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'I'm going to keep the money and give away Gary'
Alfred Wright
September 06, 1965
Dave Marr was always witty and charming, but he was also unknown. Now, since his PGA win, little Dave is going over big
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September 06, 1965

'i'm Going To Keep The Money And Give Away Gary'

Dave Marr was always witty and charming, but he was also unknown. Now, since his PGA win, little Dave is going over big

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Harmon said he doubted that the trouble was in Marr's attitude. He thought Dave was trying to do too many things besides play serious tournament golf—things like the trips to Acapulco and Hawaii for the Jantzen ads and England for Shell's Wonderful World of Golf, to say nothing of his work as tournament chairman. "You can't beat fellows like Nicklaus and Casper with only half your concentration," said Harmon. ("You can't play every week," Marr says now. "And besides, all those Jantzen fellows are kings in their fields. Maybe some of the class rubbed off on me.")

At the same time Marr was getting some help with his swing from his good friend Johnny Pott. He widened his stance, gripped the club more firmly and began to go at the ball with more authority. Soon he was playing much better, and the following week at the Insurance City Open in Hartford, Conn. he led the tournament well into the final round. But on the 14th hole on Sunday his attention wandered, and he drove his tee shot out of bounds. He finished in a tie for third place, collecting a perfectly respectable check for $4,000. A couple of hours later he was home in Larchmont, thoroughly dejected. "Susan," he said, "I'm never going to win another tournament. There's too much dog in me."

The mood was only momentary. Marr was now playing the best golf of his career. Never a long hitter, his fairway woods and irons were as straight and true as any in golf. His sand shots, which he had learned from the alltime master of the bunkers, Harmon himself, were dependable, and his putting touch had returned.

Marr finished 11th at the Thunderbird, and then 12th at Philadelphia, but was still 25th on the money list as the PGA Championship began. Suddenly, everything he had been working on came together in four of the best rounds of golf he had ever played. Everyone said the Laurel Valley course was only for the big hitters, but Marr kept the ball out of the thick rough that was troubling the more muscular types. On the morning of the final day Dave awoke to find a note that had been slipped under his door by his cousin, Jack Burke Jr. All it said was, "Fairways and greens, Cuz." That was the way Dave played it.

When it was all over Dave Marr was suddenly swept by strong emotions. "The money, the $25,000," he said in front of the reporters in the press tent, many of whom were almost as pleased at his success as he was, "that's for me. The victory, the championship—that's for all the people who helped me along the way: Claude Harmon and Robie Williams and Mr. Lynch and Mr. McCormac and Mr. Shattuck at Winged Foot and Mr. Dunphy at Seminole...." His voice broke, and he wiped some tears from his eyes, and then came that Marr smile. "I'm crying," he said, "but otherwise I'm very happy."

A few hours later, he was sitting on the terrace at the rear of Arnold and Winnie Palmer's house. By now the news had arrived that Susan had had her baby and was doing fine. A group of friends was seated around Dave, he had a glass of fine whiskey in his hand and he was happy. Slowly, the real Dave Marr began to surface out of the day's excitement. He recalled how Gary Player had given away his $25,000 U.S. Open purse. "Damn it," he said, "I had my speech all ready for the presentation ceremony, but I was so rattled I forgot it. I meant to say I was keeping the check and giving away Gary."

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