272 after having paid out $1850 for prizes, tournament expenses and incidentals during the year. Jewson and Clarence Hackney were elected as delegates to the national PGA meeting scheduled for later in the month. They were being sent to the meeting with a mandate to bring the next year’s PGA Championship to Philadelphia. The Llanerch Country Club that had put in a bid for it. They were told to ask for September dates since the U.S. Open was being held at the Merion Cricket Club in June. Tournament chairman, Dudley, told the pros at the meeting that he wanted them to make every effort to get all the pros, their assistants, and the amateurs to send in their entries for the U.S. Open qualifying in May. He wanted 200 entries from the Philadelphia area so they could have more Section members in the starting field.
The national PGA meeting was held in Chicago at the Morrison Hotel third week of November. The officers (President George R. Jacobus, Secretary R.W. “Doc” Treacy and Treasurer Jack B. Mackie) were all reelected. The vice presidents were James Wilson, Dan J. Goss, Harold Sampson, Fred Brand and Wolf C. Riman. The delegates decided to exempt the Ryder Cup team members from qualifying for the matches at their championship in the years that the matches were being played. Also the delegates were there to try to adopt a uniform plan for the instruction of the game but there were many heated debates among the professionals concerning the proper method. There were now 25 PGA Sections. The national dues were reduced again, this time to $25 for Class A members. The dues for the assistants (Class D) were still $5. The pros were also paying Section dues. Leo Diegel was the tournament chairman for what comprised a PGA Tour at that time. Herb Jewson and Clarence Hackney were the Philadelphia Section delegates.
In mid December Leo Diegel won again in California. He won the California Open at Long Beach. Diegel shot another six-under-par 282 to win by four over Ky Laffoon and Olin Dutra who tied for second with 286s. Willie Hunter was next at 287. Diegel’s rounds were 70, 71, 72 and 69.
It had become a ritual for Gene Sarazen to pick his top ten tournament professionals for the year. When his list was published in late December Denny Shute, the British Open champion, was #1 on the list. #2 was Craig Wood. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. was #3 and Leo Diegel #5.
Back to Top
In January Ed Dudley became the professional at the Philadelphia Country Club. Since he had been a member of the Ryder Cup team in 1933 he was very well known in the world of golf and applications for the vacant head pro position at the Concord Country Club came from everywhere. Some of the applicants were well known professionals from other countries. Concord received a total of 219 applications. The Melrose Country Club head professional and Section champion Charlie Schneider was selected as Concord’s new professional over some prominent national names such as Paul Runyan, Dick Metz, and Johnny Revolta.
Leo Diegel and Denny Shute were on the PGA Winter Tour. Diegel was on the West Coast and Shute was in Florida. The PGA was having problems getting a schedule organized with conflicting events being played on both coasts at the same time of the year.
In late February Denny Shute won the Gasparilla Open in Tampa, Florida for the second year in a row. For the second straight year he won in a playoff. After tying with Horton Smith at three-under-par 277, Shute won a playoff the next day with a 70 against a 72 for Smith. Shute’s tournament rounds were 67, 68, 70 and 72. Paul Runyan and Willie Macfarlane tied for third with 282s. First prize was $500 and second was $350. They each received an additional $75 for participating in the playoff, which was customary at the time, if the players had to play an extra day.
Denny Shute and Al Espinosa won the International Four-Ball tournament in Miami in the first week of March. Shute birdied the 36th hole to beat the defending champions Paul Runyan and Horton Smith one-down and win the tournament. To reach the finals Shute–Espinosa team defeated the team of Bill Mehlhorn-Wiffy Cox 5&4 and the Runyan-Smith team put out the Walter Hagen-Tom Creavy team 10&9.
Two days before the first Masters tournament got under way in Augusta, Georgia, Joe Kirkwood, Sr. and Gene Sarazen boarded a Pan American flight in Miami and they were off on a world tour to give their golf exhibitions. The Sarazen/Kirkwood tour would last almost one year and cover 100,000 miles. First they visited South America returning to the states in time for the U.S. Open at Merion in June. Then they were off to the British Open and a tour of Europe. In late July they were back in the states for the PGA Championship in Buffalo, where Sarazen was the defending champion. After that, the two pros toured Canada and then they headed for the Far East where they visited eight countries that included China, Japan and Australia.
The first Masters tournament was played at the Augusta National Golf Club in the fourth week of March. At that time the front nine was what would be the second nine one year later. Ed Dudley, the host professional shot 288 to finish fifth, four strokes off Horton Smith’s winning score of 284. On the second day Dudley shot a 69. No one had a lower score in the tournament. Three others also shot 69s later in the tournament and that was now the competitive course record. Denny Shute (294) tied for 13th and Leo Diegel (295) tied for 16th. Smith’s rounds were 70, 72, 70 and 72. Craig Wood finished one stroke out of first place with a 285. Paul Runyan and Billy Burke tied for third with 286s. There were 61 professionals and amateurs in the field by invitation. The club held a Calcutta off site of the course, where all the entries were auctioned off. The members had an understanding among themselves, in which Bobby Jones would sell for the highest price, which held true. The calcutta auction generated $4,543, which wasn’t much less than the $5,000 purse that the professionals were competing for. First prize was $1,500. Dudley won $400 for his fifth place finish. It took a score of 293 or better to make the money.
For two years the PGA had been working to create a uniform code for the instruction of golf. On May 4th A.B. “Al” Nelson, the Section secretary, wrote to George Jacobus, the PGA president, concerning the professionals that had been selected for the Section’s Examining Board. The Examining Board would test every member’s knowledge of the plan and the future applicants for membership also. No one was to be admitted to the PGA unless he knew the adopted PGA teaching method and taught it to his pupils. The professionals selected for the board were Herb Jewson, Ed Dudley, George Sayers, Bill Leach, Dave Cuthbert, Alec Duncan, and Nelson.
A Philadelphia Section stroke play championship was played at the Philadelphia Country Club’s Spring Mill Course on the first Monday of May and Ed Dudley was the winner of this other Section Championship for the fourth year in a row and the third consecutive year at stroke play. This time Dudley took permanent possession of the Evening Public Ledger Cup, as it was the tradition in golf that if someone won a cup or trophy three straight years, he got to keep it. The Section members had been competing for the cup since the first Philadelphia Section Championship in 1922. When the Section Championship was changed from stroke play to match play, the Ledger Cup continued on with the stroke play event. Dudley’s 71 and 77 for an eight over par 148 total, finished four ahead of George Low, Jr. (152). Denny Shute (153) and Leo Diegel (154) finished third and fourth. The purse was $130 and first prize was $50. The entry fee was $5.
Ed Dudley didn’t get the turnout of 200 he wanted for the U.S. Open qualifying rounds but 151 did enter. Qualifying was held on the second Monday of May at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club. The Philadelphia area had been allotted 16 places. New York had 16 spots also. Due to the size of the field everyone didn’t complete the 36-holes and several had to come back and finish the next day. Clarence Ehresman, now the professional at the Eagles Mere Country Club, came back home to win the medal by eight strokes with a 69 and a 71 for an even par 140. Some of the spots were won by pros from outside the region and the amateurs won three of the places. Leo Diegel, Denny Shute, and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. were exempt. Joe Brennan (149), Ralph Hutchison (150) and Dudley (150) made it easily. Thirty-five years after finishing second in the U.S. Open George Low, Sr. (151) qualified on his home course to play in the championship again. Now 60 years old, the host pro won one of the places with the help of a first round 69. Felix Serafin, Gene Kunes, the teaching pro at the Philadelphia Country Club, and George Griffin, Sr. equaled Low’s score of 151.George Sayers (152), who would be the host pro for the championship at Merion, and Johnny Schuebel (152) now the professional at the Oak Terrace Country Club, also qualified, but not until all the scoring was completed on Tuesday. The scores of 152 made it on the number without a playoff.
The Met Open was held at the Echo Lake Country Club in New Jersey during the fourth week of May. Paul Runyan won with rounds of 73, 72, 71 and 71 for 287. Runyan holed a five-foot putt for a par on the last green to edge out Walter Hagen (288) by one stroke. Wiffy Cox finished third at 288 and Craig Wood was next at 291.
The U.S. Open returned to the Philadelphia area after a 24-year absence. Played at the Merion Cricket Club’s East Course in early June the host pro was George Sayers, who was in the first pairing on Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. Olin Dutra came from eight strokes back after 36 holes to win the championship with a 13-over-par 293 score. Dutra’s rounds were 76, 74, 71 and 72. Gene Sarazen (294) lost by one stroke after taking a seven on the 11th hole during the last round. Harry Cooper, Bobby Cruickshank and Wiffy Cox tied for third with 295s. Thirteen Section professionals were in the starting field for the championship and six made the cut. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (300) and Leo Diegel (303) led the Section pros in the scoring and finished in the money tying for 12th and 17th. Ed Dudley (309), Denny Shute (311), Clarence Ehresman (314) and Johnny Schuebel (319) made the cut but missed the money. Felix Serafin, Ralph Hutchison, George Griffin, Sayers and Gene Kunes missed the cut. The purse totaled $5,000 and first prize was $1,000. Joe Brennan withdrew in the second round and George Low, Sr. withdrew in the first round.
Two days after the U.S. Open ended 103 players teed off in the Philadelphia Open on Philmont Country Club’s North Course. Herman Barron was the winner in spite of shooting a seven-over-par 77 in the last round while playing in a heavy rainstorm. The Port Chester, New York professional collected $400 for the win. Barron shot a one-under-par 69 in each of the first three rounds and finished with a 284 total. Barron, who was unattached, had missed the money at the U.S. Open. He almost didn’t enter but then decided to put up the $5 entry fee. Los Angeles professional Jimmy Thomson finished second three strokes back at 287. Thomson had a 31 on the front nine and a 31 on the back nine during the tournament. Philmont had put up $100 for the first contestant who broke the course record of 69. In the second round Ed Dudley shot a 67 and Thomson who was paired with him had a 68. Philmont very generously gave each of them $100. In addition to that the purse was $1,000. Dudley finished third with a 290. Ted Turner, the new playing pro at the Pine Valley Golf Club, was playing in his first tournament in the Section. Turner (295) came in with a 69 in the last round to move up to the fourth position. Dudley’s new assistant at the Philadelphia Country Club, Gene Kunes (296), was next in fifth place.
Section qualifying for the PGA Championship was held at the Riverton Country Club in mid June. Any Section member who wanted to enter the qualifying rounds had to have his dues paid by June 10. Based on 65 members who had paid their dues on time the Section had been allotted eight places. There were 32 entries. On a very windy day Ted Turner, the current holder of the Massachusetts Open title, led the scoring with a 71-73 for a two-over-par 144. Gene Kunes, who had succeeded the late Frank H. Wood as the professional at the Jeffersonville Golf Club, and A.B. “Al” Nelson, were second at 147. Next were Clarence Hackney and Hugh McInnes, the professional at the Country Club of York with 149s. The last three places went to George Sayers, Ralph Hutchison and Ed Ginther. They had tied for the last three spots with Jock MacKenzie at 150 and had eliminated him in a sudden-death playoff. Sayers and Hutchison got in with pars on the first hole and Ginther earned the last spot with a par on the second hole. As the day went on, it got windier and the last players finished in a gale and rain. The PGA accepted no alternates for the tournament. If a qualifier could not play in the tournament he was not replaced. Ed Dudley, Leo Diegel, and Denny Shute were exempt as members of the Ryder Cup Team.
Denny Shute was fortunate that he didn’t have to qualify for the PGA Championship because in late June he was in England defending his British Open title at the at the Royal St. George’s Golf Club, Sandwich, England. Everyone, including Shute, had to pass through a pre-tournament qualifier of 36-holes for the British Open. Henry Cotton won by five strokes in spite of a last round 79. Cotton’s first three rounds were 67 65 and 72, which allowed him to finish with a score of 283. Sid Brews finished second at 288 and Alf Padgham was next at 290. Joe Kirkwood Sr., Macdonald Smith and Marcel Dallemagne tied for fourth with 292s. Shute finished 20th with a score of 301.
Two Ryder Cup teammates from the year before met in the finals of the Pro-Lady Championship on the second Tuesday of July. Ed Dudley and former national women’s amateur champion Florence Vanderbeck, defeated Leo Diegel and his partner for the title. The tournament was held at the Ashbourne Country Club.
New York’s Willie Macfarlane won the Pennsylvania Open in the third week of July. Played at the Oakmont Country Club, Macfarlane finished four in front of two Pittsburgh professionals, Sam Parks, Jr. (298) and Perry Del Vecchio (298). Macfarlane put together rounds of 76, 69, 71 and 72 for a six over par 294, which was a 72-hole record on that course by four strokes. First place was worth $600. Bill Mehlhorn (299) finished fourth and Al Espinosa (300) fifth. Denny Shute (302) finished sixth and he was the only Philadelphia Section pro who made the money. A gallery of 5,000 witnessed the final round.
Four days later in July the PGA Championship was played at the Park Club in Buffalo, New York. Five Section pros made it through the 36-hole qualifying at Buffalo for the 32 places in the match play. Gene Kunes led the Philadelphia pros with a 141. Ted Turner and A.B. “Al” Nelson were next with 145s. Denny Shute and Leo Diegel posted 146s. Shute and Diegel survived a ten-man playoff for the last eight spots that began at 8 p.m. The medalist was Bob Crowley with a (67-71) 138. Ed Dudley, Clarence Hackney, Ed Ginther, George Sayers, Ralph Hutchison and Hugh McInnes didn’t make it through the qualifying test. Shute and Kunes each won three matches to reach the semifinals. Shute lost 2&1 to Craig Wood who he had beaten in a playoff for the British Open the year before. To reach the semifinals Shute beat Walter Hagen 4&3, then he defeated Ky Laffoon 3&2 and in the third round he eliminated Al Houghton 6&5. Kunes lost 4&2 to Paul Runyan who then defeated Wood in 38 holes for the title. Four years before that Runyan had worked for Craig Wood as his assistant. In his march to the semifinals Kunes beat Orville White 3&2, Johnny Revolta 2&1 and Crowley 4&3. Turner won his first match by getting past Willie Goggin in 37 holes and then he lost to Crowley one-down. Nelson lost in the first round to Tommy Armour 4&3 and Diegel went out in the first round 4&2 to Fay Coleman. All of the matches were 36 holes. For the fourth straight year the purse was $7,200. First prize was $1,000. All who failed to qualify for the match play were paid mileage money. Those who lived more than 2,000 miles from Buffalo received three cents per mile. Those who lived less than 2,000 miles and more than 50 miles received two cents per mile.
The Central Pennsylvania Open was held at the Reading Country Club on the first Monday in August. The one-day 36-hole tournament ended in a three-way tie. George B. Smith (74-75), Clarence Hackney (77-72) and Angelo Paul (76-73), the assistant pro at the Valley Forge Golf Club, posted seven-over-par 149s. Valley Country Club professional Terl Johnson finished fourth with a 151. None of the entrants could break par in either of the rounds. A playoff was scheduled for Sunday but when it turned out to be a rainy day it was rescheduled for the next Sunday. When the playoff was finally held Smith, now the professional at the Spring Hill Country Club, won with a 71 against a 74 for Paul and an 81 for Hackney. This was his second Central Pennsylvania Open title.
In the second week in August Leo Diegel won the Walter Hagen Tournament in Rochester, New York. In the last round he came through with a course record tying 66 to go with his earlier rounds of 70, 69 and 71 to finish at eight-under-par 276. Ky Laffoon (278) finished second. Harry Cooper tied Willie Macfarlane tied for third with 282s.
The Section Championship was played at North Hills Country Club in late August without the Section’s three Ryder Cup team members, Ed Dudley, Denny Shute, and Leo Diegel who did not enter. They might not have entered because the Hershey Open was played two days after this tournament. Gene Kunes won the qualifying medal with a 74. The low sixteen players qualified. Kunes and Bud Lewis, who was his assistant at Jeffersonville Golf Club, met in the finals. They were both 25 years old. The final, played over 36-holes, ended in favor of Kunes by a margin of 5&4. In the semifinals Kunes defeated Harry Markel by 4&3 and Lewis beat Schneider 3&1. The host professional was Bill Neilan.
On August 31st, two days after the Section Championship ended, the pros teed off in the Hershey Open. The purse was increased to $2,500 and an admission fee of 99 cents was charged. Ed Dudley (291) and Joe Turnesa (291) tied for second five strokes back of the winner Ky Laffoon who put together rounds of 71, 72, 72 and 71 for 286. Laffoon, playing out of Denver, had worked for Dudley as an assistant in Oklahoma when he was 13 years old. He won $600 and set a new Hershey Open record with his six-under-par 286. Willie Macfarlane finished fourth at 294 and Henry Picard was next with a 295, which was made possible by a course record 67 in the first round. Six Section professionals won money from the 20 money prizes offered. Ted Turner (298) tied for 8th, Denny Shute (301) tied for 14th and Charles Schneider (303) tied for 17th. Gene Kunes and Terl Johnson tied for 20th with 305s.
Denny Shute won the 72-hole Rivervale Open in New Jersey in mid September with rounds of 72, 68, 73 and 70 for a score of 283, five under par. He won $600. Shute finished nine strokes in front of Felix Serafin and Bill Goldbeck who tied for second with a 292. Goldbeck was the brother of Section member Lew Goldbeck and a former professional at the Buck Hill Golf Club and the Wolf Hollow Country Club. Wiffy Cox (293) finished fourth, one stroke ahead of Charles Lacey (294) and Joe Turnesa (294) who tied for fifth.
Leo Diegel was still playing well as he won the $2,500 New England PGA. Played in Providence, Rhode Island in the third week of September first prize was $500. Diegel put together rounds of 70, 72, 70 and 71 edged out Denny Shute (284) and Joe Turnesa (284) by one stroke with his five-under-par 283 score. Turnesa putted with one hand in that tournament. Diegel won $500 from the $2,500 purse.
A few weeks later it was announced that 28-year-old Henry Picard would be the new head pro at Hershey Country Club on November 1st. In the Hershey Open Picard had led after 36 holes while setting a new course record with a first-round 67. He had finished fifth winning $200.
In mid October Leo Diegel and Denny Shute left for a ten-week tour of Australia and New Zealand. They were members of a six-man team of American professionals chosen to play matches against the Australian professionals and compete in their tournaments. The other members of the team were Craig Wood, Paul Runyan, Ky Laffoon, and Harry Cooper. Diegel played some of the best golf of his career. In late November Diegel beat Shute in the finals of a tournament in Melbourne and one week later he and Paul Runyan tied for first in a tournament that was shortened to 36-holes due to rain. Three days later Diegel won in Adelaide with a 282 total. Diegel didn’t receive all this money though because the winnings of the team members was pooled and divided equally among the six professionals. Jimmy Thomson made out the best since he went to Australia on his own and won the Melbourne Centenary Open and its $5,000 first place check. That was a big payday. The largest first place check on the PGA Tour that year had been the $1,500 Horton Smith received for winning the Masters.
On the second Friday of October the first of what would be many Wood Memorial tournaments was held at the Jeffersonville Golf Club. The tournament was played in memory of Jeffersonville head professional Frank H. Wood, who had died of pneumonia in May. During the qualifying for the US Open, Wood became ill and died nine days later at the age of 32. He was from Massachusetts, having come to Philadelphia with Joe Capello to be his assistant at the Aronimink Golf Club’s new Donald Ross course. Wood and Capello were the same age and had grown up together in Manchester. Wood’s real name was Francois Dubois. His family, of French ancestry, had moved to the United States while he was a young boy.
The first of Wood Memorial tournaments was played on the third Monday of October at the Jeffersonville Golf Club. It was won by Ed Dudley, who put together a one under par 69 (33-36) to win the first prize of $40 by one stroke. The host professional, Gene Kunes, finished second with a 70 and won $30. Third money of $20 went to Charlie Schneider, who posted a 71. Bruce Coltart, Bill Green and Dick Henkel, the professional at the Schuylkill Country Club, tied for fourth with 72s. They split up $10.
On October 19th the PGA of America announced that nineteen tournaments had been scheduled for the Winter Tour. It was the richest schedule for the playing pros since the boom in the late 1920s. Even though tournament golf was on the rise the country was still in the height of the Great Depression and not all was rosy for golf. One indication was that Concord had had 219 applications for the head professional position. In July Brigantine Golf Club sold for $7,500 and $35,000 in back taxes. Only one nine was still open, as the other had been closed. It had been opened in 1927 with a hotel and marina at a cost of $1,000,000.
