OTL The Masters


S. W. Kim apparently broke his putter in anger and is finishing out his round putting with his 3W. He is currently -4. Never seen a pro brake a club playing in a major with a red number.


I believe Tommy Bolt did that. If so, we will probably read about it tomorrow. I interviewed Bolt at Southern Hills. I know he broke a bunch of clubs. Threw some that stuck in trees.

Sometimes those clubs just need to be shown who is boss. I have broken plenty of clubs, and it felt so good when I did it. It is like a tee kettle blowing off steam.

Today’s pros are subject to so much social pandering and evaluation of every little move they make, they are simply plain afraid to lose it.

I broke one club when I was 16. Banged the driver down after slicing a ball OB. When I got home my father let me know that if I broke another like that, I wouldn’t play again until I was out of his house. I never abused a club again. I learned after one.

The shafts are fragile. They break easily. But you can avoid it.

I heard a story some years ago about a guy who threw his club head down into the ground, causing the shaft to break. One of the broken ends flew into his neck and lacerated his carotid artery. Bled out and died on the spot.

Don’t know if that’s an urban legend or not.

But I do remember Nicklaus having a cut on his hand from a broken shaft back in the early 70’s. I think it cost him a chance at the calendar Grand Slam in 1972. Of course, Jack never threw a club. I think he broke the shaft on a tree root or something.

What a character Tommy Bolt was. He said one of my favorite golf quotes: “Always throw your clubs ahead of you. That way you don’t have to waste energy going back to pick them up.”

Most golfers have that “throw a club” learning curve… especially bad with the high priced equipment in today’s world. The Korean players (I believe Kim is Korean) have extreme discipline and reveal little outward emotional expression. Tells you what the Masters means to all golfers.

I have regrets about being so competitive and not conducting myself well on the golf course. Age has taken a lot of fire out of me, but it still burns lowly, kind of like a bunson burner.

If I could go back, which I cannot, I would have conducted myself with a lot more grace.

My father thought it was a game for gentlemen. He had a fierce competitive instinct. He kicked everyone’s butt In his reporting and writing. He wanted to win in golf but how you did it was important.

The story about Paul Eells starting to tee up a mulligan the first time he played with Orville is a classic. I believe OH said something like “are you here to practice or play golf”?

Yup. He played real golf. No gimme putts. Play it down.

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I told him once to play a second ball. He said, “Why? I hit it there. I can play it. I want to see what I can do with it.”


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