SI Vault
May 02, 1955
The friendly game of baseball, A faraway look at the Derby, New words for a new song, Mickey Walker and Gertie Stein, Trotters' delight, Presidential foursome
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May 02, 1955

Events & Discoveries

The friendly game of baseball, A faraway look at the Derby, New words for a new song, Mickey Walker and Gertie Stein, Trotters' delight, Presidential foursome

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As often happens when a middle-handicap golfer plays with the experts, Ike (handicap 18) was playing somewhat over his head and came home with an 84. Moreover, Ike was not the only hot man in the foursome. Middlecoff's 66 was one over his best round in the Masters, and Patton took himself a 70. With Middlecoff's eight birdies and Patton's five, the foursome (the fourth member was the club chairman Cliff Roberts) knocked off a best-ball of 62 and collected the $5 club pool for the day.

Ike himself was putting poorly, as he often does, and that cost him a mess of birdies. Nonetheless, he had eight pars and only two double bogeys, which any casual golfer of 64 summers is perfectly entitled to boast about.

Strictly speaking, Ike fudges a little on the Rules of Golf: he carries 16 clubs in his bag. Aside from the four regular woods, eight standard irons, a wedge and a putter, Ike takes along a five-wood (sometimes known among golfers as "grandpa's handy helper") and a 10-iron with which he is deadly on short chip shots. The reason for the five-wood is simply that Ike, like so many weekend golfers, has trouble with his long irons. He feels far more comfortable off the fairway with his woods, using anything from the two to the five.

During his round with Middlecoff, Ike played some beautiful long fairway shots. On the par four first, after a mediocre drive of about 180 yards, he hit the green with a spoon. On the 335-yard third his drive was better—out around 200—and then he hit a crisp five-iron 10 feet from the pin, missing his putt for a bird. On the next hole—a 220-yard par three—Ike stroked a humdinger of a five-wood off the tee and missed a 15-footer for his birdie. At the 190-yard sixth, he picked a three-iron and poked a tee shot 20 feet from the cup but again two-putted.

At 8, 11, 13 and 15—all except the 445-yard 11th are par fives—Ike played like the athlete he once was. A long two-wood off the fairway put him in good position for a 90-yard chip with that 10-iron at the 8th. With the help of a downhill roll, he was more than 250 yards off the 11th tee and hit the green with a two-iron, a real piece of golf. The 13th, which takes the measure of so many top pros during the Masters, was duck soup for the President. Playing short of the creek with a three-wood on his second, he put a full nine-iron only 15 feet from the cup. A long two-wood down the middle of the 505-yard 15th and a beautiful chip with his 10-iron left Ike an eight-footer for his bird. The Georgia air was blue for a few minutes after Ike missed it. But it was a round of golf that any player would be proud of, and some of the players in the Masters the previous week had worse rounds on that trying layout.


Big disaster,
So I heard;
Team exploded
In the third.
—Barney Hutchison

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