On the fifth Monday of October Ed Dudley was elected president of the Section at McCallister’s restaurant in Philadelphia. He would be the president for the remainder of the decade. Dudley must have been a busy person as Section president, head professional at two prestigious clubs, and a tournament schedule active enough to allow him to qualify for the Ryder Cup team again in 1937. Under Dudley’s leadership a set minimum rate for instruction was established in the Section. Walter Brickley was elected secretary-treasurer. He would hold the office of treasurer for nineteen consecutive years, 1935 through 1953, along with being both secretary and treasurer for the first five years. Charlie Schneider, LuLu Country Club professional Robert Aitken, and A.B. “Al” Nelson were elected first, second and third vice presidents. A board of examiners was appointed to settle any disputes of the Section’s members and pass on new members. There were twenty-five tournaments on the schedule for the next year. Clarence Hackney and A.B. “Al” Nelson, who had played in the PGA Championship that year, were elected to represent the Section at the national meeting in November. The Section members went on record that they wanted all the qualifiers for the PGA Championship to go into the match play rather than compete in another qualifying event at the site of the championship.
In the third week of November the national PGA meeting was held at the Morrison Hotel in Chicago. The officers (President George R. Jacobus, Secretary R.W. “Doc” Treacy and Treasurer Jack B. Mackie) were reelected. The vice presidents were James M. Anderson, Thomas Boyd, Dan J. Goss, John J. Martin, Johnny Farrell and Willie Maguire. The 55 delegates and officers in attendance agreed to qualify 64 on site for the match play at the PGA Championship. It was also decided to exempt the eight quarter-finalists from the previous year’s tournament from qualifying. It was reported that the PGA Tour had played for $112,000 that year and tournaments with purses totaling $125,000 had already been scheduled for the next year. The delegates voted unanimous opposition to the practice of having pari-mutuel betting connected to PGA Tour events. They urged their members not to support those tournaments and not participate in them. Leo Diegel was the chairman of the tournament committee and Denny Shute was a member of his committee. Clarence Hackney and A.B. “Al” Nelson were the Philadelphia Section’s delegates.
Paul Runyan led the money winners on the PGA Tour the year taking home $6,767.91 from twenty-one tournament appearances. In second place was Ky Laffoon who played in 22 events and won $6,419.22. Leo Diegel who was in his first year as the professional at the Philmont Country Club played in only seven tournaments and won the third most money, $6,300. Denny Shute who entered sixteen tournaments was in sixth place with $5,032.16. Hershey’s new professional Henry Picard had entered eight tournaments and was 23rd on the money list with $1,878.41. Ed Dudley played in eight tournaments and won $886.68, which was good for 41st place on the money list. Gene Kunes was 46th as he earned 638.47 in six tournaments. Felix Serafin was 49th, winning 537.50 in two tournaments.
That year there was a new trophy on the PGA Tour called the Radix Cup. A Chicago sportsman named Harry Radix had donated the trophy for the best scoring average of the year. During the year a player had to play in at least ten tournaments that had a purse of $2,500 or more. Ky Laffoon finished at the top of the list with an average of 72-20/77 for his 77 rounds. Leo Diegel was eighth with 73-7/38 strokes per round and Denny Shute averaged 73-28/29 to finish 14th. Diegel had 38 rounds in the compilation and Shute played 58.
Back to Top
On the second weekend in February Henry Picard won the Agua Caliente Open in Mexico. He picked up a first prize of $1,000 from the $5,000 purse plus a percentage of the betting money by finishing two strokes in front of Harry Cooper (288) and Willie Goggin (288). Picard put together rounds of 73, 73, 70 and 70 for 286. Jimmy Demaret and Ky Laffoon tied for fourth with 290s. There was pari-mutuel betting there and a strong field was entered even though the PGA had gone on record in opposition to those tournaments. The pros received 10% of what was bet on each round.
Henry Picard and Johnny Revolta won the $4,000 International Four-Ball tournament in Miami in mid March. They defeated Paul Runyan and Horton Smith one-down in an 18-hole playoff. Their better-ball score was a four-under-par 68. The day before they had finished up tied at the end of the 36-hole final match. The winners each received $1,000. The Picard–Revolta team reached the finals by beating Willie Klein and Vic Ghezzi one-down. In the other semifinal match the Runyan-Smith team eliminated Jug McSpaden and Gene Sarazen 5&4.
Leo Fraser followed George Izett as the professional at the Seaview Country Club. Leo’s father James Fraser had been the professional at Seaview from 1916 to 1922 and Leo had grown up next to the course. Now 25-years-old he had been working in Michigan as a head professional for nine years. Izett, a former assistant at the Merion Cricket Club and the head professional at the Seaview Country Club for the previous two years, opened a custom club shop in Haverford that spring. Izett had been trained in club making in his native Scotland and had gained an enviable reputation as a club maker. Later that year he moved his business to Ardmore.
On March 15 with the opening of the golf season just weeks away Llanerch Country Club announced that Denny Shute would not be retained for another season. A salary difference that could not be worked out was the reason given. The next day Shute’s assistant Marty Lyons was hired to succeed him when the contract expired on May 1. 150 members had signed a petition asking the officers of the club to hire Lyons. Lyons had started at Llanerch as a caddy and he had been an assistant there under two professionals, John Edmundson and Shute. Lyons contract, which was identical to Shute’s, included a guarantee that he would earn $10,000 or more. He stayed at Llanerch as the head professional for the rest of his life, 34 years.
Henry Picard won the $3,000 Charleston Open on the fourth Saturday in March. He had just left Charleston in December to take the head professional position at the Hershey Country Club. He led from the start, to finish two strokes in front of Johnny Revolta (280). Picard’s rounds were 68, 69, 71 and 70 for 278. Harry Cooper (282), Wiffy Cox (283) and Byron Nelson (284) finished third, fourth and fifth. Walter Hagen, who finished up at the end of the money list in 14th place, was allowed to enter the tournament one day late. Hagen played 36 holes the last day while the rest of the field played 18 holes.
The next week in March several Philadelphia Section members cashed checks in the $4,000 North and South Open. The tournament was played on the Pinehurst Country Club #2 Course. Felix Serafin (284) and Henry Picard (285) finished second and third, well back of the winner Paul Runyan. Runyan put together rounds of 65, 71, 72 and 68 for a 276. Ray Mangrum finished fourth at 286. First prize was $1,000. Serafin won $700 and Picard won $500. Ted Turner (290 for a tie for 9th) and Gene Kunes (294 and tied for 13th) were also in the money. The tournament ended on Friday.
Two days later the pros were at the Atlanta Open. On April 1st Henry Picard won again with a last round 65, which added to his earlier rounds of 70 and 74 gave him a 209 total. Picard ended up two ahead of Harry Cooper (211) and six in front of Byron Nelson (215). Horton Smith and Johnny Revolta tied for fourth with 216s. First prize was $400.
At the second Masters Tournament in early April Henry Picard (286) finished fourth and Denny Shute (287) finished fifth as Gene Sarazen (282) won beating Craig Wood (282) in a 36-hole playoff with a 71-73 for 144 against Wood’s (75-74) 149. In the last round Sarazen had holed a 230-yard spoon shot for a double eagle on the 15th hole to catch Wood. Sarazen’s tournament rounds were 68, 71, 73 and 70 for 282. Olin Dutra finished third at 284. Sarazen won $1,500, Picard $500, and Shute $400. Leo Diegel (296) and Ed Dudley (296) tied for 19th. Gene Kunes (298), who had worked for Dudley at Augusta the winter before, tied for 28th. Total prize money was $5,000.
With the playing of the Masters Tournament the Winter Tour had been completed and new Section member Henry Picard was the leading money winner with $5,560. He had won three tournaments, Agua Caliente, Charleston, and Atlanta, since early February.
On April 13th Ed Clarey left Juniata Golf Club and started his new job as the professional at the Cobbs Creek Golf Club. That winter the Fairmount Park Commission had put the position up for auction and Clarey had won the bid. He succeeded Horace Gamble as the professional. Gamble, who was retiring, had been the professional at Cobbs Creek since the day the course opened in 1917.
The Section’s spring meeting was in Philadelphia at Raymond’s Restaurant on the third Monday of April. The main topic of business was their first annual Philadelphia PGA Invitation Tournament that was scheduled for the end of May at the Llanerch Country Club. The Section officers had decided to invite some amateurs. They thought that the dates would give them an excellent chance to attract a strong field since the U.S. Open was in Pittsburgh a week later. It would be a two-day tournament with 18 holes the first day and 36 the second day. If there were more than 60 entries the field would be cut to the low 60 after the first day. The purse would be $3,000 and it would be generated by selling ads in a program book and charging admission fees to the spectators. A.B. “Al” Nelson, one of the Section’s three vice presidents, had moved across the Delaware River to the Hopewell Valley Country Club and was now a member of the New Jersey PGA. The tournament chairman and First Vice President Charlie Schneider presented the season’s schedule of nineteen competitions to the members at the meeting.
U.S. Open qualifying was held at the Torresdale-Frankford Country Club in mid May. Qualifying was now being held at 25 cities in the country, five more than the year before. The entry fee was still $5. Philadelphia entries totaled 111 and the players were competing for eleven places in the championship. In spite of 200 yards having been recently added to the course the course record of 70 was broken twice. Forty yards was added to the 8th hole. Ted Turner led the field with a four-under-par 68 and a 72 for 140 as he broke the record in the morning round. Even though Henry Picard was the leading money winner on the winter tour he had to qualify. He grabbed the second spot with an afternoon 69 for 142. Next in line to earn their passes to the Open were Ed Dudley, George B. Smith and Clarence Ehresman with 149s. Gene Kunes, Felix Serafin and John W. Campbell were one stroke higher at 150 and safely in. Joe Zarhardt, the professional at the Burlington Country Club and Joe Brennan, now the teaching professional at the Langhorne Country Club, also qualified with 151s. Buzz Campbell (152) grabbed the eleventh and last spot in a sudden-death playoff with a par on the first hole. All eleven qualifying places were won by the Philadelphia Section pros. Leo Diegel and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. were exempt from qualifying for having finished among the top thirty in the previous U.S. Open. Kirkwood withdrew just before the U.S. Open was played.
Henry Picard was still on his game, winning the Met Open at the Lakeville Country Club on Long Island in the fourth week of May. With four rounds of 69, 75, 67 and 73 for a 284 total he finished four strokes ahead of South Africa’s Sid Brews (288). Former Section member Charles Lacey now the head professional at the host club tied for third with Willie Macfarlane at 289 and the defending champion Paul Runyan was next with a 290.
Two days after the Met Open the Section’s members held their stroke play championship at the Concord Country Club. There were only 18 entered due to the number of tournaments scheduled near the same time. Some of the pros said they had a problem with the expense of tournaments so close together and the time away from their clubs. There was an effort made to move the dates, but Concord was not agreeable. Clarence Ehresman edged out the host professional and the Section’s tournament chairman Charlie Schneider (148) by one stroke with a 71 and a 76 for a 147 score for the day. Schneider led after the morning round with an even par 70. In the afternoon, Schneider shot a 42 on the first nine. He changed putters at the turn and came back in 36 strokes. Ehresman took possession for one year of a new solid silver Evening Public Ledger Cup. Ed Dudley had retired the original cup the year before by winning the tournament three consecutive times, so the Evening Public Ledger newspaper had put up a new cup. Dudley did not defend his title. Gene Kunes, Bruce Coltart and George Low, Jr. tied for third with 149s. The entry fee was $5. The secretary-treasurer of the Concord Country Club added $100, to create a purse of $180. First prize was $60 and six players took home a check. Last place paid $5.
The Section held its first annual Philadelphia PGA Invitation Tournament at the Llanerch Country Club. The two-day tournament began on the last day of May with 78 professionals and 34 amateurs entered. Among the pros entered were five Japanese professionals who were touring the country and playing in their first tournament in the United States. Clarence Ehresman led the first day with a 67, sparked by a front nine 30. The field was cut for the second day and the contestants played 36 holes. Sid Brews, runner-up in the British Open the year before, finished on top with rounds of 68, 74 and 71 for a 213 total. Brews, who had been born in England, had been living in South Africa for a number of years. He took away $300 from the $1,225 purse. North Jersey’s Clarence Clark (214), who set a new course record with a last round 66, missed tying for first by one stroke and won $250. Five hundred spectators watched Clark just miss a 15-foot putt on the last green, that would have forced a playoff. Leo Diegel (216) and Henry Picard (216) tied for third and Felix Serafin (218) finished fifth. Merion Cricket Club assistant Al Keeping (221), Ted Turner (221), Clarence Ehresman (222) and George Fazio (222), the assistant pro at the Jeffersonville Golf Club, were also among the thirteen pros cashing checks. The host professional was Marty Lyons.
The U.S. Open was played at the Oakmont Country Club in first week of June. Eleven Section members were in the starting field. The course had over 300 bunkers and the greens were the fastest the pros played on all year. Henry Picard shot a two-under-par 70 in the third round, which was the low round of the tournament, but his other three rounds were in the high 70s. Picard’s 306 total left him tied for sixth, seven strokes behind the winner Sam Parks, Jr. a local professional from the Pittsburgh area. Parks won with rounds of 77, 73, 73 and 76 for 299. Jimmy Thomson (301) reached the 621 yard twelfth hole in two on the way to a second place finish. Walter Hagen was next with a score of 302. Denny Shute and Ray Mangrum tied for fourth with 303s. Ted Turner (309) tied for 14th. Picard won $218.75 and Turner won $55. Ed Dudley (312) and Gene Kunes (312) tied for 21st, missing the money by one stroke and Felix Serafin (324) also made the cut. Leo Diegel, George B. Smith, Buzz Campbell and Joe Zarhardt missed the cut. Joe Brennan, John W. Campbell, Clarence Ehresman and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. withdrew in the first round.
The annual Pennsylvania Open was played at the Hershey Country Club in late June. The tournament was three days and 72 holes. Ray Mangrum of Los Angeles but was listed from Pittsburgh, won with rounds of 72, 73, 75 and 70 for a two under par 290. During the recent US Open he had married a young lady from Oakmont. Clarence Clark finished second one stroke back with a 291. Gene Kunes led the Section pros finishing third with a 294, which included a 68 in the third round. Country Club of Scranton professional Felix Serafin and Clarence Ehresman tied for fourth at 296 with former Section President Bob Barnett who was visiting from Chevy Chase. First prize was $500 from a total prize pool of $1,500.
At the same time the Pennsylvania Open was being played at Henry Picard’s home course Hershey, he was playing in the British Open at the Honorable Company golf club, Muirfield, Scotland and finishing sixth. Picard’s (292) total was nine shots off Alf Perry’s winning score of 283. Perry’s rounds were 69, 75, 67 and 72. Alf Padgham finished second at 287 and Charles Whitcombe was next with a 288. Lawson Little and Bert Gadd tied for fourth with 289s. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. qualified but had to withdraw in the first round with an injured finger.
In the third week of July Ted Turner won the Philadelphia Open at the Aronimink Golf Club. Par for the course was reduced from 73 to 72 for the tournament. The defending champion, Herman Barron (297) finished second, five strokes back of Turner’s four over par 292 total and Ed Dudley was third with a 298. For his rounds of 75, 69, 76 and 72 Turner won $350 and received a gold medal. Ralph Hutchison the new head professional at the Saucon Valley Country Club and Angelo Paul tied for fourth with totals of 300. Charlie Schneider and the Desktop Club’s professional Harold Calloway tied for sixth at 302. Calloway’s brother thought up the Calloway System for handicapping events for golfers who didn’t have handicaps. Some of the Philadelphia pros received checks for being affiliated with clubs that were members of the Golf Association of Philadelphia. The purse totaled $950.
Henry Picard teamed up with Johnny Revolta to win the first annual Inverness Four-Ball at Toledo in early August. This was Picard’s fifth win of the year on the PGA Tour. The winners each took away $500. The field consisted of eight two-man teams with a team playing an 18-hole match against each of the other teams. This meant that each team played 126 holes of match play golf in four days. The pros burned up the Inverness Club as Picard and Revolta were 24 under par and Leo Diegel and Jimmy Thomson who finished last were 11 under par. Denny Shute and Vic Ghezzi finished second and they split the second prize of $800.
On the first Monday in August Ed Dudley won the Central Pennsylvania Open at the Reading Country Club. Even though the weather was perfect no one broke 70. Dudley shot a 70 and a 73 for a one-over-par 143, to edge out Felix Serafin (144) and Gene Kunes (144) by one stroke. Kunes had a 70 in the afternoon. Dudley won $100 plus he and Kunes made $25 extra for having the low individual rounds. Harry Markel (145), Jack Hiner (146), now the professional at the Tavistock Country Club and Ted Turner (147) finished fourth, fifth, and sixth.
Ed Dudley won the $3,500 True Temper Open in mid August. Dudley put together rounds of 71, 70, 73 and 71 for 285. True Temper was the brand of steel golf shaft that most golfers used at that time. The company that manufactured the shafts was the American Fork & Hoe Company. In 1949 the company changed its name to True Temper, after its best-known product. The company was located in Madison, Ohio and the tournament was held at the Acacia Country Club near Cleveland. Terl Johnson, who had been working at the Valley Country Club near Hazleton the year before and was now in Decatur, Illinois, tied for second one stroke back at 286 with Clarence Clark. Johnson would be the head pro at the Plymouth Country Club two years later. Billy Burke and Ted Luther tied for fourth with 287s. Walter Hagen (288) finished fifth and Henry Picard (289) tied for sixth.
Five days later in August the third annual Hershey Open got under way at the Hershey Country Club. At the completion of the second round a gallery of about 600 watched Joe Kirkwood, Sr. demonstrate his trick shots. Ted Luther of Ohio and Felix Serafin ended up tied at the conclusion of 72 holes with two-under-par 290s. Milton Hershey, the president of the Hershey Chocolate Company that also owned the Hershey Country Club, invited all of the 60+ contestants who completed the 72-hole tournament to a dinner that evening. The next day, a Sunday, after 72 holes in three days, an 18-hole playoff was held and that ended in a tie when Serafin chipped in for a birdie 2 on the 18th hole. The two pros tied with 76s. They were then sent out for another 18-hole playoff. After 108 holes in four days Luther finally emerged the winner of the $1,000 first prize with a 75 against Serafin’s 80. Luther’s tournament rounds were 72, 73, 74 and 71. The total purse was $4,000 purse. Denny Shute (293) and Milwaukee’s John Revolta (293) tied for third three strokes back and two strokes ahead of Gene Kunes (295), who finished fifth. Leo Diegel was in the money as he finished tenth at 297. The host pro, Henry Picard (300) tied for 13th keeping his money-winning streak alive. It had been nine months since he had missed cashing a check in a tournament. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. and Clarence Ehresman came in at the end of the money list with 301s.
The Section Championship was played at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club in late August. It started on Monday, the day after the Hershey Open ended. Bruce Coltart, Woodcrest Country Club professional, won the qualifying medal with a one-under-par 71. The low sixteen qualified. The host professional Morrie Talman qualified with a 74 and lost in the quarterfinals to Walter Work. The clubhouse and pro shop at the Altwold Golf Club, where Work was the professional, had burned to the ground recently without one cent of insurance. Robert “Buzz” Campbell, the son of 1926 champion Jack Campbell and his assistant at the Old York Road Country Club, won the title defeating Harry Markel in the finals 6 & 5. Before the finalists teed off, Talman bet Campbell, who was known for his temper on the golf course, that he could not get through the day without throwing a club. Campbell agreed to pay Talman $2 for every thrown club. He won that bet along with the Section Championship. In the semifinals Campbell defeated George Low, Jr. 2&1 and Markel ousted Work two-down. The defending champion Gene Kunes opted not to defend his title as he had entered the Canadian Open instead.
The same week of August the Section Championship was being played, the Canadian Open was also being held near Montreal at the Summerlea Golf & Country Club. Gene Kunes showed that he had made the right decision by outplaying a strong international field. Kunes’ even par 280, which was made up of rounds of 70, 68, 74 and 68, won by two strokes over Vic Ghezzi (282). Ed Dudley tied for third with Tony Manero at 285. Jimmy Hines (286) finished fifth while Horton Smith (287) and Ray Mangrum (287) tied for sixth. Kunes had won two Connecticut PGA Championships and the East Falls Open along with the Philadelphia PGA Championship. By reaching the semifinals of the PGA Championship at the Park Club in Buffalo the year before, he had shown that he was getting close to a big win on the PGA Tour.
