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Classic Nelson
Curt Sampson
May 25, 1998
Fans and even Tour pros circle the old man's cart, jostling for a look at golf nobility. "Everybody thanks me for being here, even the players," an amused Byron Nelson said last week at the GTE Byron Nelson Classic. More than half a century after winning II straight tournaments—a feat more formidable than Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak—Nelson, 86, is spry enough to have recently signed an apparel contract with Nautica that has a 10-year option. "The clothing people think my name won't die when I do," says Nelson, who offered a few lively opinions before driving into the Texas sunset.
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May 25, 1998

Classic Nelson

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Fans and even Tour pros circle the old man's cart, jostling for a look at golf nobility. "Everybody thanks me for being here, even the players," an amused Byron Nelson said last week at the GTE Byron Nelson Classic. More than half a century after winning II straight tournaments—a feat more formidable than Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak—Nelson, 86, is spry enough to have recently signed an apparel contract with Nautica that has a 10-year option. "The clothing people think my name won't die when I do," says Nelson, who offered a few lively opinions before driving into the Texas sunset.

On the Woods-Zoeller feud: "I preside over the Masters champions' dinners, and there was no tension this year. Everyone, including Tiger and Fuzzy, was free and easy."

On today's game: "In my day, if you hit it hard, you couldn't hit it straight. That's why 1 had a three-quarter swing. Now, players like Woods, [John] Daly and [Davis] Love are taking advantage of lighter shafts, lengthening their swings and going full-out. The other big change is in agronomy. Verticut and aerating machines make the greens so good you can hit it at them hard, not play run-up shots like we did."

On the future: "Golf will keep growing, but not everyone will be able to afford it. As the Bible says, you will have poor people always."

With that, Lord Byron rode off, the gallery parting before him.

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