Of the three, Mowry is the best known, if that is the word for it. Actually the Las Vegas pro would just as soon have the last five years stricken from the script. Even for a player of such vast natural talent, frolicking in the wee hours with all the good booze a small check can buy is an awkward way to prepare for a tournament. Then last summer came a divorce and a thorough bit of soul-searching by Mowry. "I have reformed," he told anyone who would listen. "You don't say so," said his critics. One true believer, however, was Potter Palmer, who is part owner of the Atlanta Braves and as a casual acquaintance once played a round with Mowry in a pro-am tournament. Palmer lent Mowry $2,000, which was $2,000 more than Mowry had in his bank balance at the time, and off went Larry, clear of eye, firm of resolve. "If I have a beer now," said Mowry, "you can bet it will be on Sunday night." An indication of just how firm Mowry has been can be had by inspecting his scores in his last five tournaments. He won money in four of them, and his worst round was a 73.
Of all the promising young players at the Rebel Yell, however, none quickened the blood of knowledgeable golfers like DeWitt Weaver. "I guess you always see the next Arnold Palmer in this year's crop of young ones," said George Walsh, "but I swear to you, this Weaver has it. This is the age of the long ball, and when you mention the biggest, strongest hitter of them all how does it come out? Nicklaus, right? Well, you can add Weaver to the list. And that's not the end of it. You know how some athletes can get you excited just by walking in the door? Well, Weaver's got that. He's got it all."
So it would appear, though it was not always that way. Prepped by his father, DeWitt T. Weaver, who was football coach at Texas Tech for 10 years, DeWitt went to SMU fully expecting to be the next Mustang quarterback. But while football was fun for Weaver, golf was a passion, and from his sophomore year on golf was his game.
It was in 1963 that Weaver tried the pro tour, and it took him exactly four months to learn one thing for certain. He had no business being there. "I could hit the ball, all right," said Weaver, "but, good God, even my wedge shots were likely to go off at right angles." So Weaver left the tour. For the next few years he polished his big, booming game and finally took a job as a club pro at Cairo, Ga. Cairo is not exactly big time, but it does have one of the most demanding courses in the country, which was perfect for Weaver. But the big break came when he dropped in on Sam Byrd, a former PGA player now teaching in Alabama. Not only did Byrd seethe flaw in Weaver's swing, he told him what to do about it. "You won't break 80 for a month," Byrd told him, "but sooner or later, you'll start hitting that ball."
Last week Weaver charged around the Holston Hills course drawing gasps from the crowd with his long straight drives. His four-under 284 was good for seventh place and the grand sum of $470. Not that it matters much. The Rebel Yell is not what Weaver has in mind for next year. He and Mowry and the other young pros at the Rebel Yell are aiming for Augusta.