The 72-hole Wildwood Open was played on the first Saturday and Sunday of September. The course was very wet due to heavy rains the day before the tournament started. The players were allowed to improve their lies in the fairways and on the greens they were allowed to clean the mud off their golf balls. George B. Smith, now an assistant at the Philadelphia Country Club and Joe Brennan were tied for the top spot at the end of the 72-holes with 287 totals. On a Saturday two weeks after the tournament had been concluded Smith defeated Brennan in an 18-hole playoff with a 73 against Brennan’s 74. Smith’s rounds in regulation play were 71, 69, 73 and 74. North Jersey’s Maurice O’Connor finished third with a 290 and Bruce Coltart ended up in the fourth spot at 291. At the same time the amateurs in the field played for the Bright Memorial Trophy. Smith won $250 and nine other pros won checks.
On the second Monday of September the Philadelphia PGA Assistant Championship was played at the Baederwood Golf Club. Manufacturers Golf & Country Club assistant Howard Everitt (146) won by the large margin of eight strokes. Everitt turned in a 75 in the morning and came back with an even par 71 in the afternoon. Out on the course in the last pairing George Fazio (154) finished second despite playing the last six holes in a driving rain. Jock MacKenzie, who was now the assistant at the Llanerch Country Club, finished second at 156 and Ted Beadle was fourth with a 157 total. There were five money prizes.
The 2nd annual Wood Memorial was played at the Jeffersonville Golf Club, on the fourth Saturday of September. Back from winning the Canadian Open, host professional Gene Kunes, shattered par with nines of 31 and 34. He made five birdies and 13 pars. His five under par 65 won by two strokes over Dick Renaghan (67) now the professional at the Moorestown Field Club. Bill Green finished third with a 68. Al Nelson, the professional at the Hopewell Country Club and Bud Lewis tied for fourth with 69s.
Qualifying for the PGA Championship was held at the Rolling Green Golf Club in late September. Thirty-one Section members played for eight places in Oklahoma City. Ed Dudley grabbed the medal with a 72 and a 70 for an even par 142. The only other professional to score under 150 was Ted Turner with a 145 total. Charlie Schneider finished third with a 150. Ed Ginther (151) and Ralph Hutchison (152) finished fourth and fifth. The Lancaster Country Club professional, A.B. Thorn, qualified with a 150 but he decided that he didn’t want to go to Oklahoma City and didn’t turn his card in. Leo Diegel, Walter Brickley, Charlie Hoffner and Jimmy Lyons tied at 153 for the last three spots. That necessitated an 18-hole playoff, which was required by the PGA. Before the playoff was held Lyons also decided not to go to Oklahoma City and the other three were in. Henry Picard was exempt from qualifying as a Ryder Cup Team member and Gene Kunes had a free pass as a semifinalist the previous year.
The Ryder Cup matches were held at the Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey at the end of September. Walter Hagen was the captain for the fifth time and his team won 9 points to 3 for the British team. Section member Henry Picard won his foursomes match and his singles match. There were three Whitcombe brothers on the British team. Henry Cotton was not on the team again as he was still working in Belgium. A ticket for Sunday’s play cost $2.20. Byron Nelson was working at Ridgewood as an assistant to George Jacobus, the president of the PGA of America.
The PGA Championship was played in mid October at Oklahoma City. Five Section members made it through the 36-hole on site qualifying for the 64-man match play. Ted Turner (146), Henry Picard (147), Ed Dudley (147), and Gene Kunes (149) qualified with ease. Charlie Schneider (153) made it with one stroke to spare as the 154s played off. Walter Hagen led with a (67-72) 139. Sixty-three players plus the defending champion qualified for the match play that year. The 36-hole qualifying round was scheduled for one day but darkness prevented some of the players from finishing. The first two rounds of 18-hole matches had been scheduled for the next day but the extended qualifying was causing a problem. The committee estimated that scores of 151 and under would qualify and made some of the match play pairings based on that. Those matches were sent off early the next morning. The players that had been able to complete their rounds finished the next morning but then a sudden death playoff was needed as there were ten players tied at 154 for the last three places. Three players holed birdie putts on the first hole and the playoff was over. By the time all of the qualifiers had been determined it was too late to get in two match play rounds that day so one round was played that day and one the next day. With the other four rounds being 36-hole matches the tournament had to be extended one more day, which meant it would end on a Wednesday. Leo Diegel, Ed Ginther, Charlie Hoffner, Walter Brickley and Ralph Hutchison failed to qualify. In the first round Henry Picard was edged out by Horton Smith one-down, Gene Kunes lost to Denny Shute 4&3 and Ted Turner was beaten 2&1 by Eddie Loos. Charlie Schneider beat Steve Holloway 4&3 in the first round and then he lost to Tommy Armour in the second round 3&2. Ed Dudley won three matches to advance to the quarterfinals before losing to Tommy Armour in 39 holes. On the way to the quarterfinals Dudley beat L.G. Wilcox in the first round one-down, Dick Metz 3&1 in the next round and Jimmy Thomson in the third round by 6&4. Armour went on to beat Al Watrous 2&1 in the semifinals before losing to Johnny Revolta in the 36-hole final that went three extra holes. Revolta beat Al Zimmerman 4&3 in the semifinals. The purse was bumped up to $7,820. First prize was $1,000.
Forty Section members were at the Llanerch Country Club to reelect Ed Dudley President on the first Monday in November. Bob Aitken and Jim Govan, Pine Valley Golf Club professional, were elected first and second vice president. Walter Brickley was retained as the secretary-treasurer. Dudley appointed Marty Lyons to the chairmanship of the tournament committee. George Jacobus, the national president was in attendance also. He noted that in the three years that he had been president the national membership had nearly tripled rising from 600+ members to more than 1,700. Jacobus stated that when he was first elected the PGA had 637 members and a business manager making $22,000 so he decided to drop the business manager. Now with the increase in members he was swamped with detail work and didn’t have time to do his job or the work of the PGA properly. He said that if the association would pay him $15,000 he would give up his job at Ridgewood Country Club and spend all his time working for the PGA as the president and business manager. The Section members went on record as approving the Jacobus plan. Dudley and Brickley were elected delegates to the national meeting scheduled for later in November.
In mid November Gene Kunes and Dick Metz won the Midsouth Best at the Pinehurst #2 Course. Their 69 and 68 for 137 nipped Tommy Armour and Bobby Cruickshank (138) by one stroke to win the $400 first place check for the team. Jimmy Hines and Willie Klein finished third at 139.
The national PGA meeting was at the Morrison Hotel in Chicago during the third week of November. The delegates rejected George R. Jacobus’ plan to be the business manager, but did elect him president again. Jacobus’s club Ridgewood Country Club had bailed out the PGA by taking the Ryder Cup matches on late notice. The matches even turned a small profit. The other officers, Secretary R.W. “Doc” Treacy and Treasurer Jack B. Mackie, were reelected also. The vice presidents were James M. Anderson, Thomas Boyd, John J. Martin, Johnny Farrell, Willie Maguire and George Norrie. The delegates unanimously adopted the new vulcanize covered golf ball for the PGA line. The ball would be made in two grades, 75 cents and 50 cents. The PGA had retained A.W. Tillinghast, a respected golf course architect and a member of the Philadelphia Cricket Club. His assignment was to be a consultant to golf courses employing PGA professionals. He outlined the work he would be performing for the PGA members and their clubs. He said that he was not out to spend the clubs’ money but he wanted to show them how to save money. The Philadelphia Section’s delegates to the meeting were Ed Dudley and Walter Brickley.
The $10,000 Miami Open was held at the Biltmore Golf Club in Coral Gables, Florida in the third week of December. Horton Smith overtook Ted Turner in the last round to win by three strokes. Smith’s rounds were 69, 70, 72 and 70 for 281. Turner who led at the end of the third round with a score of 209 ended up tied with Ky Laffoon for second at 284. Willie Macfarlane finished fourth at 285. Henry Picard tied for fifth with a 286 total. First prize was $2,500 and Turner won $1,125.
Henry Picard finished the year on the PGA Tour as the second leading money winner and had the second lowest scoring average. Paul Runyan won the Radix Trophy for the lowest scoring average on the tour with 72.29 strokes per round. Picard averaged 72.37 for 95 tournament rounds. He entered 30 events and had more tournament rounds than anyone else in the top ten scoring averages. The leading money winner, Johnny Revolta won $9,543 in the 34 tournaments he entered and Picard won $8,417. Picard and Revolta played in more tournaments than any of the 63 leading money winners. Gene Kunes played in seventeen tournaments and finished 17th on the money list with $2,535. Felix Serafin ($2,070), Ed Dudley ($1,739) and Ted Turner ($1,442) each played in less than nine tournaments but still managed to end up in the top 32 money winners. During the year the pros played for $135,000 in total purses. The top twelve won more than half of the money.
Leo Diegel failed to make the top ten in scoring average on the PGA Tour for the first time since 1919. Starting in 1937 the trophy for the low scoring average was changed from the Radix Cup to the Vardon Trophy. Diegel had injured his shoulder in a friendly wrestling match with Harry Cooper during the trip to Australia the year before. He announced that he had lost so much distance on his shots that he could not compete successfully and would take a year off from competitive golf to rest his shoulder.
Back to Top
The Section had a new member Jimmy Thomson, the longest driver on the PGA Tour, who had signed on to represent the Shawnee Inn & Country Club at Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pennsylvania. Thomson had finished second in the U.S. Open the previous summer at Oakmont. In mid January he and Henry Picard tied for second to Jimmy Hines at the Los Angeles Open winning $650 each.
Henry Picard and Johnny Revolta won the twelfth annual International Four-Ball tournament in Miami. Picard and Revolta were the defending champions. The tournament was played at the Miami Country Club in the second week of March. They defeated Gene Sarazen and Jimmy Hines in the 36-hole finals by a margin of 4 and 2. Picard and Revolta beat Willie Macfarlane and Willie Klein by 5&4 to reach the finals. Picard and Revolta won $1,000 each and Sarazen and Hines received $500 each from the $4,000 purse.
On the third Monday in March the Section pros held their spring meeting at the Wanamakers Men’s Store in Philadelphia. Marty Lyons, who was beginning his third year as the tournament chairman, laid out a tentative tournament schedule for the season. Final plans would be approved when the Section President Ed Dudley returned from Augusta. The Lancaster Pro-Am was on the schedule for the first time. The format was better ball of partners and the professional invited an amateur to play as his partner without a handicap. The tournament was later renamed the A.B. Thorn Pro-Am for the long time professional at the Lancaster Country Club who initiated the event.
Leo Fraser wrote a letter to the PGA of America stating that they should own their own golf course. He mentioned that Florida was the place for it and that there was a course in the Miami area that had been closed for several years and could be had for the “proverbial song”.
For the second straight year Henry Picard won the Tournament of the Gardens. The $3,000 open was played at Charleston, South Carolina in the third week of March. Picard had started his career in Charleston nine years before as a caddymaster. He had the same winning score, 278, both years. Picard’s rounds were 67, 69, 71 and 71. Paul Runyan (285) finished second seven strokes back and Frank Walsh (286) was third. Walter Hagen and Dick Metz tied for fourth with 289s.
The $4,000 North and South Open was held the next week on Pinehurst Country Club’s remodeled #2 Course. Henry Picard (288) and Ray Mangrum (288) tied for first at the end of 72-holes one stroke ahead of Horton Smith (289). The next day Picard won another title and his second North and South Open defeating Mangrum in an 18-hole playoff with a 72 against a 77 for Mangrum. Picard’s tournament rounds were 71, 72, 73 and 72. Picard won $1,000 and a gold medal. Horton Smith (289) finished third and Tony Manero (292) was next. Ed Dudley (296) and Felix Serafin (296) tied for eighth.
The third Masters Tournament played the first week in April was plagued by rain. Two days were rained out and the players had to play 36-holes on Monday in heavy rains just to be able to finish one day late. Horton Smith won his second Masters title in three years with 74, 71, 68 and 72 for 285. Harry Cooper finished second at 286 and Gene Sarazen was next with a 287. Paul Runyan and Bobby Cruickshank tied for fourth with 290s. Ed Dudley (293) tied for sixth, Henry Picard (294) tied for ninth and Jimmy Thomson (299) tied for 15th. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (305), Ted Turner (310) and Gene Kunes (311) missed the money. First prize was $1,500 from the $5,000 prize pool.
On the Friday after the Masters Tournament many of the touring pros were at the $3,000 Richmond Open. The two-day 72-hole tournament was held at the Country Club of Virginia’s James River Course. Jimmy Thomson, who had been born in Scotland but learned his golf in Richmond, came out on top with a 285 total. Thomson began with a 73 in the morning of the first day and came back with an afternoon 68, which was played in a cold rain. The next day he put together a pair of 72s to finish four strokes in front of Ray Mangrum (289). Harry Cooper (290), Frank Walsh (290) and Bobby Cruickshank (290) tied of third one stroke in front of the Masters champion Horton Smith (291). Thomson won $700 and Mangrum won $450. Sixteen years before that Cruickshank had arrived in America on the same ship with Jimmy Thomson and his father.
Two days later some of the pros that had played at Richmond were entered in the second annual 72-hole Wildwood Open held at the Wildwood Golf & Country Club. The players did 36 holes the first day and 36 holes the second day. Ray Mangrum led by four strokes on a cold windy first day with a 71 and a 72. The next day was cold and windy again and Mangrum shot another solid 73 in the morning but he slipped a bit in the afternoon with a 78. Wisconsin’s Leonard Dodson picked up six strokes on the last round to pull even with Mangrum at 294. The two pros were all set to call it a tie, split the money and move on out of town but the tournament chairman Gus Heil said there had to be a tournament champion. Heil suggested a nine-hole playoff but Mangrum, who had finished earlier, said he had had four drinks. Dodson told the bartender to set up four drinks for him and promptly tossed them down. Out they went into the cold twilight and both struggled through the nine holes in 42 strokes apiece. Then sudden death was agreed on and Mangrum won with a par on the tenth hole to win the $500 first prize. The touring pros must have played much faster in 1936 than they did in later years to get in 46 tournament holes in one day in mid April. Bruce Coltart (296) finished third two strokes back. The defending champion George B. Smith (298) came in fourth one stroke ahead of Clarence Hackney (299) and Joe Kirkwood, Sr. (299). Ten of the fourteen pros that won a check from the $1,500 purse were Section members. Joe Zarhardt (305) tied for 7th, Cooper River Golf Club professional Tony Midiri (307) finished 11th, Jack Hiner (309) was next and Dick Renaghan (311) was 13th. Walter Brickley and Buzz Campbell tied for 14th at 312. The host professional was Harry Avery.
In mid May 112 pros and amateurs were at the Aronimink Golf Club qualifying for the U.S. Open. Qualifying was held the same day at 27 other locations in the country. After five years of declining entries there was a record entry of 1,277. Thirty-three players were exempt. For the first time the contestants had to enter using formal entry blanks obtainable from USGA member clubs. Philadelphia had 11 spots and seven were taken by the Section’s pros. Bruce Coltart led the scoring with a 71 and a 76 for 147. Woodbury Country Club professional Ray Raynor shot a 151 to finish one stroke in front of Joe Zarhardt (152) and Charles Schneider (152). Clarence Hackney, Felix Serafin and George Low, Jr., the new professional at the Plymouth Country Club, won the last spots with 153s. Five Section members, Ed Dudley, Gene Kunes, Henry Picard, Jimmy Thomson, and Ted Turner were exempt from qualifying for having finished in the top 30 at the U.S. Open the year before.
Henry Picard (289) won fourth money and Ted Turner (294) finished tied for sixth in the Met Open during the fourth week of May at the Quaker Ridge Golf Club. Ridgewood Country Club assistant pro Byron Nelson won with rounds of 71, 69, 72 and 71 for a score of 283. Craig Wood finished second with a 285 and Paul Runyan was next at 286. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. played in the tournament and put on his trick shot exhibition after the second round on Friday.
The caddies at the Woodcrest Country Club and Tavistock Country Club had been on strike in mid May. They were striking for increased fees and use of the golf courses on Mondays. The caddies were making seventy-five cents for an 18-hole round and wanted $1. The interclub matches were postponed and the members were carrying their own bags. State police were assigned to guard both clubs but the pickets were entirely peaceful. Before the Great Depression most of the caddies were school age kids. As a result of the Depression a large percentage of the caddies were now men. There were more caddies than golfers and the tips were smaller.
In the fourth week of May, the day after the Met Open ended, the second annual 54-hole Philadelphia Section professional invitation tournament drew an entry of 84 pros and amateurs to the Woodcrest Country Club. The contestants played 18 holes on Sunday and 36 holes on Monday. Deal, New Jersey professional Vic Ghezzi won the $500 first prize with rounds of 74, 70 and 74 for 214. The 70s were course records. Ghezzi finished five strokes ahead of Ed Dudley (219) and the host professional Bruce Coltart (219) who each won $200. Twenty-five-year-old Leo Fraser held the lead after the first round with a par 71. He finished in a tie for fourth with Yardley Country Club professional Al MacDonald at 222. New York’s Craig Wood grabbed the sixth place money from the total purse of $1,195 as ten pros won money.
On the fifth Sunday of May the Bala Golf Club hosted four of the nation’s leading professionals for an exhibition match. It was Ed Dudley and Horton Smith vs. Jimmy Thomson and Lawson Little. After having won the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur in both 1934 and 1935 Little had recently turned pro. His partner Thomson, had finished second in the 1935 U.S. Open. They were the longest drivers on the PGA Tour, so it was thought that Bala GC with its limited space and a par of 68 would be a detriment to them. Dudley with a golf game good enough to have played on two Ryder Cup teams and Smith the best putter on the PGA Tour and winner of the first Masters Tournament in 1934, were considered to be the favorites. In the morning 18 Dudley tied the course record with a 67 but he and Smith were one-down at the lunch break. In the afternoon Little made a birdie on the first hole and then Thomson started making birdies. Dudley won one hole but Smith’s putts were not dropping. The match was over on the 13th green, by a margin of 6&5. The bye holes were played and Thomson finished with a 67 to also tie the course record. The course record had been set in 1930 by George B. Smith on the way to winning the Philadelphia Section Championship. He was now an assistant to Dudley at the Philadelphia Country Club.
The first week in June the U.S. Open was held at the Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey. There were 170 starters in the Open, which was also a record. Twelve Section members were in the field and ten made the cut but only Henry Picard and Jimmy Thomson finished in the money. Picard tied for fifth seven strokes behind the winner Tony Manero. Manero put together rounds of 73, 69, 73 and 67 for 282. Harry Cooper finished second with a 284, Clarence Clark was third at 287 and Macdonald Smith was fourth with a 288. Picard (289) won $350 and Thomson (293) tied for 14th winning $60. Felix Serafin (295) tied for 22nd, missing the money by one stroke. Bruce Coltart (300), George Low, Jr. (301), Gene Kunes (302), Ted Turner (304), Ed Dudley (304), Charlie Schneider (307) and Clarence Hackney (309) made the cut but finished well down the list. Joe Zarhardt and Ray Raynor missed the cut. The prize money totaled $5,000.
After waiting six years for a renewal of the event, Ed Dudley defended his title from 1930 by winning the $3,000 Shawnee Open at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club. The entry fee was $5. The tournament drew a strong field even though it started the day after the National Open finished at Baltusrol. Dudley tacked on two rounds of 70 the last day to go with his first day’s 76-72 and finished with a 288 total. Dudley finished one stroke ahead of Washington D.C.’s Roland Mackenzie and Ralph Guldahl who won the next two National Opens. Byron Nelson, Orville White, and Ray Mangrum tied for fourth at 290. Shawnee’s Jimmy Thomson (291) led the other Section pros tying for seventh and Pat Browne, the professional at the Glen Brook Golf Club, came in two strokes further back at 292. Felix Serafin tied for 12th with a 295. The host professional Jack Patroni (298) tied for 16th. First prize was $700.
The Philadelphia Section held a pro-am championship at the Concord Country Club in the middle of June. Only 15 two-man teams showed up to qualify for the eight places in the championship flight. It may have been the quality of some of the professionals entered that kept some others away. Leo Diegel, Ed Dudley, Clarence Hackney, Bruce Coltart and Charlie Schneider were entered. The tournament was played over two days with qualifying on Monday morning. There was a tie in qualifying for the eighth spot, which the Marty Lyons team won on the fifth extra hole over his assistant and brother Jimmy Lyons. The first round of match play took place that afternoon and for those who won the other two rounds were played the next day. Dudley and his partner won the qualifying medal with a 68, but then lost in the first round. Tuesday morning the Diegel team advanced to the final by defeating the Ed Ginther team 8&7 while the Marty Lyons team won out over the John Beadle team by a 3&2 count. In the afternoon final the match went up and down. The Diegel team was 3-up at the turn, but then the Lyons team the 10th, 12th and 13th holes to even the match. With the two teams all even on the 17th tee Lyons hit the worst drive of the four. Standing on a road and playing from a heavy lie Lyons hit his second shot to within three feet of the hole. Diegel’s second shot hit the flagstick and finished ten feet away. Diegel missed his putt and Lyons holed his. The 18th was halved in par fours, so the Lyons team was the winner of the Section Pro-Am Championship. The host professional was Charlie Schneider.
