George Archer has begun to believe his own publicity. The towering Californian has been described as the most promising rookie golfer on this year's pro tour, but that is not the part that George has begun to believe. It's the part about his being a cowboy.
"If the golf doesn't work out," he decided the other day, biting down on an imaginary toothpick, "I can always go back to punching cows."
Now, this tends to give the impression that Archer has ridden his share of salt-grass trails. This is not quite so. He has been a professional golfer since January and was a ranch hand for just eight months before that. Still, it is a rather entertaining combination, something on the order of a milkman turning sports car racer. And naturally it fascinates sportswriters.
Few outside of California knew much about Archer until last September, when he reached the semifinals of the national amateur tournament at Des Moines. There a reporter routinely asked him what he did for a living.
"I work on a ranch in Gilroy, Calif.," he answered.
"You mean, you're a cowboy?"
"Yup," said George, or words to that effect.
In the days that followed his friends in San Francisco were slightly amazed, and amused to read about George Archer, the Gilroy Rancher, the California Cowpoke, the Gilroy Plowboy.
His extreme height (6 feet 6 inches) and a legend he did not solicit have combined to make him easily the best known of this year's crop of fine young golfers.
George would, of course, stand tall in the saddle, except that his duties at the Lucky Hereford Ranch do not include horseback riding, "It's a breeding ranch," he explains. "Mostly we just move cattle from pen to pen. I painted fences—we have 5,000 acres of white wooden fences—sprayed for flies, emptied the water trough and cleaned out the stables. I mean, I worked at it. I didn't start at the top."