The 34 birdies, 36 pars and two bogeys that Palmer and Nicklaus shot through their 72 holes were too much. When the two best golfers in the world are teamed, there is just one way to win, as Jack Burke Jr. was pointing out when it was all over. "It's a game of birdies," he said. "Pars don't do you a bit of good. Both partners have to be on the green and putting for birdies on every hole." Except for a few excursions into the water—Palmer hit it four times on Thursday—Arnold and Jack were always putting for those birdies.
The only exception to Burke's both-on-the-green birdie rule came on Friday, when the Cupit brothers, Jacky and Buster, had a 61, the lowest 18-hole score of the tournament. Jacky Cupit made 11 of the team's birdies and set a new individual course record of 63, despite a double-bogey 6 on the final hole.
Even in terms of today's golf purses—$200,000 for the Carling, $200,000 for next year's Canadian Open and $250,000 for next year's Westchester Open—the Team Championship's $275,000 is, as the golfers say, something else. When played last year for a mere $125,000, the event was a big hit with the golfers, who had long wanted to put it on as their own championship, but it flopped at the cash register, so much so that the players had to contribute more than $40,000 out of their tournament fund to make up the deficit. Instead of being dismayed, the PGA's dynamic new executive director, Robert T. Creasey, and new tournament committee chairman, Dan Sikes, decided last month to take a long-range gamble on the golf boom, the kind of forward-looking approach that had been notoriously absent in PGA thinking for 30 years. They persuaded John D. MacArthur, the real estate tycoon who built the PGA National Golf Club and the surrounding housing development, to match the $75,000 that the tournament committee would add to the original purse of $125,000, making the spectacular total of $275,000. They then set about selling the event to Florida businessmen and government officials as a major attraction for the state.
The tournament did not break even this year, but everybody knew it wouldn't. What it did do was establish itself as an excellent addition to the pro tour, and one with great potential. Sikes talks of it as being "like the Masters," and Creasey foresees a TV revenue of a quarter of a million dollars.
When that happens, the PGA will join Palmer and Nicklaus as big winners in the Team Championship.