In late June Felix Serafin won the Pennsylvania Open for the second time. Seventy-five pros and amateurs entered the two-day championship at the Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh. Serafin’s 72-hole total of 295 won by four strokes over Al Espinosa (299), playing out of Akron, Ohio. Serafin’s rounds were 74, 74, 71 and 76. Ed Dudley led the first day with a score of 145 but a third round 80 finished his chances of winning and he wound up in third place with a 300 total. Sam Parks, Jr. ended up alone in fourth place at 304.
In the fourth week of June Ted Turner could have been playing in the Pennsylvania Open but he was entered in the British Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, England, instead. The Open was won by Alf Padgham with rounds of 73, 72, 71 and 71 for 287. Jimmy Adams (288) finished second by one stroke. Henry Cotton and Marcel Dellemagne tied for third with 289s. Turner (299) tied for 15th.
Ed Dudley won his third Philadelphia Open in the third week of July at the Manufacturers Golf and Country Club. He defeated former Section member Charles Lacey in an 18-hole play-off 69 to 73. They had tied with two-day 72-hole totals of 286, which was two-over-par. Dudley put together rounds of 74, 73, 71 and a last round of 68 to catch Lacey. The 68 was the low round of the week. Ed Oliver, an assistant at the Wilmington Country Club, made his first strong showing in professional golf. The former Philadelphia caddy champion finished third with a 293, one stroke ahead of Dick Renaghan (294). Bruce Coltart and New York’s Herman Barron tied for fifth with 295s. There were six cash prizes and Dudley took home $350 from the $950 purse. The Golf Association of Philadelphia provided three additional prizes for pros that were affiliated with their member clubs. There were 130 entries.
The first annual Lancaster Pro-Am was played at the Lancaster Country Club on the last Monday in July. The host professional, Arthur B. “A.B.” Thorn, had come to Lancaster from the Middle Atlantic Section in 1934 and it was through his efforts that a number of teams were entered from there as well as the Philadelphia Section. Tavistock Country Club professional Jack Hiner and his amateur partner Horace Horton tied with Roland Mackenzie, the professional at the Congressional Country Club near Washington D.C., and his partner Rodger Peacock with five-under-par 67s. A winner was determined when Mackenzie, who had been a three-time Walker Cup member, birdied the second hole in a sudden-death playoff. Sixty-one teams were entered. Some pros and amateurs entered with more than one partner. Nineteen teams finished under par (72). Horton was later a longtime salesman for the Dunlop Golf Company. When Thorn died in late 1959 the tournament was named the A.B. Thorn Memorial in his memory and was still being held at Lancaster CC more than 60 years later.
Nineteen-year-old Ed Oliver won the Central Pennsylvania Open at the Reading Country Club on the second Monday in August. In second place was Bruce Coltart (141) two strokes off Oliver’s (69-70) 139 score. Oliver broke par in both rounds and set a tournament record even though he broke his putter on the 10th green in the morning round. Dick Renaghan and George Fazio tied for third with 142s. George Low, Jr. had the low round of the tournament, a 68 in the morning, and finished fifth at 143.
In early September Henry Picard, the host pro, won a tightly contested Hershey Open. Picard began with rounds of 72, 74 and 74 to trail the leaders by six strokes. His six-under-par 67 in the last round gave him a 287 total and a one-stroke victory over Jimmy Thomson (288). Two thousand spectators watched Picard hole-out a nine-foot comeback putt on the last green for the win. Picard collected $1,250 and Thomson $800 from the $5,000 purse. Harry Cooper finished third at 289 and Ed Dudley and Orville White tied for fourth with 290 totals. 24-year old Sam Snead was playing in his first tournament outside his home region of the Virginia states. In the last round Snead’s drive reached the 343-yard 11th green. He ended up in a tie with Ralph Guldahl for sixth place at 291.George Fazio and Snead had played a practice round before the tournament. On the 329-yard first hole, which was then straight and not a dogleg left, like later. Snead hit his first two drives into the chocolate factory and the third one was on the green. Other than the major championships, the Hershey tournament had the richest purse in the eastern United States.
The next week at the Canadian Open the Philadelphia Section members made a good showing even though Gene Kunes wasn’t there. He was back in Philadelphia too ill to defend his title, which was not unusual. Lawson Little of San Francisco earned his first victory as a professional and $1,000 with a nine-under-par 271. Little broke Leo Deigel’s tournament record by three strokes with rounds of 67, 66, 69 and 69 for an eight-stroke win. For the second straight week Jimmy Thomson (279) finished second earning $600. Craig Wood finished third with a 282. Diegel and Vic Ghezzi tied for fourth at 283. Ed Dudley (285) was also in the money as he finished in a tie for seventh.
The 3rd annual Wood Memorial was held on the second Monday of September at the Jeffersonville Golf Club. The tournament ended in a tie. Walter Brickley and Ed Oliver finished with one under par 69s. There was no playoff. Bud Lewis (70), who was now the professional at the Glendale Golf Club, ended up alone in third
place. John Beadle and Jimmy Lyons, who was now an assistant to his brother Marty at Llanerch Country Club, tied for fourth with 71s.
The Section Championship was played at the Llanerch Country Club in the third week of September. The host pro was Marty Lyons. On Monday Leo Diegel was the medalist with a 70 and a 69 for a five-under-par 139 that included eleven birdies. The Section’s stroke-play and match-play championships were combined for the first time. As the stroke-play champion Diegel took possession of the Evening Ledger Cup for one year. Thirty-one pros qualified and the defending champion, Buzz Campbell, was exempt. Henry Picard and Jimmy Thomson were entered but didn’t appear for the qualifying rounds. Gene Kunes and Bruce Coltart withdrew due to illnesses. The quarterfinals and the semifinal matches were scheduled for Wednesday. Ted Turner, Leo Fraser, Leo Diegel and Joe Coble won their quarterfinal matches in the morning. In the afternoon Turner defeated Fraser 3&1 in the semifinals. The semifinal match between Diegel and Coble had to be postponed until the next day because Diegel was playing in an exhibition at the Merion Cricket Club with Glenna Vare, Patty Berg and Ed Dudley, who he had beaten that morning. The next day Diegel eliminated his assistant Joe Coble by the count of 5&4. In the 36-hole finals Ted Turner birdied the last two holes to defeat Diegel two-down.
The next week qualifying was held at the Atlantic City Country Club for the PGA Championship. Thirty-nine Section members were competing for seven places in the championship. Wind and rain caused high scores, as Jimmy Thomson was the medalist with rounds of 72 and 74 for 146. That beat out the host pro Clarence Hackney (148) and Leo Diegel (148) by two strokes. The other qualifiers were Bruce Coltart (154), Harry Markel (154), Ted Turner (155) and Jack Patroni (156). Ed Dudley was exempt as a quarter-finalist the previous year and Henry Picard was exempt as a member of the 1935 Ryder Cup Team.
On the fourth Monday in October 60 Section members were at the Hotel Walton in Philadelphia for their annual meeting. Their national President George Jacobus was there to report on the national affairs. Jacobus informed the Section members that the PGA Championship, which hadn’t been held as yet that year, was going to be played in May the next year. He stated that in the future the tournament would be held in June in order to bring more attention to the winner. The Section was now the third largest in the PGA of America with 116 members, an increase of 15 over the previous year. There were 94 “Class A” and 22 “Class D” members. Jacobus stated that even though the Section was third largest it was actually first in PGA accomplishments. He went on to say that in his three years as president of the PGA this was the largest turnout for a Section meeting that he had encountered. Ed Dudley was reelected president and Walter Brickley was reelected secretary-treasurer. Clarence Hackney was elected first vice president and George Sayers was elected second vice president. The tournament chairman, Marty Lyons, presented the tournament schedule for some of the next year’s events. Lyons was given credit for being responsible for the 1936 schedule having been the best in the history of the Section, both in number and added money. At that meeting it was decided to make a change in the Section Championship. A decision was made to invite amateurs to compete in the tournament. The reasons given were to stimulate interest among the better amateurs and to receive better co-operation from the newspapers in publicizing the Section’s tournaments. Qualifying would be 36 holes at stroke play. The professional having the lowest score in the qualifying rounds would be recognized as the Section champion for that year and the winner of the Evening Ledger Cup. Dudley and Brickley were elected to represent the Section as delegates to the national meeting.
The PGA’s national meeting was held in Chicago at the Congress Hotel during the second week of November. George R. Jacobus and Jack B. Mackie were reelected president and treasurer respectively. There was a new secretary, Tom Walsh. Ed Dudley was elected to the office of vice president at large. He was one of two vice presidents representing the eastern part of the United States. There were now eight vice presidents and 28 PGA Sections. This office was later renamed District Director. Also he held the position of chairman of the tournament committee. The other vice presidents elected were Grange Alves, Thomas Boyd, Al Collins, Ray Hall, Dewey Longworth, Willie Maguire and R.W. “Doc” Treacy, who had declined to run for secretary again. A report was made on the consulting work of A.W. Tillinghast. It was estimated that his work had saved the clubs he had worked with $320,000. He had visited 370 courses and removed 7,427 bunkers, 92 at one course. It was announced that the touring pros had played for $156,745 that year. The big news was that the federal government had agreed to build close to 600 new public golf courses in the next few years. Tillinghast would inspect the site for each course and no course would be constructed where it would compete with an existing course. Only PGA members would be hired to serve as the professionals. Tillinghast had just designed and supervised the construction of four courses for the state of New York at the Bethpage State Park on Long Island. The delegates decided to continue paying the railroad fares of the qualifiers for the PGA Championship. That total expense money was between three and four thousand dollars. The Metropolitan Section wanted this money added to the $9,200 purse but it was voted down. Plans were made to have a senior professional championship the next year for PGA members who were more than 50 years old. Those contestants would receive mileage money also. Dudley and Walter Brickley were the Philadelphia Section’s delegates to the meeting.
The PGA Championship was played in North Carolina on the Pinehurst Country Club’s Number 2 course. The PGA Championship was played the week after the national meeting. The Section members made a very good showing. Nine Section members had qualified locally or were exempt. Six of them were able to qualify on site for the 64-man match play field. Fay Coleman was the medalist with a (68-75) 143. Ed Dudley and Henry Picard led the Section pros with 147s. Jimmy Thomson (150), Clarence Hackney (152), Ted Turner 153) and Jack Patroni (156) also qualified. Patroni had to survive an eight-man playoff for the last seven spots. Leo Diegel, Bruce Coltart and Harry Markel failed to qualify. Turner lost in the first round to Jimmy Hines two-down. Patroni sent Gene Sarazen home in the first round by holing an eight-foot par putt on the 18th green to preserve his one-up lead. In the second round Patroni lost by 6&5 to Horton Smith. Hackney won his first round match by defeating Orm Beaupre in 21 holes. In the second round Hackney lost to Leo Walper 2&1. Ed Dudley and Henry Picard each won two matches before losing. Dudley beat Herman Barron in the first round 3&2 and Tom LoPresti by 2&1 in the second round. Dudley lost by 6&4 to Bill Mehlhorn in the third round. Picard beat Leo Mallory in the first round two-down and then he eliminated Alvin Krueger in the second round 5&4. Picard lost to his fellow Section member Thomson in the third round 4&2. Thomson won five matches to reach the finals where he lost 3&2 to former Section member Denny Shute. To reach the finals Shute defeated Mehlhorn one-down in semifinals. On his way to the finals Thomson beat Rod Munday 5&3, Willie Klein by 3&2, Picard 4&2, Jug McSpaden one-down and Craig Wood 5&4. The first two rounds were 18-hole matches and the rest were 36-holes. First prize was $1,000 from a purse of $9,200.
Late that year Sam Snead, a rookie on the PGA Tour, bought a driver from Henry Picard for $5.50. Snead had been having problems with a hook and the new driver straightened out his drives. The club had been made for Picard by George Izett. It had a stiff shaft that weighed five ounces. The driver weighed 14 and 1/2 ounces and had 8 degrees of loft. Izett, an accomplished club maker, had been trained in Scotland before coming to America to work as an assistant at Merion Golf Club. Snead used the driver for over thirty years even though he was on the staff of the Dunlop Golf Company when he got the club and then he was a member of the Wilson Sporting Goods Company’s staff for many years after that.
The year ended with Henry Picard in third place on the PGA Tour money list with $7,681 and Jimmy Thomson in sixth place with $5,927. Horton Smith led the money chase with $7,884.75. Picard was third in scoring with an average of 72.11 strokes for his 60 tournament rounds on the tour that year. The scoring leader and winner of the Radix Cup was Ralph Guldahl with an average of 71.63.
The PGA dismissed Bob Harlow from PGA Tour management citing conflict of interest. He was also Walter Hagen’s manager. Several of Harlow’s ideas were now an accepted part of the PGA Tour.
Back to Top
Early that year it was discovered that an individual who worked at Llanerch Country Club had the experience and the equipment to make motion pictures with sound. Arrangements were made to take pictures of some of the Section’s professionals swinging a club while playing various shots and explaining how it was done. About one hundred feet of film was taken and it turned out to perfection. The thought was that the film could be rented out to clubs or other groups to bring money into the Section’s treasury. A second reason for the film was that it would keep the golf professionals in the golfing public’s eye. Marty Lyons had pictures taken of his junior golfers while he was giving them instructions and he found this to be very helpful in achieving the results he wanted.of those juniors was twelve-year-old Dorothy Germain. She would go on to win the Women’s U.S. Amateur in 1949 as Mrs. Dorothy Germain Porter.
Ed Dudley won the $3,000 Sacramento Open in California in the fourth week of January. He put together one of the lowest 72-hole totals on record. The course measured 6,700 yards. His fifteen-under-par score of 65, 70, 71 and 67 for 273 was ten strokes better than Harry Cooper (283) who finished second. Jimmy Hines was next at 285. Jug McSpaden and Horton Smith tied for fourth with 286s. Byron Nelson was next at 287. Henry Picard finished seventh at 288. Many of the big names in golf were there but no one could come close to Dudley’s scores. Dudley won $750.
Ed Dudley tied for first at the $3,000 Thomasville, Georgia Open in the third week of February. Dudley and Dick Metz had tied with 284s. The next day Dudley lost a playoff to Dick Metz shooting a 76 against a 72 for Metz, who won $700. Dudley won $450. Henry Picard (285) tied for third and Jimmy Thomson (289) tied for eighth.
Henry Picard and Johnny Revolta won the International Four-Ball tournament at the Miami Country Club in the second week of March. They won the tournament for the third year in a row defeating Lawson Little and Tony Manero 4&3 in an 18-hole playoff. Their 36-hole finals match had ended in a tie the day before. It took two extra days to complete the tournament. The day that the semifinal matches were to be played was rained out. To reach the finals Picard and Revolta defeated Jimmy Thomson and Harry Cooper 7&6. In the other semifinal match Little and Manero edged out Willie Macfarlane and Frank Walsh one-down. Picard and Revolta won $1,000 each and Little and Manero won $500 apiece. All of the matches were 36 holes.
The next week Henry Picard and his partner won the $3,000 National Pro-Am championship at St. Augustine, Florida. Picard won $1,000 by defeating Jimmy Hines and his partner in the finals. Picard and a different partner had lost in a 39-hole final match against Gene Sarazen and his partner the year before.
Two new members of the Section that spring were Byron Nelson and Sam Byrd. Byrd had played in the outfield six years with the New York Yankees and two years for the Cincinnati Reds. With the Yankees he usually got his chance to play when Babe Ruth had over indulged and wasn’t feeling well. They called him the Babe’s caddy because he was his substitute and he was as good at golf as he was at baseball. Early that year his contract had been sold to the St. Louis Cardinals and he turned down their salary offer to concentrate on golf. He soon joined Ed Dudley’s staff as an assistant pro at the Philadelphia Country Club.
In late March, right after the North and South Open, Byron Nelson had driven to Reading for an interview for the head professional position at the Reading Country Club. PGA of America president George Jacobus, who Nelson had been working for at the Ridgewood Country Club in northern New Jersey, had recommended him for the job. Nelson signed a contract with the club and headed back south to the Masters Tournament. His contract called for a guarantee of $3,750 per year. The club paid his assistant pro.
The fourth annual Masters Tournament was played in the first week of April. Twenty-five-year-old Byron Nelson, the new professional at the Reading Country Club, opened up with a course record 66 in the first round. He followed that up with a 72 and a 75. On Sunday he picked up six strokes in two holes on Ralph Guldahl early on the last nine. On the 12th and 13th holes Nelson made a birdie 2 and an eagle 3 against a 5 and 6 for Guldahl, who was playing right in front of him. Nelson played the last nine in 32 strokes for a 70. He finished with a total of 283. Nelson beat out Guldahl (285) by two strokes and Ed Dudley (286) by three. Harry Cooper finished fourth at 287. The entry fee was $5. Nelson won $1,500, Guldahl $800 and Dudley $600. Jimmy Thomson (291) finished sixth and earned $300. Felix Serafin (299) tied for 19th and Henry Picard finished farther down the list with a 305 total. The total purse was $5,000 and paid twelve places. Nelson used his first prize money to purchase merchandise for his golf shop at Reading Country Club.
The Section’s spring meeting was held at the Riverton Country Club on the second Monday in April. The tournament chairman, Marty Lyons, announced that all entries for the Section tournaments had to be in his hands no later than the Friday proceeding the day of the tournament. Any member failing to do this would have his entry fee increased by one dollar. Some of the other committees were employment, finance, rules, publicity and membership. The Secretary-Treasurer, Walter Brickley, was pleased to report that 1936 was a banner year in payment of dues in the Section. They did not have one delinquent member. All 122 members had paid their dues in full and this was quite an accomplishment as America was at the peak of the Great Depression. Collecting the Section dues at that time was more of a challenge, as the Section officers had to do this. Later on the PGA of America collected the Section dues for the Sections. Also at the meeting there was a lot of discussion concerning the upcoming True Temper Open. The Section’s third annual invitation tournament had been combined with the True Temper event. The American Fork & Hoe Company manufacturers of the True Temper shafts for golf clubs put up the purse for the tournament. The Philadelphia Section and Whitemarsh Valley Country Club, the host club, managed the event and the Section received the proceeds. The profits were earmarked for the Section’s benevolent fund, which had been created to assist members who were having difficulties. Brickley handled the entries, and the Section set the daily admission price at $1. They also decided to offer a fee of $1.50 for the three-day ticket as Leo Diegel said this had proved to be a success at some other tournaments.
That same week right after the Masters Henry Picard won the Tournament of the Gardens at Charleston, South Carolina for the third consecutive year. Picard put together rounds of 68, 67, 76 and 71 for a 282 total that nipped Jimmy Thomson (283) by one stroke and Sam Snead (285) by three. The third round was played in 35-mile-per-hour winds. Craig Wood and Harry Cooper tied for fourth with 290s. Picard collected $1,250 and 25% of the entry fees that were $20 per contestant. The total purse came to $6,000.
The stop in Charleston marked the end of the Winter Tour. With that win Henry Picard held on to his lead in the money title race. Picard ended the winter with $5,583 and Sam Snead was in second place with $4,150. Byron Nelson was in fifth place with $3,312 and Ed Dudley was seventh with $3,022, even though he was serving as the professional at the Augusta National Golf Club.
Byron Nelson, the new professional at the Reading Country Club, arrived in Reading the week after winning the Masters. Before that he had worked two years as an assistant at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey for George Jacobus, President of the PGA of America. Jacobus had hired Nelson on the recommendation of Ed Dudley. Nelson said that he used the $1,500 first prize from the Masters to stock his pro shop at Reading. The total Masters purse that year was $5,000.
On the third Monday of April the Section professionals played a one day 36-hole tournament at Marble Hall Golf Club. Bruce Coltart put together rounds of 72 and 73. His five over par 145 edged out Byron Nelson (146), who had won the Masters Tournament just two weeks before, by one stroke. Clarence Ehresman was third with a 149 and the host professional John Griffin was fourth at 150.
