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Ben & Arnie liven up the weekend
Alfred Wright
October 30, 1967
Ryder Cup play was predictably unexciting, but the U.S. captain and his star got things moving
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October 30, 1967

Ben & Arnie Liven Up The Weekend

Ryder Cup play was predictably unexciting, but the U.S. captain and his star got things moving

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"No," Hogan replied. "I'm the captain, and I decide who plays and who doesn't play."

"Then why won't Palmer play in the morning?"

"Because I say he won't."

"Is there a reason?"

"Yes."

"May I ask the reason?"

"Yes, you can ask, but I won't tell you."

With 10 members on a Ryder Cup team and only eight needed at any one time, most captains try to give each of the players at least one breather, if possible. Whatever the reason, Arnold took it easy Saturday morning and then teamed with Julius Boros for the afternoon's four-ball against what looked to be the weakest of all the British pairings—George Will and Hugh Boyle.

On paper it was a mismatch, but on the course, almost before you looked up, Palmer and Boros were 3 down, and they were 4 down at the turn. Then Palmer came alive. He won the 10th with a routine par, but at the 466-yard 11th, he put a long iron four feet from the hole and sank it for a birdie 3. The short 12th was halved with pars. On the 544-yard 13th Arnold reached the green with a drive and an iron and two-putted for another birdie, and then at the 14th he hit another long iron four feet from the pin for his third birdie in four holes. That evened the match, and the British bogeyed the 18th to lose. Palmer's charge gave his side the win and breathed life into an otherwise humdrum day of American victory.

Ever since Samuel Ryder, a British optimist, donated his solid-gold trophy back in 1927, this same one-sided monotony has been going on much too often. The British pros simply do not play golf with the same killer instinct that drives the Americans. Yet, even so, the Ryder Cup has a very large meaning for both sides. The pomp and ceremony that goes with it, the flag raisings and the playing of national anthems, and the panache that attaches to membership on the Ryder Cup team inject a refreshingly noncommercial moment into one of the most blatantly commercial of American sports. Billy Casper, who is widely, if inaccurately, regarded as a rather phlegmatic type, tried to explain what it feels like. It really hits you, he said, during the flag-raising ceremonies when they play God Save the Queen and The Star-Spangled Banner. Last week, Casper was playing on his fourth Ryder Cup team, but it still got him. He hit the first drive for the American side on the first day of competition, and it was fine, right down the middle of the fairway. But to Casper, it had been a moment of sheer panic. He had stood at attention through the opening formalities, watching the flags and listening to the anthems. By the time he hit his drive, he said, he could scarcely breathe. "Did you ever try to hit a golf ball without any oxygen in your system?" he asked.

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