Afterward, one of those radio interview fellows rushed up to Crenshaw and said, "Guess you feel pretty proud to know that 240 players started out in this tournament and you beat all of them but one."
Ben smiled and said, "It's not as good as beating all of them, but it's sure better than being 240th."
Crenshaw took away $44,175 for his second-place finish, which happens to be more than Arnold Palmer won all year in 1958, the year Palmer got his first Masters and began pumping new enthusiasm into the sport. This gives Crenshaw total official earnings of $76,749. Not a bad figure for a guy who had to pause once during the proceedings at Pinehurst to receive a trophy for being "the collegiate golfer of the year."
How does Crenshaw like the tour so far?
"The best advice I've had was from George Low. He told me, 'Don't listen to nobody out here, including me.' I think the hardest part is gonna be missing that good Mexican food in Austin."
Corresponding with all of the gloom surrounding the early play in the World Open was the news that Joe Dey, the commissioner of the PGA tour, was finally going to resign next spring. As sports czars go, both for the PGA and the USGA, Joe Dey has ranked right up there with the NFL's Pete Rozelle. History will assuredly regard Dey as a man who did more for "the good of the game" than perhaps anyone ever. And the PGA is not going to have an easy time finding a replacement.
The job Dey is leaving has been described in a number of ways, none flattering. It has been called a "school superintendent for spoiled brats" and a "limousine driver for eccentric millionaires," the point being that the touring pros are so independent and prosperous that they are unmanageable. And there is a considerable amount of truth to that.
Proof enough was the simple fact that the U.S. Open champion (Miller), the British Open champion (Weiskopf), the PGA champion (Nicklaus), the best British player ( Jacklin) and the tour's most colorful character ( Trevino) did not show up for the richest championship ever staged on one of the earth's prettiest and best courses. They all had reasons for being absent, and one has to assume that if Joe Dey could not persuade them to go to Pinehurst, then no one else is going to be able to accomplish it in the future, short of using blackmail or kidnapping.
There are many aging players who would like to have the job of commissioner, although they will not publicly admit it. The only avowed candidate is a player, but not aging. He is Deane Beman, 35, who has had some business experience outside of golf. Dey likes Beman and believes him to be a bright, strong-willed fellow who just might be able to handle the task. But Dey alone is not going to make the decision about his replacement. Joe is one of five gentlemen appointed to a committee to screen candidates, other members being Bill Clarke, the president of the PGA; J. Paul Austin, a soft-drink executive and "friend of the game"; and two competitors, Lionel Hebert and Charlie Coody. Ultimately, the 10-man tournament policy board will vote on it.
Dey was in Pinehurst last week celebrating his 66th birthday, enjoying the glorious weather that finally set in and trying to save the World Open for next year, which he did after a series of compromises with Bill Maurer, the president of Diamondhead Corporation, which owns Pinehurst. Maurer is the man who put up the cash and then had "less fun than I've ever had in my life" because of the no-shows and all of the jokes about the End of the World Open.