Qualifying for the PGA Championship was held at the Riverton Country Club the first Monday in May. Forty-nine pros were entered and the Section had seven places to qualify for. The various Sections were vying for 100 places in their championship at the Pittsburgh Field Club. Seventeen professionals were exempt. The Sections were allotted one place for every 18 members in the Section. Bruce Coltart was the medalist with a pair of one-under-par 70s edging out Ed Dudley (141) by one stroke. Next came two assistants, Clarence Doser, new to the Merion Cricket Club’s staff, at 142 and George Fazio at 143. Doser put together a 67 in the morning and Fazio turned in one in the afternoon. Also making the grade with a 145 was the Masters champion Byron Nelson. Two-time PGA champion Leo Diegel had to qualify also. Diegel and Charlie Schneider won the last two spots with 146s. Henry Picard was exempt as a member of the 1935 Ryder Cup Team and Jimmy Thomson had an exemption as the runner-up in the 1936 PGA Championship.
The thirtieth Met Open was held at the Forest Hill Field Club in New Jersey in mid May. Henry Picard had a chance to win his second Met Open in three years. Picard took a two-stroke lead with five holes to play, but he three-putted on two of the next three holes. Picard (280) finished second one stroke behind the winner Jimmy Hines and three strokes in front of Sam Snead (283). Paul Runyan finished fourth at 284. Snead had a course record 65 washed out when the second round was canceled due to torrential rains. Hines’ rounds were 68, 71, 70 and 70 for 279. Byron Nelson, who had won the tournament the year before, did not defend his title.
In late May the PGA Championship was held at the Pittsburgh Field Club. Byron Nelson led the 107 professionals in the on-site qualifying by three strokes with a 68 and a 71 for a 139 total. As the medalist Nelson’s name was engraved on the Alex Smith Trophy. Eight of the nine Philadelphia Section representatives qualified for a place in the 64-man match play field. Ed Dudley was next Philadelphia qualifier at 145. Jimmy Thomson (147), Henry Picard (148), Bruce Coltart (149), Leo Diegel (151), Charles Schneider (152) and Clarence Doser (154) all qualified with strokes to spare as the 157s played off. George Fazio was the only Philadelphia casualty as he failed to qualify. Diegel, Coltart and Doser lost in the first round. Diegel lost to Nelson 2&1, Doser lost to Olin Dutra 3&2 and Coltart lost to Pat Wilcox 2&1. Schneider won his first round match over Neil Christian 4&3 and then he took Johnny Farrell to the last green before losing one-down. Thomson and Dudley won two matches each. Thomson beat Dan Galgano 3&1 in the first round and then he beat Ralph Guldahl by 6&4 in the second round. Thomson then lost to Ky Laffoon 4&3. Dudley beat Herman Barron in the first round 5&3 and he beat Wilcox in the second round 4&3. Dudley lost in the third round to a former Section member, Denny Shute, by a 3&2 margin. Nelson and Picard each won three matches to reach the quarterfinals. On the way to the quarterfinals Nelson beat Diegel 2&1, Craig Wood 4&2 and Farrell 5&4 before losing to Laffoon two-down. Picard beat Perry Del Vecchio 5&4, Sam Bernardi one-down, and Horton Smith 4&3 before losing to a future Section member, Jug McSpaden, in 39 holes. Shute went on to win the championship by defeating McSpaden, in the finals on the 37th hole. In the semifinals Shute outlasted Tony Manero one-up and McSpaden beat Laffoon 2&1. The first two rounds were 18 holes and the remaining rounds were 36 holes. The total purse was $9,200.
Qualifying for the U.S. Open was held at the North Hills Country Club on the first of June. Ed Dudley and Byron Nelson led the qualifying for the eight spots in the national championship with 140s. Dudley was around in 71-69 and Nelson turned in a pair of 70s. Jimmy Demaret from Houston, Texas tied John Beadle and Bruce Coltart for third with 144s. Dick Renaghan (145) and Al Heron (146) also qualified. There were 1,302 players competing for 130 places at 30 locations in the country. Forty players were exempt from qualifying including Section members Henry Picard, Jimmy Thomson, Felix Serafin and Zell Eaton. They earned their exemptions for having finished in the top 30 in the Open the previous year. Eaton, who had just been hired as the assistant at the Saucon Valley Country Club, didn’t enter the Open. Eaton replaced Ralph Hutchison’s brother Willard who had just moved to the Gulph Mills Golf Club to be their head professional. Also, Eaton had been invited to the Masters Tournament in April but he didn’t play there either.
In the second week of June Ed Dudley led after three rounds at the U.S. Open with 211. The Open was at the Oakland Hills Country Club near Detroit. A final round 76 left Dudley (287) in fifth place with a check for $450. Ralph Guldahl won beating Dudley by six strokes with a 281. Guldahl’s rounds were 71, 69, 72 and 69. Sam Snead, playing in his first U.S. Open, finished second at 283. Bobby Cruickshank (285) finished third and Harry Cooper (286) finished fourth. Henry Picard (292) tied for tenth and won $175. Byron Nelson (295) and Jimmy Thomson (296) also were in the money finishing 20th and 28th. Also making the cut were Felix Serafin (300) and John Beadle (306). Al Heron made the cut right on the number with 152 but he didn’t make his starting time for the third round on Saturday morning. Bruce Coltart and Dick Renaghan missed the cut. The purse was increased from $5,000 to $6,000 and the money places from 21 to 30. First prize was $1,000.
As of late May Henry Picard, former Section member Denny Shute and four other professionals had earned places on the Ryder Cup Team based on their tournament records. The Cup committee ruled that the other four places on the team would be filled based on the total score from the thirty-six hole on site qualifying at the PGA Championship and the seventy-two hole scores in the U.S. Open. Based on that 108-hole qualifier Byron Nelson and Ed Dudley took two of the spots along with future Section member Sam Snead.
In the fourth week of June the True Temper Open was held at the Whitemarsh Valley Country Club. This was the third annual Philadelphia Section PGA invitational tournament. All of the committee members for managing the tournament, except the tournament chairman, were members of the Philadelphia Section. This year the True Temper Golf Company that made the steel golf shafts joined up with the Philadelphia Section as a co-sponsor. The True Temper Company was trying to play their tournament in different states each year. Harry Cooper won the tournament with a last round 68 that was topped off with a 30 on the back nine. Cooper’s earlier rounds of 70, 73 and 69 gave him an eight-under-par score of 280, which finished two strokes in front of Wiffy Cox (282). Texan Harry Cooper, who was working in Chicago, was one of the great golfers that never won a major championship. Jimmy Hines finished third at 286. Billy Burke, Clarence Clark and Bud Oakley tied for fourth with 287s. Also history was being made in what had been men’s professional golf in Pennsylvania. Along with a strong contingent of male professionals from outside the Philadelphia Section the first females were in the starting field. Babe Didrikson, the star of the 1932 Olympics and now a professional golfer, and Helen Hicks were entered. The Shawnee Inn & Country Club professionals, Jack Patroni (288) and Jimmy Thomson (290), had the highest finishes of the Philadelphia Section members, finishing 7th and 11th. Dick Renaghan (292) tied for 12th and George Fazio (292) won last money tying for 15th. First prize from the $4,000 purse was $900. Joe Zarhardt, Leo Diegel, John Beadle, Bruce Coltart and Felix Serafin each won $25 as the highest finishing Philadelphia Section pros that were out of the True Temper money. The entry fee was $5. The host professional was Morrie Talman.
Two days later in June the Pennsylvania Open was played at the Merion Cricket Club’s East Course. This was probably the strongest field in the history of the tournament. Again Babe Didrikson was entered in what had always been an all-male event. Once again the title left the state as Ohio’s Toney Penna came out on top with rounds of 75, 71, 72 and 71, which gave him a nine-over-par 289. First prize was $500. Penna was working for the MacGregor Golf Company of Dayton, Ohio. He was their number one club designer and many of the best professionals played MacGregor clubs at that time. Ed Oliver, Bill Mehlhorn, Louisville, Kentucky and Willie Goggin, San Francisco, California tied for second two strokes back at 291. Ted Turner and Lloyd Mangrum tied for fifth with 292s. The total purse came to $1,750.
On the last two days of June the Ryder Cup matches were held at Southport, England with Walter Hagen as the non-playing captain again. Ed Dudley and Byron Nelson teamed up to win a foursomes match. Also Dudley and Henry Picard won their singles matches. Dudley’s win in the singles was the clinching point as the American team defeated the British team on their soil for the first time. Also on the team were Denny Shute, a former Philadelphia Section member and Sam Snead, a future member of the Section. The final tally was eight points for the USA and four points for Great Britain. That would be the last Ryder Cup match until after World War II
At the British Open in the second week of July Ed Dudley led the first day with a 70. Held at the Carnoustie Golf Club, Angus, Scotland, it was won by Henry Cotton as he put together rounds of 74, 73, 72 and 71 for 290. Reg Whitcombe finished second with a 292. Former Section member Charles Lacey (293) was the low pro from the states finishing third, three strokes behind Cotton. Reg Whitcombe’s brother Charles finished fourth at 294. Byron Nelson (296) finished fifth, Ed Dudley (297) was next in sixth place, and Henry Picard (303) tied for 15th. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. missed the cut.
Jimmy Thomson won a $1,000 driving contest in early July staged in conjunction with the General Brock Open in Ontario, Canada. The balls were driven from the club’s first tee that was 164 yards above the course. Thomson drove ten balls that totaled 3,407 yards, the longest being 386 yards and one-half inch. Finishing second was a young pro from Ft. Worth, Texas named Ben Hogan with 3,354 total yards.
Lawson Little won the 20th, and what turned out to be the last Shawnee Open in mid July. He carded rounds of 74, 71, 71 and 68 for a total of 284 at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club to win out over a field of 100 entries. Shawnee’s Jimmy Thomson (285) bogeyed the par three final hole and finished tied for second with Connecticut’s Leo Mallory (285), one stroke off the winning pace. Toney Penna finished fourth at 286, one stroke in front of Harry Cooper (287), who played the last round back nine in 29. Philmont Country Club assistant Matt Kowal (288) led at the halfway point with 137 but fell back the second day to tie for sixth. Felix Serafin (289) tied for ninth and Sam Byrd (291) tied for 12th. The host professional was Jack Patroni.
Five days later in July the Philadelphia Open title left the Section again. Leonard Dodson, Springfield, Missouri won at the Concord Country Club in a playoff with Bruce Coltart. The two professionals had tied with four-over-par 284 scores at the completion of the two-day tournament. The next day Dodson won an 18-hole play-off by one stroke with a 74 against Coltart’s 75. Dodson’s tournament rounds were 75, 70, 69 and 70. After the playoff Dodson caught a 5 PM airplane from the Camden Airport to play in the Chicago Open. Matt Kowal and Charlie Schneider, the host pro, tied for third with 287s. Ed Oliver finished fifth at 288. Oliver won a $75 check for being the low pro affiliated with a Golf Association of Philadelphia club. Sam Byrd, who finished sixth, received the fifth place check. First prize was $350 from the total purse of $950.
Byron Nelson, just back from the Ryder Cup matches in England, won the Central Pennsylvania Open at his home course on the first Monday of August, but it didn’t come easy. The day before, he had been in Jamestown, New York playing an exhibition with Henry Picard. He then drove 300 miles through the night to Reading to play in the tournament. Nelson led after round one with a 69 but he had to share the lead with three other professionals. In the afternoon he posted a 71 and at the end of regulation play he was tied with Bruce Coltart with two-under-par 140s. Five days later on a Saturday Nelson won an 18-hole playoff with a course record 68 against a 75 for Coltart. First prize was $150 and second was $75 from the total purse of $425. Ed Oliver, the defending champion, and Sam Byrd tied for third at 143. Dick Renaghan and Charlie Schneider tied for fifth with 144s. The tournament drew a gallery of 500 people.
Ed Oliver won the second annual Lancaster Pro-Am with his amateur partner Dave Douglas on the third Friday of August. The two Wilmington, Delaware golfers teamed up for a six under par 66. Ed Dudley and his amateur partner were one stroke back at 67.
The fifth annual, $5,000 Hershey Open, was played at the Hershey Country Club in early September. The tournament’s $1,200 first prize went to the host pro, Henry Picard, as he won the title for the second straight year. Picard finished three strokes ahead of the U.S. Open champion Ralph Guldahl’s 283 total. His tournament record twelve under par 280 included a 65 in the second round that was witnessed by 1,000 spectators. Picard’s three other rounds were 70, 73 and 72. Ray Mangrum (285) and Jimmy Hines (289) finished third and fourth. Sam Byrd (292) finished fifth two strokes in front of his employer Ed Dudley who tied for sixth at 294 with Gene Sarazen. Jack Grout and Ed Oliver tied for ninth with 297s. The total purse was $5,000 and paid fifteen places.
On the first Tuesday of September Ed Dudley and Jimmy Thomson represented the United States in a team match against the Canadian PGA. The match was played at the St. Andrews Golf Club in Toronto. Eight singles matches were played in the morning followed by four 4-ball matches in the afternoon. Dudley won his four-ball match and Thomson won his singles match. The U.S. team made up of eight professionals defeated the Canadians by a score of 8 to 4.
Sixteen of the Section’s top professionals were in Massachusetts playing in the $12,000 Belmont Open Match Play tournament just four days before their Philadelphia PGA Championship was scheduled to begin. This included Ted Turner the defending champion of the previous year’s Section Championship along with the medalist and runner-up Leo Diegel. The Belmont Match Play’s $12,000 purse was the largest that golfers had ever competed for in the United States. As a comparison the total purse at the U.S. Open that year had been $6,000 and would be the same amount for the next four years. A 36-hole qualifying tournament was held to trim the 221 pros and amateurs who had entered down to 64 for the match play. Seven of the Philadelphia Section pros qualified. Byron Nelson (141), Diegel (144), Henry Picard (146), Ed Oliver (148), Jimmy Thomson (148), Clarence Doser (149) and Matt Kowal (151) all made the grade with ease. Tony Manero won the medal with a 140 and the 153 scorers played off for the last spots. The first two rounds of the match play were 18-holes and the last four rounds were 36-hole matches. In the first round Kowal lost to Harry Cooper 4&3 and Doser lost to amateur Ray Billows one-down. Oliver won his first round match over Joe Stein by a one-up margin but he lost in the second round to Ralph Guldahl two-down. Diegel and Thomson each lasted two rounds. Diegel beat Herman Rama 3&1 in the first round and Charlie Yansick in the second round by 5&4 before losing to Cooper 2&1. Thomson eliminated Willie Hunter 3&2 in the first round and Dutch Harrison two-down in the second round before losing to Johnny Revolta 3&1. The Philadelphia Section’s two other qualifiers went all the way to the finals. After 216 scheduled holes and seven days Nelson emerged victorious. He defeated Picard, who had been born about fifty miles away in Plymouth, by a margin of 5&4. They were even after the first 18 holes. The second 18 was played in a pelting rain that seemed to bother Picard more than Nelson as many of his tee shots found the rough. To reach the finals Nelson defeated amateur John Levinson in 19 holes, Frank Walsh one-down, Ray Mangrum two-down, Charles Lacey 6&4 and Cooper 5&4. Picard made the finals by beating Dan Galgano 6&5, Tom Mahan 5&4, Wiffy Cox 4&3, Lawson Little 6&4 and Guldahl 7&6.Nelson won $3,000, which was double his first place Masters check, and Picard won $2,000.
Marty Lyons and Llanerch Country Club hosted the Section Championship again on the last Monday of September. Only four of the professionals who had played in Massachusetts were entered. Byron Nelson and Henry Picard were still in the Belmont Match Play but the others had all been eliminated before Sunday. Bruce Coltart won the match play portion of the event beating Matt Kowal on the 38th hole, but he was not the Section champion. Since the decision had been made to invite amateurs to enter the championship, the low professional in the stroke play qualifying rounds would be the Section champion. Six amateurs played in the qualifying but none played in the match play. On a chilly day Charlie Schneider turned in the low medal play score with two rounds of 70 and 69 for a five-under-par 36-hole score of 139. Therefore Schneider was crowned Section champion. Tied for second four strokes back were Coltart and Clarence Doser with 143s. Joe Zarhardt finished fourth with a 144. The defending champion Ted Turner did not enter either the stroke play or match play portions of the championship. He did not have to qualify and was paired for the matches. In case Turner did not show up Bill Neilan, the first alternate was scheduled to play in his place. Neither Turner nor Neilan showed up for the first round match. An interesting bit from the match play finals took place on Llanerch’s par-four 18th hole when Coltart and Kowal came to the tee all even after 35 holes. Kowal drove the green on the fly and held it, two putting for a birdie but Coltart also birdied the hole and they moved on to a sudden death playoff, which Coltart won two holes later.
In early October Henry Picard, Byron Nelson and Denny Shute left by plane for South America and an exhibition tour competing with their golf professionals. While they were there Picard won the Argentina Open.
Twenty-one year old Ed Oliver won the Wood Memorial at the Jeffersonville Golf Club on the first Monday of October. Oliver was around in 33-35 for a two under par 68. Bud Lewis, who was now back at Jeffersonville as the head professional, and George Fazio tied for second with 70s. Fazio was in contention, but went one over par on each of the last two holes. Sam Byrd, Walter Brickley and Johnny Schuebel tied for fourth with 71s. First prize was $60 from the $200 purse.
Sixty professionals attended the Section’s annual meeting at the Hotel Walton in Philadelphia on the fourth Monday of October. The President, Ed Dudley, was reelected for a fourth straight year but he had opposition. Clarence Hackney ran against him and lost by just two votes. The Secretary/Treasurer, Walter Brickley, was reelected for the fourth straight year also. This made Hackney the first vice president and Marty Lyons was elected second vice president. Under Dudley’s leadership the Section now had more money in its treasury than anytime since it was formed in 1921. Brickley reported that the Section now had 126 members. Jimmy D’Angelo, Baederwood Golf Club professional and editor of the Section’s newsletter, The Reporter, stated that the meeting lasted five hours with some serious and important discussions. One was a complaint by a Section member that a fellow professional was selling 75 cent golf balls below the $8 per dozen price that ha d been set by the Section. The secretary was instructed to write to the accused member requesting him to appear before the Board of Control, along with the complainant. Another important subject was brought up by President Dudley, saying that he had been accused of placing professionals from outside the district in jobs within our Section. He proceeded to give an explanation that was acceptable to the members that were present. George Jacobus, the president of the PGA of America, was in attendance along with A. W. Tillinghast, the internationally known golf course architect and PGA course consultant. President Jacobus discussed several important national subjects including the upcoming national PGA Championship to be played at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club in July. This required a lot of detail work and the membership of the Section was told that they would be looked upon for their assistance. The meeting was followed with a turkey dinner and a floorshow.
In 1935 the PGA of America had retained A.W. Tillinghast, a member of the Philadelphia Cricket Club, as a consultant to courses employing PGA professionals. He was also the editor of Golf Illustrated in which his articles were written under the byline “Hazard”. At the request of a PGA member Tillinghast would visit the pro’s course and spend a day with the pro and the green committee. He only came at the invitation of the professional and the PGA of America paid his fees. He would make suggestions for improvements to the course and give ideas for saving money such as removal of bunkers that he considered unnecessary, changing sand bunkers to grass, or narrowing and recontouring the fairways. He considered rough to be an inexpensive hazard that didn’t require much maintenance. The clubs were able to reduce their budgets and make the courses more inviting for the average player with a minimal expenditure and saving money was of vital importance. The country was in the middle of the Great Depression and over 600 golf courses would close forever between 1932 and 1952. Tillinghast visited all regions of the country for two years providing this service. A number of courses in the Philadelphia Section were altered by Tillinghast during this time.
On the last weekend of October Pine Valley Golf Club held the first of three annual invitational professional-amateur tournaments. Seventy members contributed $1,710 to cover the expenses of the 12 professionals and create a purse of $800. The Section was represented by Ed Dudley, Leo Diegel, Jimmy Thomson and Ted Turner. Dudley shot a 71 in the first round, the low round of the weekend, and finished third. Sam Snead and Thomson tied for first with 302 totals, 22 over par.
The national PGA meeting was at the Morrison Hotel in Chicago during the second week of November. The officers (President George R. Jacobus, Secretary Tom Walsh and Treasurer Jack B. Mackie) were all reelected. Ed Dudley was reelected to the office of vice president at large and he was again named chairman of the Tournament Committee. Dudley’s committee had put together a schedule for the next year that consisted of events nearly every week covering the entire country. The committee had also instituted some new rules for the PGA Tour starting with the last three tournaments of the year. One rule was that if a player’s ball was in the line of another player he would have to putt out instead of marking and lifting his ball. This was done to speed up play in the tournaments. The new rule would also alleviate the custom of making indentations or thumbnail scratches to mark the position of the ball on the green. Also the players were told that they were to only play one ball in the practice rounds to lessen turf injury caused from playing several practice shots. The other vice presidents elected were Grange Alves, Thomas Boyd, Al Collins, Ray Hall, Dewey Longworth, Willie Maguire and Frank T. Sprogell. The Philadelphia Section delegates to the meeting were Clarence Hackney and Leo Diegel.
