This is the problem now facing the PGA in the conduct of its championship. Even while offering a record $50,000-plus in total prize money this year, their tournament is merely another flower in a blossoming garden of $50,000 events. The Las Vegas Tournament of Champions with $10,000 for the winner, the Open with $12,000 and the Masters with $15,000 still offer more money, and all are played on more interesting and more difficult courses. What the PGA must do is develop a unique and legitimate way of determining its champion, and Ed Carter's five-day plan seems just a method of extending the present agony. However, the day of a match-play championship is definitely over, since the PGA stoutly insists that it lost money using that formula.
Whatever else this year's PGA may or may not have been, it could hardly have provided a more exciting contest, so filled with dramatic contrasts. No tournament in the history of major competition has ever equaled or even approached this one for the number of players crowded at and around the leading position after the first round. When 42-year-old Chuck Klein, a squat driving-range and par-3 golf course owner from San Antonio, stumped up the short hill to the 18th green in the late afternoon and then two-putted from the extreme back edge, no less than nine golfers had scored 1-under-par 69s to share first place. There were also nine players clustered one stroke off at 70, eight at 71, 15 at 72, 14 at 73. Only five strokes separated the leading 76 players. To carry this statistic a step further, a narrow blanket of only 10 strokes covered all but 27 of the bulky field of 174 starters.
This unprecedented grouping of scores told a great deal about the course. While not difficult in other respects its greens, hard and small, made it impossible to shoot runaway rounds in the middle or low 60s without playing exceptional golf. In their weekly circuit events the pros are accustomed to well-watered greens that are as soft as custard pudding. On these courses they can bang the ball straight for the cup, confident that it will sit where it hits.
The testing conditions made two of last week's rounds all the more remarkable. One was Jerry Barber's new course record of 65 on the second day. The other was Bob Rosburg's closing rush to victory.