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Home on the Range or the Greens
Mickey Herskowitz
April 13, 1964
George Archer is a rookie golfer who—for press purposes—likes to be called the Golfing Cowboy
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April 13, 1964

Home On The Range Or The Greens

George Archer is a rookie golfer who—for press purposes—likes to be called the Golfing Cowboy

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Gilroy, a lovely little town with gently rolling hills, is in the cattle-and-onion belt below San Francisco. Archer joined the local cowboy population at the invitation of Eugene Selvage, who owns the ranch and who now sponsors him on the tour. Selvage is one of San Francisco's foremost golf patrons, a former president and board chairman of the Lucky Lager Brewing Company and one of the founders of the Lucky International tournament.

A comic air

The job enabled Archer to support himself and his expectant young wife while he refined his golf game for a charge at the pros. "There's a nine-hole course right next to the ranch," he says, "just over the hill. I'd get through with my chores around 2 or 3 and go over and play it through twice. I finally got my score down to 63. It's a cute little course."

Archer has a high voice and a pleasant, detached manner. But at 24, he is still somewhat gawky and unschooled, with a slightly comic air about him.

He has several habits that others might consider strange. He carries planks around in the back of his '64 Catalina station wagon, to place under his mattress at night on the road. He simply cannot abide a soft bed. Sometimes he reinforces the boards with scrapbooks and photo albums.

To keep his strength up he guzzles two quarts of milk a day, has steak and beans every night of a tournament and is addicted to health foods. "His middle name is William," says his wife, Donna, "and my folks call him Wee Willie Wheat Germ. He doesn't drink or smoke—it's bad for his golf—and he's a great one for going to bed at 8 o'clock during a tournament."

Doc Giffin, the press chief for the PGA, cannot recall a better class of rookies than the current one, which includes Archer, Chuck Courtney, Dick Crawford, Charles Coody and Dudley Wysong. Archer, says Giffin, looks like the pick of the litter.

George finished in the money in four of his first seven tournaments. He placed fourth at San Diego and ran his money earnings up to $3,362. At that rate, he will be playing golf long after the cows come home.

Up to now only one serious flaw has been exposed in Archer's game, and it may be mostly mental. He tends to play raggedly when the wind blows hard, and he blames it on his beanpole frame. "I hook everything I hit," he says, "and when the weather is bad the wind gets me in trouble. Also, I can't putt as well. I seem to sway."

The wind blew at better than 20 mph in New Orleans, and Archer shot a 75-79 and failed to make the cut. Yet the wind was just as blustery at Tucson when George shot a first-round 68, and he laughed it off. Surprisingly, Archer's strength is his short game. You look at his height and expect him to murder the ball. Instead he displays a fine, delicate touch on the greens.

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