The first official Senior PGA Championship was held at the Augusta National Golf Club in late November. A PGA member had to have reached the age of 50 to be eligible. There was no entry fee as only a PGA membership card was needed to enter and each pro received money for travel expenses. Dave Cuthbert was a member of the tournament’s committee. There were 37 entries. Jack Campbell and Sunnybrook Golf Club professional Frank Coltart led the Philadelphia Section professionals tying for twelfth with 242s and George Sayers (245) finished 18th. George Low, Sr. (248) tied for 21st and he also finished second to Jack Campbell’s brother Alex in the 60 years and over age group. Alec Duncan was in eighth place after two rounds but withdrew. Their old contemporary from the Southeastern Section days, Jock Hutchison, won with rounds of 76, 75 and 72 for a 223 total. George Gordon finished second at 231 and Jim West was third with a 233. Fred McLeod and Dave Ogilvie tied for fourth at 234. The PGA of America put up $2,000 to cover the purse and expenses but the amount won by each professional was not announced. The field was divided into three age groups. Class A was 50 to 54, Class B 55 to 59 and Class C was 60 and over. Alfred S. Bourne contributed $1,500 for the purchase of a trophy that bore his name.
Henry Picard had completed another outstanding year on the PGA Tour as the second leading money winner with $10,866.58. Byron Nelson ($6,734.50), Jimmy Thomson ($5,243.58) and Ed Dudley ($4,418.58) were in seventh, tenth, and twelfth place on the list. Harry Cooper topped the money list with $14,138.69. The PGA Tour professionals had competed for purses totaling $175,000 that year, up $20,000 from the previous year. Cooper also won the Vardon Trophy with 500 points and he had the lowest scoring average for the year (71.62). That year the Vardon Trophy had replaced the Radix Cup. For the first five years the Vardon Trophy was calculated on a point system.
Back to Top
Effective January 1st the USGA and the R&A imposed a limit of 14 clubs that a player could use in a round of tournament golf. The caddies applauded the decision. Henry Picard said he would carry driver, brassie, #4 wood, #2 to #9 irons, sand wedge, chipper, and a putter.
Early in the year A.W. Tillinghast resigned as the PGA Golf Course Consultant-Architect. He felt that he had covered all of the clubs that had officially sought his services through the PGA. He didn’t think that there would be sufficient requests within the near future to warrant his covering the country systematically as he had been doing. He stated that he feels at home among the pros and during the past two years he has come to regard them with genuine affection.
Jimmy Thomson, who had finished second on many occasions, won the Los Angeles Open in the second week of January. This was his second victory of the PGA Tour. The tournament was played over Griffith Park’s Wilson and Harding courses. The field of 290 players competed over the two courses for the first 36 holes and the players that made the cut finished up on the Wilson course for the last two rounds. Before the final round the tournament sponsor, The Los Angeles Times, announced that the purse had been increased from $5,000 to $7,500. First place was worth $2,100. The last day 5,000 people turned out to see Thomson shoot a 68, which added to his earlier rounds of 65, 66 and 74 gave him a 273 total. He finished four strokes in front of Johnny Revolta (277). Henry Picard and Lawson Little tied for third with 278s.
In late January Henry Picard won the Pasadena Open in California. Picard won $700 as he edged out Jimmy Hines (278) by two strokes with a 276 score. Picard’s rounds over the Brookside Park Course were 70, 66, 71 and 69. Byron Nelson came in third with 279 and Jimmy Thomson, who had led going into the last round, finished fourth at 280. Picard’s assistant Jack Grout tied for sixth. Jimmy McHale won the low amateur prize and announced that he was turning pro.
Byron Nelson won the Thomasville Open in Georgia at the end of February. His 280 total over the Glen Arven Country Club beat Dick Metz (284) by four strokes and Harry Cooper (285) by five. Nelson’s rounds were 66, 73, 71 and 70. Frank Moore finished fourth at 289. Felix Serafin finished seventh and five other Philadelphia Section professionals made the cut. First prize was $700.
In the second week in March Byron Nelson won again at the $3,000 Hollywood Open in Florida. He won $700 shooting 275 to beat out Horton Smith and Frank Moore by one stroke. Denny Shute and Frank Walsh tied for fourth with 278s. Nelson’s rounds over the Orange Brook course were 71, 68, 69 and 67. Ed Oliver (281) tied for eighth and five other Section pros made the cut. First prize was $700.
The fifth Masters Tournament was scheduled for the first four days of April with a Friday start and a wrap up on Monday. The defending champion was Byron Nelson and the favorite was Sam Snead who had just won the Greensboro Open. Snead arrived at Augusta on his first airplane flight. In the first round Felix Serafin played the first nine in four-under-par 32 and was five under par on the back nine when the rains came. The on-course scoreboard system wasn’t what it would be in later years so there were discrepancies in the newspaper articles as to what hole Serafin was on when play was halted. Unfortunately for Serafin the first day’s play was canceled. They played 18 holes the next day, 36 holes on Sunday and finished up on Monday. Ed Dudley (70-69) led after two rounds and Henry Picard was in front after the third round. In each of the first three rounds Picard had finished birdie-birdie-par. The next day no one broke 70 but Picard was one of the ones who shot a 70. Picard’s 285 total, won by two strokes over Ralph Guldahl (287) and Harry Cooper (287). Picard’s rounds were 71, 72, 72 and 70. The amazing part of Picard’s victory was that due to an injured thumb he had changed his grip in the second week of March. Picard had been playing in the Hollywood (Florida) Open, which was held at the Hollywood Beach Hotel Golf Course where the noted instructor Alex Morrison was the winter teaching pro. At the suggestion of Morrison Picard changed from the overlapping grip to an interlocking grip, which included taking his left thumb off the shaft of the club and wrapping it around behind his right hand. The Masters was just his third tournament using that grip. Paul Runyan finished fourth at 288. First prize was again $1,500 and Picard also received a silver plaque and a gold medal. The Augusta National golf course was considered to be a little short for a championship but only four players broke 290. All five of the Philadelphia Section entries finished in the top eight and the money. Nelson (290) ended up in fifth place and won $400. Serafin and Dudley tied for sixth with 291s, each winning $275. Jimmy Thomson (292) was one stroke farther back in a tie for eighth. He won $175. The total prize money was $4,950.
The Masters Tournament marked the end of the Winter Tour. The leading money winner was Harry Cooper with $4,448.83. Henry Picard, Jimmy Thomson, and Byron Nelson were in third, fourth, and fifth place.
The Section’s spring meeting was on the second Monday in April at the Hotel Walton in Philadelphia. An active tournament schedule for the coming season was announced. There were open events such as the Central Pennsylvania Open at the Reading Country Club, the South Jersey Open at the Atlantic City Country Club, the Wood Memorial at the Jeffersonville Golf Club, the Philadelphia Open and Pennsylvania Open as well as the usual pro-ams. The pro-am championship was changed from a three-day match play event to 36-holes of stroke play. The pro-lady was still three days of match play. A PGA Championship Committee of twenty-five pros was formed with Leo Diegel chairman. They made weekly trips to the Shawnee Inn & Country Club for the purpose of getting everything in top shape for their national championship. A benevolent fund was created and a number of tournaments were conducted, increasing the treasury considerably. The Section was becoming interested in the development of junior golf. Marty Lyons and his brother Jimmy had started group lessons for the juniors at his club in 1935. Plans were made to conduct pro-junior tournaments for both boys and girls. The Section had 130 members and not one was unemployed. The members voted to ask the Golf Association of Philadelphia to rescind a rule it had just made which restricted the Philadelphia Open entries to pros that were employed by clubs that
were members of the GAP. They felt that the tournament should be open to all members of the Philadelphia Section.
In mid May Jimmy Hines won his second Met Open in a row at the Fresh Meadow Country Club on Long Island. He beat out Sam Snead (290) by three strokes and Ralph Guldahl (292) by five, with rounds of 70, 72, 73 and 72 for 287. Horton Smith finished fourth at 295. Jimmy Thomson (297) tied for eighth and Ted Turner (298) finished one stroke further back in tenth place.
Qualifying for the PGA Championship at the Shawnee Inn & Country Club was held at Shawnee on the fourth Monday in May. Clarence Doser, Jimmy Thomson, and Terl Johnson, the professional at the Plymouth Country Club, made it that day. Doser led with a 70 and a 74 for 144. Thomson posted a 146 and Johnson was next at 149. Leo Diegel, Felix Serafin, Leo Fraser, Dick Renaghan, Jack Patroni and Matt Kowal tied for the last four places with 151s. Eight days later they returned to Shawnee for an 18-hole playoff. Serafin was thirty minutes late for his starting time because he forgot about the daylight savings time change. Diegel and Renaghan had waited for him and all three of them were successful in the playoff. Serafin led with a 75 that was two less than Diegel (77) and Renaghan (77). Fraser won the other place with a 78. As 1937 Ryder Cup Team members Ed Dudley, Byron Nelson and Henry Picard were exempt from qualifying.
The Inverness Four-Ball in Toledo, Ohio was that same week in May. The round-robin tournament consisting of seven 18-hole matches ended on Sunday. Ed Dudley and Ky Laffoon tied for second one point behind the winning team of Sam Snead and Vic Ghezzi. First prize was $650 per man and the second place tie was worth $375 per player. Jimmy Thomson and Henry Picard were also in the 16-man field and all the players won money.
On a Tuesday, the last day in May, qualifying for the U.S. Open was at the Aronimink Golf Club. Because the Open was in Denver the local entry was not large and Philadelphia was allotted only four places. Four professionals from the Section, Ed Dudley, Henry Picard, Byron Nelson and Jimmy Thomson were exempt from qualifying as they had all been in the top 30 at the Open the previous year. The low qualifier was George Low, Jr. who was running a driving range in Jenkintown with his father, George Sr. He putted right-handed with the back of a left-handed putter he had borrowed. He only three putted one time to shoot a 70-71 for 141. In the morning round Low made a double-eagle on the par-five fourth hole when he holed a #4 wood shot for a two. The other three pros that made it were Sam Byrd (144), Bruce Coltart (145) and George Fazio (146).
Joe Kirkwood, Sr., who had just returned from a yearlong world tour with Walter Hagen, successfully qualified for the U.S. Open in San Francisco on the same day that the Philadelphia pros were playing at Aronimink. There were five spots at San Francisco and Kirkwood picked up the last one with a 145.
In the second week of June at the U.S. Open Byron Nelson and Henry Picard had good opportunities to win. The Open was played at the Cherry Hills Club in Colorado. Nelson (294) tied for fifth winning $412.50 and Picard (295) tied for seventh and won $216.67. Ralph Guldahl won his second straight U.S. Open with rounds of 74, 70, 71 and 69 for an even-par 284. Dick Metz (290) finished second, six strokes back. Harry Cooper and Toney Penna tied for third at 292. Jimmy Thomson (308) and Ed Dudley (315) also made the cut but missed the money. George Fazio made the cut and withdrew after the third round. Bruce Coltart, Sam Byrd and George Low, Jr., missed the cut. Joe Kirkwood, Sr. withdrew after the first round. During the tournament week it was announced that next year’s US Open would be in Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Country Club’s Spring Mill Course.
The next week in June Ralph Guldahl won the Western Open for the third straight year. Played in St. Louis at the Westwood Country Club, this was the 38th annual open championship of the Western Golf Association and this was the first time anyone had won it three years in a row. Guldahl put together rounds of 71, 73, 70 and 65 for a 279 that finished seven strokes in front of the second place finisher Sam Snead (286). Toney Penna was next at 289. Jimmy Thomson and Leonard Dodson tied for fourth with 292s. Thomson did it with the help of a last round hole-in-one. First prize was $750.
The Pennsylvania Open was held at the Pittsburgh Field Club at the end of June. Lloyd Mangrum who was playing out of Los Angeles stopped off to visit his brother Ray at Oakmont Country Club on his way to the Shawnee Inn & Country Club for the PGA Championship. Lloyd won the tournament over Ray who ended up one stroke back in second place. Lloyd shot a pair of 71s for 142 and Ray’s rounds were 72-71.Vic Ghezzi (145), Sam Parks, Jr. (147) and Ed Dudley (148) finished third, fourth, and fifth. Lloyd’s two-under-par 142 earned him $250 from the $700 purse. There were 71 entries.
The British Open was held at the Royal St. George’s Golf Club, Sandwich, England in the first week of July. Reg Whitcombe (295), the runner-up in 1937, won with rounds of 71, 71, 75 and 78. The wind blew so hard the last day that exhibition tent collapsed. Jimmy Adams finished second at 297 and Henry Cotton was third at 298. Dick Burton, Alf Padgham, Jack Busson and Allan Dailey tied for fourth with 303 totals.
In mid July the PGA Championship, hosted by Shawnee Inn & Country Club and the Philadelphia Section, came to the Philadelphia Section for the first time. Jack Patroni was the host professional. The Worthington family, who had made their money in pumps and owned the facility, had spent $20,000 on course improvements preparing for the championship. Ten professionals from the Philadelphia Section were entered. Seven had qualified locally and three were exempt. After the 36-hole qualifying round at Shawnee only one of the ten failed to make the low 64 who qualified for the match play. Frank Moore, brother of Terry Moore the St. Louis Cardinal baseball player, won the medal with a pair of 68s for an eight-under-par 136. One year later Moore would be running the golf shop at Reading Country for Byron Nelson. Henry Picard and Byron Nelson tied for third with 140s. Long hitting Jimmy Thomson, playing out of Shawnee and Ed Dudley each recorded 141s. Terl Johnson (144), Leo Fraser (144), Leo Diegel (147), Dick Renaghan (150) and Felix Serafin (150) also survived the qualifying as the 151 shooters played off for the last four spots in the match play ladder. Clarence Doser was the lone Section member that didn’t make it through the qualifying rounds into the match play. The first two rounds of matches were 18 holes each and the rest were 36 holes. In the first round Fraser lost to Bob Shave, Sr. 4&3 and Renaghan lost to Dick Metz 4&3. Dudley, Thomson, Diegel and Johnson won their first round matches only to lose in the second round. Dudley upset Johnny Farrell 3&2 and then lost to Harry Bassler 4&3. Thomson beat Guy Paulsen 5&4 and then lost to Jim Foulis one-down. Diegel beat Francis Gallett 2&1 and was defeated by Horton Smith 2&1. Johnson defeated Henry Ransom 2&1 and then lost to Sam Snead 4&3. Serafin won two matches before losing in the third round. Serafin upset Harry Cooper 4&3 and then he upset Ky Laffoon 3&2 before losing to Snead 4&3. Nelson won three matches. He beat Clarence Yockey 5&4, Al Krueger in 20 holes and Bassler 11&10 before losing to Jimmy Hines in the quarter-finals 2&1. Picard made it to the semifinals as he defeated Andy Gibson 3&2, Shave 3&2, Metz 4&3 and Gene Sarazen 3&2. Picard lost to Paul Runyan 4&3. In the other semifinal Snead defeated Hines one-down. The final went down as one of the more amazing matches in the history of the PGA. The short driving Runyan defeated Snead who was a great player and one of the longest drivers in the game by a wide margin of 8&7. Runyan picked up a check for $1,100 and Snead won $600 from the $10,000 purse. Snead must have made a good impression as less than two years later he would be representing Shawnee on the PGA Tour.
Three days later in July Ted Turner won the Philadelphia Open for the second time at the Torresdale-Frankford Country Club. Leonard Dodson could not defend the title since the Golf Association of Philadelphia had held fast to their new rule and only professionals employed by the member clubs could enter the tournament. Turner put together rounds of 70, 73, 70 and 73 for a two-under-par 286 in the two-day event. The 36-hole leader Matt Kowal and Terl Johnson tied for second with 287s. Johnson had a last round of 68, the best of the tournament. Clarence Ehresman finished fourth at 290. Sam Byrd and amateur Dave Douglas tied for fifth at 291. Leo Diegel and Clarence Doser were next with 294s. First place paid $250 and the second place tie earned $87.50. The GAP pros didn’t have to compete with outside pros that year but there wasn’t as much money to win. First prize was $100 less and all of the other prizes were reduced.
Ten days after winning the Philadelphia Open Ted Turner won the New Jersey Open at the Braidburn Country Club. He was only the second professional from South Jersey to win this tournament and the first since Clarence Hackney had won it three years in a row from 1924 to 1926. Turner was the only pro entered from South Jersey. With rounds of 71, 74, 75 and 75 for a score of 295 Turner finished three strokes in front of John Kinder (298) and the host professional Ralph Guldahl (298), who had won the last two U.S. Opens. Vic Ghezzi and Craig Wood tied for fourth with 299s.
Harry Anderson, who had been the golf professional at the Kennett Square Golf & Country Club for the last 13 years, was building another nine holes for the club that would open in July of the next year.
The first South Jersey Open was played at the Atlantic City Country Club on the first Monday of August. On a windy morning Ed Oliver went around the course in 64 strokes making nine birdies on the way to lead by seven strokes. Leo Diegel, who played with Oliver, said it was the greatest round of golf he had ever seen. Oliver was on all four of the par five holes in two. In the afternoon the wind picked up and Oliver needed 77 strokes but his score of 141 still won by six strokes. Matt Kowal along with amateurs Dave Douglas and Sonny Fraser tied for second with 147s. The total prize money was $620 and Oliver won $200.
On the second Monday of August Ed Oliver made it two wins in a row by annexing the Central Pennsylvania Open at the Reading Country Club. This was also his second win in this event. The host pro Byron Nelson led after the morning round with a course record 66, which included six birdies and an eagle. Oliver finished with a pair of 70s for a two-under-par 140 that nipped Nelson (141) by one stroke. Nelson bogeyed the last four holes in the afternoon. First money was $125 and 15 pros won money. Terl Johnson (142) finished third and Clarence Doser finished (144) fourth. A driving contest was held that day which Nelson won with a drive of 273 yards-6 inches. Oliver, who could drive 300 yards with ease, missed the fairway with his three drives.
The format for the Hershey Open was changed to a better-ball round robin with eight teams competing. The tournament was held in early September and consisted of seven rounds in four days as a team played each of the other seven teams. The 16-man field was made up of invitees that had victories on the PGA Tour. The host pro Henry Picard invited Ben Hogan who had never won a tournament. Milton Hershey, President of the club and the Hershey Chocolate Corporation, questioned Picard about his choice but Picard said he thought Hogan was going to be a great player. Hogan was to be paired with 43-year-old Tommy Armour who wasn’t in training for a marathon like that. Hogan got a break when Armour broke a bone in his hand and could not make it. Twenty-five year old Vic Ghezzi was brought in at the last minute to be his partner. The club members purchased the teams in a calcutta auction and the Hogan-Ghezzi team sold for the lowest amount, by far. Hogan and Ghezzi proceeded to open up with a 61 and a 63, 22 under par. They finished the seven rounds 53 under par and plus 17, which was 15 points ahead of Sam Snead and Paul Runyan who finished second. Hogan and Ghezzi each won $550. The total purse was $4,600. All the other teams finished with zero points or less. Byron Nelson, Ed Dudley and Jimmy Thomson were the other Section pros in the field.
On the second Monday of September the fifth annual Wood Memorial tournament was played at the Jeffersonville Golf Club. At the end of the day Bud Lewis and Dick Renaghan were tied for the top money prize with two four under par 66s. There was no playoff and each professional received a check for $50. Bud’s brother and assistant John Lewis, finished third with a 67. Ed Ginther, who was now the professional at the Hercules Country Club finished fourth at 68. The total purse was $200.
In the second week of October the Section Championship was once again at the Llanerch Country Club. The host professional Marty Lyons and forty-three other professionals entered the qualifying round. Terl Johnson, who had been in the money in every Section tournament that year, was the low qualifier with 73-70 for a one-under-par 143. The low 32 players qualified and the 160 scorers played off for the last three spots. George Fazio was second with a 144 and Ted Turner was next at 145. Turner didn’t play in the match play because he couldn’t get away form Pine Valley. Joe Zarhardt, the former Burlington Country Club head professional but now unattached and living in Plainfield, New Jersey, became the new champion. He defeated Ralph Hutchison 3&2 in the 36-hole final. Hutchison beat his former employer Ed Dudley one-down in the quarterfinals. He had caddied for him on the tour and worked as his assistant at the Concord Country Club, Augusta National and the Philadelphia Country Club. With the aid of a ruling Hutchison won his semifinal match one-up against Leo Fraser. It appeared that Fraser had won the 16th hole with a par five to make Hutchison dormie, but Hutchison had seen Fraser’s caddy use a rake to remove leaves from the line of his putt. There was a delay of more than an hour in which time the PGA called the USGA. Fraser was penalized and the penalty was loss of the hole so instead of winning the hole he lost it. The match was now even and Hutchison proceeded to win the 17th hole and eliminate Fraser. Zarhardt eliminated a former champion Gene Kunes in his semifinal match but it took three extra holes. Kunes was now managing the Norristown Driving Range. About 300 spectators came out to see the 36-hole final match on Sunday.
