Palmer certainly felt the support that welled from his large galleries, but he did not respond with his customary flair.
"I could feel them moaning and groaning while I was moaning and groaning, but I just couldn't seem to concentrate," he said. "This happens sometimes and you are not sure why."
Thus in the end the U.S. hopes were left to Rodgers, whose 67-68-73-69 represented the best golf he had played in months. Tied for the lead or ahead throughout the first two days, he seemed ready to win his first big title when Charles came from five strokes back with a brilliant third-round 66 and the coolness to force the playoff.
"I really have to offer my condolences to Phil," said Charles at the presentation ceremony. "I think I just demoralized him with my putter. I hate to think how many putts I sank. It is a shame we can't be joint holders of the trophy." Demoralize is a fair word for what he did to Rodgers. So is slaughter.
"People are going to like Charles over here," said three-time British Open Champion Henry Cotton after it was all over. "He plays golf in the British manner. No clowning, no exuberant gestures, no exorbitant facial expressions. It is quite possible he may even make a hero of himself, like Hogan, just by the efficient way he plays."
To left-handers, at least, he has already made a hero of himself.