Marsh Mellows With a Hot Stick
Graham Marsh earned $1,128,578 last year, seventh-best on the Senior tour. Not bad for a guy whose middle name is Vivian. Still more impressive, the 54-year-old from Kalgoorlie, Australia, made nearly half that sum between June 12 and June 29 by placing third at the du Maurier, first at the Nationwide Championship and first at the U.S. Senior Open. "The early part of the year is tough for me. I'm always flying back and forth between the U.S. and Australia," says Marsh. The well-rested defending champ may be the man to beat this week, even in a field featuring Hale Irwin, Gil Morgan and Larry Nelson.
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Going for a Drive with Dad
Author Michael Arkush pays tribute to pro golfers and their fathers in Fairways and Dreams (Rutledge Hill Press, $18.95), which has hit bookstores just in time for Father's Day. The book includes interviews with Arnold Palmer, whose dad, Deacon, was the greenkeeper at Latrobe (Pa.) Country Club; Judy Rankin, who recalls hours of watching her father hit range balls at night while the family waited; and British wisecracker David Feherty, whose father, Billy, preached tolerance among Catholics and Protestants during Northern Ireland's explosive political troubles. "I wanted a cross section," says Arkush, whose previous work includes unauthorized biographies of Rush Limbaugh and Tim Allen and a tome on the USC- UCLA football wars. Arkush triangulated the father-child-golf relations in the lives of 25 players. The result is a sentimental journey inside the ropes of golfers' family ties.
Life Begins at 39
In 1968 Arnold Palmer didn't exactly ride like the cavalry into Sutton, Mass., for the inaugural Kemper Open. The 38-year-old Palmer had missed the cut at the Masters, finished 59th at the U.S. Open and been treated for a gimpy right hip. The leader of golf's biggest army was in such a funk that some pundits said he might retire. One birthday party and a week in Massachusetts later, however, such talk was history. After celebrating his 39th birthday on the eve of the tournament, Palmer thrilled a crowd of 39,300 by firing a final-round 67 to beat Bruce Crampton and Art Wall by four shots. The first Kemper Open champ snapped an eight-month winless streak with one of his patented finishes, making an eagle and five birdies on Sunday to charge from three strokes back. With the win he also became the first player to eclipse $1 million in career earnings.