The Section’s annual meeting was held at the Llanerch Country Club on the second Monday of October, which was the evening after the Section Championship qualifying rounds. There were 55 members in attendance. The most important subject discussed was price-cutting among the so-called outlaw pros and cut-rate stores. A plan to combat this sort of thing would be decided upon in the immediate future. Along with this a definite program was put into effect by Marty Lyons chairman of the tournament committee, whereby clubs would be asked to submit bids for their championship events in 1939. Ed Dudley was opposed in the election for president again by Clarence Hackney. For a fifth consecutive year Dudley was elected Section president. He won more easily this year, as the vote was 36 to 12. Lyons was the first vice president and Hackney was the second vice president. Walter Brickley was reelected to the dual office of secretary-treasurer. Dudley was still one of the vice presidents of the PGA of America and the tournament chairman and as well. The U.S. Open was coming back to the Section the next year at the Philadelphia Country Club’s Spring Mill Course. Dudley mentioned that the Country Club would need about fifteen pros to assist in marshaling the gallery during the National Open in June.
On the last weekend in October Pine Valley Golf Club held its second annual professional-amateur tournament. The members contributed $2,300 this year and 13 professionals were invited. The Section members in the field were Ed Dudley, Leo Diegel, and Pine Valley’s Ted Turner. In the second round Craig Wood shot a one-under-par 69 to set a new course record and went on to complete the two-day event with a 286 total. Wood, the only player to break 300, won by 14 strokes. First prize was $500 and he received another $250 for establishing a new course record. Second prize was $200.
The PGA’s annual meeting was held at the Morrison Hotel in Chicago the third week of November. President George R. Jacobus was reelected. Secretary Tom Walsh and Treasurer Jack B. Mackie were also reelected. Ed Dudley was elected to a third one-year term as a vice president at large. The other vice presidents elected were Thomas Boyd, Captain Charles Clarke, Ray Hall, Dewey Longworth, Willie Maguire, George Norrie and Frank T. Sprogell. The delegates decided that all past PGA champions would be exempt from local qualifying for the PGA Championship. The former champions could attempt to qualify locally. If they failed to qualify locally they would be permitted to play in the tournament but they would have to pay their own travel expenses. The exemption of the past champions would not affect the allotment of qualifying places to the various Sections. The head professional of the course holding the championship was also exempted from local qualifying. At the suggestion of Ed Dudley it was decided that one full day of the next national meeting would be devoted to teaching and promotion of the game. This would include looking at motion pictures of the leading players and discussing instruction. Fred Corcoran was retained for another year as the tournament bureau manager. Corcoran and the tournament committee reported that when the current PGA Tour schedule closed at the end of December the professionals would have competed for $182,500 in purses that year. This was an increase of $19,500 over the previous year. It was decided that the PGA Senior’s Championship that was held as an experiment the year before would be an annual event. There were now 1,739 PGA members. The Philadelphia Section’s delegates to the meeting were Marty Lyons and Clarence Hackney.
At the same time as the national meeting Henry Picard and his assistant Jack Grout, were tying for the top spot in North Carolina for the Mid-South Professional 4-Ball tournament. They tied two veteran Scottish professionals, Tommy Armour and Bobby Cruickshank, on the Pinehurst #2 Course with 132s. The Picard-Grout team scored 67-75 and the Armour-Cruickshank team had a pair of 66s. The two winning teams divided $700 four ways. Felix Serafin and Terl Johnson tied for third with Jack Patroni and Jim Turnesa at 133. They each won $70. Sam Byrd and Dutch Harrison (134) finished fifth and won last money of $50 apiece.
In early December the senior pros were back at the Augusta National Golf Club for the second Senior PGA Championship. Again Frank Coltart (159) and Jack Campbell (160) led the way for the Philadelphia Section members, finishing sixth and eighth. Playing in inclement weather Fred McLeod and Otto Hackbarth tied with 154s as one round was washed out and the tournament was reduced to 36-holes. McLeod shot a 75-79 for 154 and Hackbarth was around in 80-74. McLeod won an 18-hole playoff with an 80 against an 82 for Hackbarth. Frank Belwood finished third at 157. Jock Hutchison and Dave Ogilvie tied for fourth with 158s. The total purse was $2,000.
Henry Picard just missed winning the $10,000 Miami Open in the third week of December. Jug McSpaden edged out Picard (276) by one stroke with a 72-hole score of 275. McSpaden’s rounds on the Miami Country Club’s course were 66, 69, 71 and 69. McSpaden won $2,500 and Picard won $1,250. The second place check moved Picard into third place on the money list for the year with $8,050. With one tournament left to play Sam Snead topped the list with $19,439. Johnny Revolta (279) finished third one stroke in front of Denny Shute (280) and Ben Hogan (280). A total of eight Philadelphia Section pros made the cut. Jimmy Thomson (282) and Sam Byrd (285) were in the top twelve and the money.
The last tournament of the year was the Houston Open that ended on December 31. Jug McSpaden won for a second week in a row with a score of 214 for the 54 holes. Sam Snead needed to win the $700 first prize to top $20,000 for the year but he finished tied for tenth and won $95. Snead still set a record for one year with his total winnings of $19,534.49. Harry Cooper had been the money leader the year before with $14,300. Snead also won the Vardon Trophy with 520 points. Johnny Revolta ended up in second place on the money list with $9,553.33, less than one-half of what Snead won, and Henry Picard was third with $8,050.34. Byron Nelson finished in tenth place on the money list with $5,455.16. Jimmy Thomson was eleventh with $5,100.
Back to Top
The USGA announced that they were working with the manufacturers to stabilize the golf ball at its present length. They said that there were no plans to make any change in the ball but some kind of safeguard was needed to prevent somebody from bringing out a ball that would go 25 or 50 yards farther than the present one.
Byron Nelson set a new tournament record at the $3,000 Phoenix Open in early February. There were 78 entries. Playing in forty-degree weather and an all day rain Nelson had a 68 the first day. The second day he shot a pair of 65s and finished with a 15-under-par 198. Nelson won the $700 first place check by twelve strokes as Ben Hogan finished second at 210. Dutch Harrison was next at 211 and Harry Bassler (212) ended up in the fourth spot. Nelson’s 130 was a new 36-hole record for the PGA Tour bettering by one stroke the previous record held jointly by Jimmy Thomson and Horton Smith. His 198 was also a PGA Tour record for 54-holes.
Henry Picard won the Crescent City Open at New Orleans in the third week of February. The purse was $10,000 and there were 90 starters. His 72, 69, 68 and 75 over the City Park Golf Club gave him a 284 for a five stroke win over Dick Metz (289) and a $2,000 check. Jimmy Thomson (290) and Jug McSpaden (290) tied for third one stroke in front of Byron Nelson (291) and Chandler Harper (291) who tied for fifth.
The next week in February Henry Picard won again at the $3,000 Thomasville Open. His 54-hole 211 score over the Glen Arven Country Club course brought him home one ahead of Johnny Bulla (212). First prize was $700. Sam Snead (213) finished one stroke further back with a final round 67. Byron Nelson ended up in a six-way tie for fourth at 215 with Dutch Harrison, Ky Laffoon, Herman Barron, Horton Smith and Leo Wapler.
Byron Nelson won the North and South Open on Pinehurst Country Club’s #2 Course in late March. Nelson was the only contestant to break par in every round as he put together rounds of 71, 66, 70 and 71 for an eight-under-par 280. Horton Smith (282) was in second place two strokes back while Sam Snead and Dick Metz tied for third with 286s. Henry Picard tied Harry Cooper and Craig Wood for fifth place at 287. There were ten members of the Philadelphia Section in the starting field.
Ralph Guldahl shot a 33 on the last nine to win the Masters Tournament in early April. This was his sixth major victory to go along with two U.S. Opens and three Western Opens. Guldahl’s four rounds were 72, 68, 70 and 69 for 279. 8,000 spectators saw Sam Snead shoot a last round 68 for a total of 280 that missed tying Guldahl by one stroke. Billy Burke and Lawson Little tied for third with 282s. Byron Nelson (287) finished seventh, Henry Picard (289) was eighth, and Ed Dudley (291) tied for tenth. Felix Serafin (295) and Jimmy Thomson (296) were in the top 20 but out of the money. It took a score of 293 to finish in the money Serafin tied for 16th and Thomson tied for 18th. First prize was $1,500.
One week after the Masters Tournament Byron Nelson was in Toledo, Ohio interviewing for the head professional position at the Inverness Club, which was looking for someone to start in 1940. Cloyd Haas, the president of the Haas Jordan Umbrella Company, had called PGA of America president George Jacobus for a recommendation. Jacobus had recommended Nelson and Ben Hogan. Nelson was hired. His salary was going to be $3,600 and the club would pay one assistant and the caddymaster. Nelson would receive the profit from the golf shop. For 1939 at Reading Country Club Nelson had a $5,000 guaranteed income for the year. The Inverness Club had twice as many members as Reading,
At the conclusion of the Winter Tour in early April the leading money winners were Dick Metz with $5,586, Byron Nelson $4,632, and Henry Picard $4,497. Jimmy Thomson was in ninth place with $2,746.
The Section’s spring meeting was at the Riverton Country Club on the third Monday in April. The topic of discussion was that the Section’s officers had designated the second week of May as “PGA Golf Week”. A committee of pros from different parts of the Section was formed to promote the week. Baederwood Golf Club professional. Jimmy D’Angelo was appointed chairman and every possible idea to publicize the week was put into action.
In late April Walter Hagen, Ed Dudley, Leo Diegel, and Olin Dutra along with George Jacobus, the president of the PGA, were named as members of a committee to select the Ryder Cup team. The matches were to be played at the Ponte Vedra Country Club in Florida in September. A.B. “Al” Nelson, who had been secretary-treasurer of the Philadelphia Section in 1933 and 1934, was now the professional there.
Leading up to the ”PGA Golf Week”, KYW radio interviewed a golf professional on the air one night each week. Ed Dudley started the series of interviews and was followed by Ted Turner, Leo Diegel and Jimmy D’Angelo. Dudley was also interviewed several times over radio station WIP. They used radio and newspapers, along with demonstrations at theaters and driving ranges. Dudley, Diegel and D’Angelo visited a Philadelphia Rotary Club luncheon held at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel that was attended by 350 Rotarians. They demonstrated the golf swing on stage and then drove Ping-Pong balls into the audience and any man receiving a ball was entitled to a free golf lesson. The same idea was used in the theaters. Over three hundred free golf lessons were donated to the public. A golf clinic was held on Monday evening at George Low, Sr.’s driving range. A gallery of approximately 1,000 people watched Jimmy Thomson, Leo Diegel, Bud Lewis, George Fazio, Morrie Talman and George Low, Jr. demonstrate golf shots. On Thursday the Beverly Hills Golf Club hosted an exhibition put on by Dudley, Diegel, Byron Nelson and the host professional Ted Bickel, Jr. In the Reading area the week was started with a golf rally at the City Hall auditorium. Nelson gave a demonstration of shots and a talk on golf to an audience of nearly 1000 people. The week was climaxed with an exhibition at the Reading Country Club featuring Harry Markel, Gene Kunes, Diegel, and Nelson, the host pro. In New Jersey Bruce Coltart, Walter Brickley, Dick Renaghan and Leo Fraser held demonstrations at golf courses and driving ranges. Iron Rock Golf Club professional John Hayes, Cooper River Golf Club professional Charlie Arena, Spring Hill Country Club professional Tony Midiri, Merchantville Country Club professional Henry Wetzel, and Burlington Country Club professional Cas Banas had special days at their courses to promote the PGA and golf. Al MacDonald, now the professional at the Langhorne Country Club put on a one-man show in his area appearing at three theaters, making two trips across the river to New Jersey and going on the radio several times. Probably the biggest piece of publicity obtained for the PGA Golf Week was a huge sign in electric lights on City Hall in Philadelphia announcing “PGA GOLF WEEK—MAY 7 TO 14”.
Qualifying for the U.S. Open was held at 32 sites. The entry fee was $5. The largest number in the country, 146 players including Walter Hagen, was entered in Philadelphia on the fourth Monday in of the month. The number of places to qualify for was based on the quantity and the quality of the players entered at each location. Philadelphia was allotted the most with 19. The Overbrook Golf Club located in Wynnewood and St. Davids Golf Club in Wayne hosted the qualifying rounds on the fourth Monday of May. That was the first time that two courses were needed in Philadelphia for the qualifying rounds. Ted Turner led the scoring with a one over par 72 in the morning at St. Davids and a two under par 69 at Overbrook in the afternoon for 141. The Philadelphia Section pros secured 14 of the 19 places. Felix Serafin and Sam Byrd were tied for second with amateur Ray Silverstein with 144s. They finished one stroke in front of George Fazio (145), Bruce Coltart (145) and Lawson Little. Also safely qualifying were Gene Kunes (148), Terl Johnson (149), Clarence Ehresman (150), Clarence Doser (151) and Tom O’Connor (151), the professional at the Yardley Country Club. Matt Kowal, Charles Schneider, Ralph Hutchison and Leo Fraser all posted 152s and prevailed in an eight-man playoff for the last four spots that ended in the dark. Local amateurs and Lawson Little took the other five places. Late in the afternoon a storm that brought thunder and lightning hit St. Davids. Dick Allman, an amateur from Philmont Country Club, was struck on the 16th hole and Max Cross, the professional at the McCall Field Golf Club, was struck on the 18th hole. Both were knocked to the ground. Allman finished the round par-bogie-birdie to qualify at 149. Cross was carried into the clubhouse unaware that he had hit his shot onto the green. He was revived and he returned to the green where he three-putted from eight feet for a six. This put him at 153 and made him miss the playoff of the 152s for the last four spots. Hagen failed to make it along with Joe Kirkwood, Sr. and Leo Diegel, who lost out in the playoff. Ed Dudley was exempt from qualifying as the host professional and Henry Picard and Byron Nelson were exempt for having finished in the top 30 in the Open in 1938.
Ed Oliver also qualified for the U.S. Open on the fourth Monday of May. Oliver led the qualifying at the Park Country Club of Buffalo with a 75 and a 69 for 144. There were three spots in Buffalo.
Later that week in May Henry Picard (283) won his second Met Open at the Metropolis Country Club in New York. Picard birdied the last hole to create a three-way tie for the title at the end of 72 holes with Paul Runyan (283), the host pro, and Vic Ghezzi (283). The next day Picard birdied the last hole for a score of 70 that eliminated Ghezzi (77) and tied Runyan (70), so a second playoff was needed. On the fifth day Picard shot a two-under par 69 in his sixth round of the tournament to beat out Runyan (71) for the title. Picard’s tournament rounds were 71, 71, 69 and 72 for a total of 283. Jimmy Thomson and Craig Wood tied for fourth with 285s. First prize was $750.
In the second week of June the U.S. Open was back in the Philadelphia Section. The venue was the Philadelphia Country Club’s Spring Mill Course. On Wednesday evening before the tournament an exhibition was held at the Main Line Driving Range, which was leased by George Izett, who had a custom golf club business on Haverford Road in Ardmore. The driving range was on the corner of Haverford Road and Argyle Avenue. Ralph Guldahl, the US Open two time defending champion, was the top draw along with several other professionals. 5,000 spectators attended.
The Philadelphia Country Club, host of the US Open, had been designed by William Flynn in 1927. Now it had been revamped by Flynn adding nearly 300 yards to make the course 6,786 yards. Ed Dudley and his two assistants, George B. Smith and Sam Byrd had spent many days on the course the previous year with Flynn making suggestions for the changes. More than 20 new bunkers had been added and many more were enlarged to tighten the approaches to the greens. Par for the course was now 71 instead of 70, but when the tournament was played not all of the back tees were used. Par for the Open course was 69 as the par five #8 and #12 holes were played from the forward tees as par fours. Due to problems encountered during one of the qualifying rounds just three weeks before at St. Davids Golf Club, a fire siren from a fire truck was installed near the clubhouse to halt play for thunderstorms. The year before the USGA had used the banging of a hammer against a tire rim to stop play. Some of the contestants were returning home like Houston’s Jack Burke, Sr. He had started his golf career as a caddy at the Philadelphia Country Club’s Bala course and had been an assistant pro there in 1908. Three other contestants, Clarence Ehresman now the professional at the Ashbourne Country Club, Bruce Coltart and Ralph Hutchison had also worked there as assistant pros. Eleven Section pros made the cut that was set at the low 60 and ties. On Saturday nearly 10,000 people showed up to see the final 36 holes of the tournament. This number was estimated from a count of 5,000 cars in the parking areas. Amateur Bud Ward had as good a chance to win as anyone but he bogeyed the short par-three eleventh hole in all four of his rounds. He finished fourth at 285, one shot out of a playoff. Sam Snead (286), who would be a member of the Section next year, made a bogie on the 71st hole and a triple bogey eight on the 72nd hole to miss a playoff for the title by two strokes. Snead finished fifth. Byron Nelson, Denny Shute and Craig Wood ended up in a three-way tie with eight over par 284 totals, which necessitated an 18-hole playoff on Sunday. The “Blue Laws” were still a part of Philadelphia so sporting events could not be held until one hour after church services had concluded. The three players were asked, in case of a tie after 18 holes would they like to have a sudden death playoff or play another 18 holes. They decided that they would like to play a second eighteen. The playoff began at two o’clock. Shute fell behind on the front nine while the battle went back and forth between Nelson and Wood. On the 17th hole Wood took a one-stroke lead when he holed a 18-foot putt for a birdie and Nelson three-putted. Shute was out of contention and he would finish with a 76. With two great tee-shots Nelson and Wood were in position to reach the par-five 18th hole in two. Nelson played first and his brassie (two-wood) shot ended up three-feet short of the green. Wood hit a 4-wood and hooked it toward the gallery hitting a spectator in the head. The ball wound up in the fairway just short of the green. The spectator was Bob Mossman, operator of George Izett’s Main Line Driving Range in near Ardmore. Mossman was unconscious and an ambulance took him to the Bryn Mawr Hospital. From there Wood pitched his ball eight-feet past the cup. Nelson then chipped ten-feet beyond the cup and proceeded to hole his putt for a birdie. Wood’s putt was weak and died to the left. Nelson and Wood were still tied after posting 68s. After they had finished Wood visited Mossman at the hospital. A second 18-hole playoff was held at 9:30 a.m. on the next day. In that round Nelson holed a 1-iron on the fourth hole for an eagle two. That gave him an almost insurmountable lead of four strokes. Nelson went on to win by three, shooting a 70 against a 73 for Wood. Wood was now 0 for 4 in playoffs for majors as he had also lost the British Open and Masters Tournament in playoffs along with losing the PGA Championship final on the second extra hole. Nelson, the professional at the Reading Country Club and a Section member, had another major championship win and a check for $1,000. Nelson’s tournament rounds were 72, 73, 71 and 68. During the six tournament rounds Nelson’s second shots from a 1-iron to an 8-iron, struck the flagstick six times and two went in for eagles. In the third round Nelson had holed out an 8-iron for a 2 on the third hole. Nelson was the first winner of the U.S. Open who didn’t wear a tie. On the final day he wore an open neck short sleeve shirt. Dudley (290) made a very creditable showing finishing in a tie for 12th with Henry Picard (290) winning $108.33. Byrd (292) finished tied for 16th, winning $66.67. Matt Kowal finished 25th at 295. Felix Serafin and Ed Oliver tied for 29th and also finished in the money with 296 totals. Kowal, Serafin and Oliver each won $50. Making the 36-hole cut but out of the money were Terl Johnson (299), Gene Kunes (300), now back in the Section at a driving range in Norristown, Bruce Coltart (302), and Ted Turner (305). Tom O’Connor made the cut by three strokes with a 149 score but was disqualified on Saturday. He missed his starting time due to a tire blowing out on his way to the club and he had no way of notifying the officials. Clarence Doser, Charlie Schneider, Leo Fraser, Clarence Ehresman, George Fazio and Ralph Hutchison missed the cut. Nelson paid his caddy $130 and gave him a set of irons. A season ticket to the tournament was $6.60. If one paid by the day, the practice rounds and playoff days would come to $17.60. The total purse was $5.000.
When Denny Shute lost out in the playoff for the U.S. Open the PGA of America announced that he was out of the PGA Championship. Even though as a member of the Ryder Cup team he was exempt from qualifying Shute was not eligible because he had been two days late paying his PGA dues of $35. The PGA said that if he had won the U.S. Open he would have been in as there was always a place reserved in the PGA Championship for the national open winner.
The same day Byron Nelson was winning the U.S. Open the Philadelphia Section pros were qualifying for the PGA Championship at the Lancaster Country Club. Byron Nelson, Ed Dudley, Leo Diegel and Henry Picard were exempt from qualifying. 1,319 PGA members were eligible to enter the qualifying rounds for 102 places in the championship. The Philadelphia Section had 31 entries. The PGA announced that no alternates or substitutes would be permitted to play in the championship. That was because there was a rumor that in the past players had sold their spots in the tournament to alternates. Jimmy Thomson led the qualifying for the seven places allotted to the Section with a morning 68 and an afternoon 73 for a three-under-par 141. Felix Serafin and Clarence Doser were tied for second with 142s. Gene Kunes was next at 144. Bruce Coltart and Charlie Schneider tied with 147 and made it safely. Ted Turner, Tom O’Connor and Matt Kowal tied for the last spot at 148. After having played 36-holes that day the three pros were sent out for an 18-hole playoff the same day even though Turner and Kowal had just finished playing in the U.S. Open with 36 holes on Saturday. Turner earned the last spot shooting a 72 in the playoff against a 73 for O’Connor and a 75 for Kowal. Even though O’Connor lost the playoff and the PGA had stated that no alternates would be accepted he went to the PGA. He replaced Kunes who seemed to be ill more often than he was well.
The next week in June fourteen of the top professionals were in Toledo, Ohio for the $5,200 Inverness Four-Ball. Again Henry Picard and Johnny Revolta were a very difficult team to beat. They had won the tournament in 1935 and this year they won again. To achieve victory this time they had to win a three-way playoff. At the end of the 126 holes of regulation they were tied at plus 6 with the teams of Byron Nelson–Jug McSpaden and Sam Snead-Vic Ghezzi. Revolta birdied the first extra hole for the win and the $1,050 team prize. The two second-place teams each won $850. Ed Dudley was also a member of one of the eight teams.
In the fourth week of June the PGA Tour arrived at the Country Club of Scranton for the $5,000 Anthracite Open. Henry Picard shot a 65 the first round for a four-stroke lead and led all the way to the finish with rounds of 69, 71 and 68. His seven under par total of 273 earned $1,200 as he beat the second place finisher Sam Snead (279) by six strokes. Terl Johnson tied for third with Jimmy Hines and Ray Mangrum at 280. Ed Dudley finished sixth with a 281. Other Section members in the top twenty and the money were Ed Oliver (284), Sam Byrd (285), Jimmy Thomson (288), Gene Kunes (289), Byron Nelson (291) and Ted Turner (291).
The next day in June after the Anthracite Open ended, which was the last Monday in June, the Pennsylvania Open was played at the Llanerch Country Club. Oakmont Country Club’s Ray Mangrum eked out a one-stroke victory to take the $250 first prize in what was now a one-day 36-hole championship. He kept the title that his brother Lloyd had won the year before with a 72 and a 67 for a five-under-par 139. This made him the third person to win the title twice. Lloyd could not defend his title because the Pennsylvania State Golf Association had restricted the tournament to players who were affiliated with Pennsylvania clubs or lived in Pennsylvania. Charlie Schneider, Matt Kowal, and Jimmy Thomson tied for second at 140. Clarence Doser (141) finished fifth and the two other two-time winners Ed Dudley and Felix Serafin tied for sixth with 142s.
At the same time the Pennsylvania Open was being played Byron Nelson was winning the Massachusetts Open at the Worchester Country Club. Nelson was there only because his friend Jug McSpaden, who working in Massachusetts had encouraged him to enter. First prize was $400. Nelson had a two-day 72-hole score of 283 and won by five strokes over Lloyd Mangrum (288). Nelson opened with a 70 and then posted three straight 71s. Horton Smith (289), Tony Manero (290) and Jug McSpaden (291) finished third, fourth and fifth. McSpaden had won the last three Massachusetts Opens.
The British Open was played in the first week of July at the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, St. Andrews, Scotland. Dick Burton (290) won with rounds of 70, 72, 77 and 71. Johnny Bulla finished second at 292. Sam King, Alf Perry, Bill Shankland, Reg Whitcombe and Johnny Fallon tied for third at 294.
In the second week of July the PGA Championship was held at Pomonok Country Club on Long Island. That site was chosen because it was just one mile from where the Worlds Fair was being held. The first sit-down strike in championship golf took place when fifty or more of the leading players refused to tee off unless Denny Shute was allowed to play Shute had been banned because he had been 48 hours late paying his $35 dues. There were meetings involving PGA officers, club officials, players and lawyers. Corky O’Keefe, who had put up $15,000, and the club officials were ready to call the tournament off. 51 of the players that were entered signed a petition stating that they would not play if Shute wasn’t in the field. When the first day of qualifying arrived many of the players weren’t ready to tee off. Some were on strike and some were in PGA executive meetings. George Jacobus decided to take matters into his own hands. He overruled his executive committee and gave Shute a place in the field. The secretary of the PGA Tom Walsh stated that Shute was ineligible and the championship was illegal. Ninety minutes after the scheduled start the tournament went off with the players being told that Shute was in the field, no matter what they heard otherwise. When Shute teed off he was not given a scorecard but his playing partner Walter Hagen sent someone back to the clubhouse for a scorecard, which they used to record Shute’s score. When Shute reached the 10th tee the PGA offered him $300 to withdraw from the tournament but he refused. Shute posted a 143 for the two days and qualified with ease. Nine Section members qualified for the match play. Ben Hogan, Dutch Harrison, Ky Laffoon and Emerick Kocsis led the qualifying with six under par 138s. Henry Picard and Charlie Schneider qualified with 140s and Bruce Coltart was in with a 142. Byron Nelson (143), Tom O’Connor (143), Jimmy Thomson (144), Leo Diegel (145) and Clarence Doser (145) also qualified with ease. As usual a playoff was needed for the last places in the 64-man match play field. One of the ones who survived the playoff was Felix Serafin (148) and one of those who lost in the playoff was Ed Dudley (148), a member of the PGA executive committee, who had been in favor of Shute being eligible. Ted Turner also failed to survive the qualifying. Shute lost in the third round and that seemed to end the controversy. The first two rounds were 18-holes and the remaining rounds were 36-holes. Coltart, O’Connor and Doser each won two matches and Diegel won one. Coltart beat Buddy Peteet 4&3 and Mike Turnesa in 21 holes before losing to Harrison 10&9. O’Connor eliminated Al Morley 7&5 and Laffoon two-down before losing to Rod Munday two-down. Doser put out Rut Coffey 3&1 and Ralph Guldahl two-down before losing to Horton Smith 4&2. Diegel beat Willie Goggin 2&1 and then he lost to Shute 3&1. Schneider, Serafin and Thomson lost in the first round. Schneider lost to Johnny Farrell one-down, Serafin lost to Munday in 21 holes and Thomson was beaten two-down by Herman Barron. The finals turned out to be a Philadelphia Section match for the title. Picard picked up his second major title in two years by defeating Nelson one-down on the 37th hole. On the 36th hole one of the motion picture trucks ran over Picard’s ball. Picard was given a free drop by PGA president George Jacobus, who was referring the match. Picard proceeded to birdie the hole, which tied up the match and he birdied the next hole for the win. On the way to the finals Picard defeated Earl Martin 6&4, Joe Zarhardt two-down, Al Watrous 8&7, Munday 2&1 and Dick Metz one-down. Nelson eliminated Chuck Garringer 4&2, William “Red” Francis 2&1, Johnny Revolta 6&4, Kocsis 10&9 and Harrison 9&8. Nelson was 28 under par for the 156 holes he played in the five rounds leading up to the finals. The purse was $10,600 and first prize was $1,100. Everyone was guaranteed money for travel whether they qualified or not, which brought the total payout to $15,000.
Two days after the PGA Championship ended in July the Philadelphia Open was played at the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Flourtown Course. Sam Byrd won with 76, 70, 71 and 67 for an even-par 284 for the two days and picked up $250. The 67, which was capped off with a birdie three on the last hole, was a course record and the 284 tied the tournament record. Ted Turner and Matt Kowal finished just one stroke back with 285 totals. Gene Kunes (288), Terl Johnson (289) and Leo Diegel (292) ended up 4th, 5th, and 6th. There were seven money spots and the purse added up to $585.
That next weekend in July Byron Nelson won the Western Open in Chicago at Medinah Country Club’s #1 and #3 courses. In the first round one half of the field played on each course and the second day they switched places. The last two rounds were played on the #3 course. This was Nelson’s fourth victory of the year on the PGA Tour. His rounds were 68, 72, 70 and 71 for a total of 281. One stroke back in second place was Lloyd Mangrum (282) and Henry Picard (284) finished third. Dick Metz was next at 285. The entry fee was $5 and there were 349 entries. First prize was $750. Nelson also received a $500 bonus from his equipment company, MacGregor.
Byron Nelson won the Central Pennsylvania Open on the first Monday in August at the Reading Country Club. This was his second victory in this tournament on his home course in three years. He scored 68-69=137, a tournament record, to win by three strokes over Sam Byrd (140). The entry fee was $5 and first prize was $100. Ed Oliver did not defend his title as he was working in western New York that summer. Charlie Schneider and Matt Kowal tied for third with 143s. Lancaster amateur Harry Haverstick finished fifth at 144. Frank Moore (145) and George Fazio (145) tied for sixth. Moore, who had won the Westchester Open the previous two years, was now Nelson’s assistant at Reading.
In late August Ed Dudley and Billy Burke won the Walter Hagen Anniversary tournament in Chicago. This commemorated Hagen’s first U.S. Open victory on the same course, Midlothian Country Club. Against a field of seven two-man teams of nationally known professionals, they won easily. The tournament was based on the most plus holes a team won. In the four-day 126-hole event they were 50 under par. The final standings showed Dudley and Burke at plus 19, 13 ahead of Ralph Guldahl and Jug McSpaden. Byron Nelson and Dick Metz were third at plus four. Henry Picard and Jimmy Thomson were also in the sixteen-man field. Dudley and Burke won $575 apiece.
The Hershey Open was played four days later and ended on September 3. Felix Serafin won his biggest tournament putting together four rounds of 68, 73, 72 and 71 for an eight-under-par 284 on what was later called Hershey Country Club’s West Course. Serafin had lost a playoff for the title there in 1935 but this time he won by two strokes over Ben Hogan (286) and Jimmy Hines (286) who were both members of the Metropolitan Section. Serafin won $1,250 and the two pros in second place earned $650 each. The entry fee was $5. Byron Nelson was fourth at 287. On the 70th hole Nelson’s tee shot was just off the fairway but the ball could not be found so he had to take a penalty and replay from the tee which cost him two strokes. This ended his chances of winning and cost him second money for sure. Sam Snead and Ralph Guldahl tied for fifth with 288s, one stroke ahead of Ed Dudley and Vic Ghezzi who tied for seventh at 289. Jimmy Thomson tied for 9th at 292 and Ed Oliver tied for 15th with a 296. There were 15 money places and for the first time at Hershey Henry Picard, the host pro, was out of the money.
Two weeks after the Hershey Open Byron Nelson received an anonymous letter from New York with a money order for $300. A note in the envelope said that a lady in their party at the Hershey Open had picked up Nelson’s golf ball as a souvenir. The person who sent the letter said he didn’t realize it until the tournament was over. The money enclosed was the difference between the $750 second place prize and the $450 that Nelson won.
On September 5, British Ryder Cup captain Henry Cotton wired PGA Tour tournament chairman Ed Dudley, that due to war in Europe the British PGA would not be sending a team to the states. The matches were to have been played at the Ponte Vedra Golf Club, which was south of Jacksonville, Florida. The professional at Ponte Vedra was A.B. “Al” Nelson, the former secretary-treasurer of the Philadelphia Section PGA. It was Al Nelson who was responsible for the Ryder Cup having been scheduled for Ponte Vedra. Nelson had played in PGA Championships and US Opens along with attending the PGA national meeting nearly every year since 1932. Thru that he knew everyone in professional golf.
Ed Dudley won the Wood Memorial tournament on the second Monday of September with a record breaking 64, at the par 70 Jeffersonville Golf Club. For the round Dudley had nothing more than a four on any hole. Even though he set a record, the win didn’t come easy. Finishing in semi-darkness, host professional Bud Lewis had a twenty foot putt for a birdie and a 63 on the par three 18th hole, to win. He putted four feet past the hole and missed coming back, finishing with a 65. Former Jeffersonville Golf Club head professional Gene Kunes posted a 67 for third place. Harry Markel was fourth with a 70. There were 62 golf professionals and 185 amateurs in the starting field that day. First prize was $60 from a purse of $210.
In the third week of September Llanerch Country Club and Marty Lyons hosted the Section Championship for a fourth consecutive year. The entry fee was $5. The medalist in the qualifying was U.S. Open titleholder Byron Nelson with a 36-hole seven-under-par (68-69) 137. This score was a record for a 36-hole Section Championship qualifier. As the low qualifier Nelson, who couldn’t stay on for the match play portion of the championship due to a scheduled exhibition near Boston, received $100 and his name was engraved on the Public Ledger Cup. The defending champion, Joe Zarhardt, could not defend his title, as he was no longer a member of the Philadelphia Section. The low 32 qualified and the 159 scorers got in just under the wire without a playoff. Charlie Schneider won the championship after 36-holes of qualifying, four 18-hole matches and a 36-hole final. Schneider defeated John Beadle in the final match by the count of 6&5. A gallery estimated at 1,000 witnessed the Sunday final. Schneider received $300 for his victory. In the semifinals Schneider put out Bruce Coltart one-down and Beadle eliminated Tom O’Connor one-down.
The pro-lady championship, played in early October at the Old York Road Country Club in Jenkintown, started on Tuesday with qualifying and continued with the first round of match play that same afternoon. The quarter-finals and semi-finals were on Wednesday and the 18-hole final on Sunday. The format for the tournament was selective drive and alternate shot. The stars turned out for this event. Joe Kirkwood, Sr., now the professional at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club, and his partner were the low qualifiers. In the first round the Kirkwood team went up against Byron Nelson and his partner in a match that ended all square. As the players walked to the first tee again for the sudden-death playoff it was getting quite dark. One of the spectators commented that the winner would be forced to play a trick shot and there is only one in the foursome capable of doing it. Kirkwood then hit what they called “the shot in the dark” as he drove the first green 245 yards away. Nelson missed the green with his drive and the two ladies’ tee shots were well shot of the green. The Kirkwood team won with a par three. The best match of the tournament, which went 22 holes, was that next morning with the Kirkwood team defeating Clarence Doser, Merion Cricket Club assistant and his partner. That afternoon in the semi-finals the Kirkwood team won again while Ed Dudley and his partner Helen Sigel, who would later be the runner-up in the Women’s U.S. Amateur in 1941 and 1948, were winning as well. On Sunday the Kirkwood team lost in the final to the Dudley team 3&2. During the tournament the Dudley team never went past the 16th hole. Leo Diegel and his partner won the first flight.
On the second Monday in October a pro-green chairman tournament was held at Philmont Country Club with forty teams participating. Byron Nelson bid farewell to the Section by playing in this event. Also entered and making a rare appearance in a Section event was Henry Picard.
The Section’s last annual meeting of the decade was held at Raymond’s Restaurant in Philadelphia on the third Monday in October. Fifty-three members attended. Ed Dudley was elected president for a sixth year. Marty Lyons was reelected first vice president and Charlie Schneider was the new second vice president. Once again the membership decided to split the office of secretary and treasurer. Walter Brickley was just the treasurer now and Jimmy D’Angelo was elected secretary. D’Angelo announced that the Section membership now totaled 120, consisting of 94 Class “A”, 25 Class “D” and 1 Class “F”, which was a few less than the previous year. The secretary was instructed to write to those who were not in attendance to inform them that it was imperative and to their benefit to attend future meetings. Those present were asked to do their utmost to secure new members. Henry Picard attended his first Section meeting since becoming a member of the Section in 1935. He brought up some very important matters for discussion by the delegates to the national meeting. President Dudley appointed Picard to the Section’s Board of Governors that included nine other professionals.
The third annual Pine Valley Golf Club professional-amateur tournament was held on the first weekend in November. The members contributed $1,961 and 15 professionals were invited. Ed Dudley, Leo Diegel, Jimmy Thomson, Sam Byrd, Joe Kirkwood, Bruce Coltart and Pine Valley’s Ted Turner represented the Section. Dudley led the first round with a course record 68 and Thomson shot a 69 in the afternoon round. At the end of the first day Dudley led Coltart by one stroke with a 146 total. Due to heavy rain and low temperatures on Sunday the tournament was shortened to 54 holes. Only two players broke 80 and they had 79s. Vic Ghezzi shot one of the 79s, which gave him a 226 total. That allowed him to edge out Turner (228) by two strokes and Thomson (229) by three. Dudley posted an 85 and Coltart 91. Again first prize was $500 and second prize was $200.
The PGA of America’s annual meeting was held in mid November at Chicago’s Morrison Hotel. Ed Dudley ran for president but lost the election to Tom Walsh of the Illinois Section. Walsh as the secretary of the PGA had been the executive committee spokesman for ruling that Denny Shute was ineligible for the PGA Championship. Dudley, a tournament player and a member of the executive committee had supported Shute. This irritated some of the club pros. Walsh received 55 votes and Dudley received 22. George Jacobus, who had been president for seven years, had announced the week before that he was not running for an eighth term. Captain Charles Clarke was the new secretary and Willie Maguire was now the treasurer. The elected vice presidents were Howard Beckett, Charles Congdon, Alex Cunningham, Johnny Farrell, Ed Gibson, Wendell Kay, Joe Novak, Joel Smith and Frank T. Sprogell. Dudley was still the PGA tournament chairman and Leo Diegel was a member of his tournament committee. The tournament committee and Fred Corcoran reported that the PGA Tour had played for $174,000 that year and the thirty-eight tournaments had drawn 500,000 spectators. Diegel and Clarence Hackney were the Section’s delegates to the meeting.
Even though the matches had been canceled, a ten-man Ryder Cup team for 1939 was announced at the PGA national meeting. George Jacobus, now the past president of the PGA, PGA tournament chairman Ed Dudley, non-playing captain Walter Hagen, Leo Diegel and Olin Dutra were the selection committee. Two Section members, Byron Nelson and Henry Picard were on the team along with future Section members Sam Snead and Jug McSpaden.
The touring pros were in Florida in mid December for the Miami Open and the last tournament of the year. The competition for the year’s leading money winner and the Vardon Trophy were both very tight. Henry Picard, the winner of six tournaments that year, was in first place in both races.
Sam Snead shot a last round 64 to win the $2,500 first prize in the $10,000 Miami Open. Jug McSpaden finished second two strokes back. Byron Nelson was in fifth place. Gene Kunes, Ed Oliver and Dutch Harrison tied for sixth. Henry Picard tied for 14th.
Henry Picard won $600 at Miami in the third week of December and ended the year on the top of the money list with $10,303. Sam Snead almost caught Picard with his Miami Open victory ending up with $9,712, about one-half of what he won the year before. Byron Nelson was in fourth place with $9,444, Jimmy Thomson finished 11th with $4,175, Felix Serafin won $2,368 for 17th place and Ed Dudley was 18th with winnings of $2,337.
The Vardon Trophy competition was another story as Byron Nelson’s fifth place finish at Miami moved him into first place with 473 points. Henry Picard dropped down to second place with 461 points. Jimmy Thomson was 15th and Ed Dudley finished 18th. The top 20 players in each tournament were awarded points. The tournament winner received 45 points and the second place finisher earned 25 points each week. Points were awarded down to 20th place on a graduated basis.
There was no Senior PGA Championship that year as the tournament had been moved to Florida in hope for better weather. The next tournament was scheduled for January of 1940.
The Philadelphia Section had a very productive and successful decade in the 1930s. At the close of the decade there were twenty-eight and the Philadelphia Section was one of the largest in number of members. They had made their mark as club professionals promoting the game of golf and as players they were outstanding locally and nationally. The Section members could look back on the last ten years as a period of time when the Section had a number of professionals working in the Section with national playing reputations. During the decade Section members won the Masters, U.S. Open, PGA Championship, British Open, Western Open, Canadian Open, the North and South Open, the Vardon Trophy and led the PGA Tour in money winnings. Five Section members played on Ryder Cup teams while employed in the Section. Professionals from the Philadelphia Section also won a number of events on the PGA Tour and several state opens.