Arnie, Bob Drum, a trans-Atlantic flight and the modern Grand Slam: one of golf's great myths

Both Bob Drum and Arnold Palmer have recounted how the two of them conceived of golf's "modern grand slam" on a trans-Atlantic flight shortly after Palmer had won the 1960 US Open at Cherry Hills. In 2016, Katherine Bissell repeated the story told to her by Drum:

While Palmer is known for many things, he is least known for the one thing that is most important historically. On a flight across the Atlantic in 1960, he invented the modern grand slam of golf.

It happened when Palmer was on his way to the British Open, after having won the Masters and the U.S. Open that year.  One person aboard the plane was the late Bob Drum, then a sportswriter for a newspaper in Pittsburgh. As Drum told the story to me, Palmer asked Drum what it would be if he, Palmer, won the British Open and the PGA in addition to the Masters and the U.S. Open.  Drum said he replied that it would be the equal of Bobby Jones’ grand slam. According to Drum, Palmer said, “That’s what...

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Ben Hogan's club specifications

For the golfer who has likely been studied more closely than any other, surprisingly little information is available about the specs of Ben Hogan's clubs. The USGA has several drivers and two iron sets in its collection, but hasn't published anything that I'm aware of. As far as I know, all that is readily available is from the book Afternoons With Mr. Hogan; in it, Jody Vasquez published what he claims were the specs of Hogan's clubs in the mid-1960s during the period Vasquez was working in the bag room at Shady Oaks:1

Jody includes some insights from Hogan's personal club maker, Gene Sheeley, and adds some details, including the bounce on the sole of the irons, which ranged from negative with the long irons to none at all with the shorter clubs; the reminder under the standard size cord grip set at 5 o'clock; and an odd claim that the heel of the irons were ground in a way that caused them to sit five degrees open at address.2  But Vasquez also admitted that...

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Oh, the humanity, Part Deux! Golf Digest's Matt Rudy does it again!

Back in February, Golf Digest's Matt Rudy authored an article where he inexplicably mistook Sam Snead's swing for that of Johnny Revolta. He also incorrectly claimed that Revolta won the 1953 PGA championship, which was, in fact, won by Walter Burkemo. Revolta did win a PGA, but it was in 1935. Those careless blunders were the subject of this TAG blog post:

Perhaps more bizarre is the fact that, to this very day, the article remains uncorrected with respect to the 1953 PGA title, even though I pointed that out to Rudy a few weeks ago:

I guess factual accuracy doesn't matter to Matt or Golf Digest, so this latest mistake shouldn't be a surprise.

Earlier today, Rudy and Golf Digest published an article titled "The most intriguing grips in pro golf." Not missing a beat, Rudy misidentifies the very first grip examined, Ben Hogan's:

First off, Getty identifies the picture...

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Oh, the humanity! How can Golf Digest ´╗┐permit such embarrassing errors to be published?


Earlier today, Golf Digest published an article authored by "senior instruction writer" Matthew Rudy which contains two errors that are, IMO, "beyond belief." The piece revisits an instruction article published in the June 1953 issue of GD that was authored by Johnny Revolta, a star golfer of the 1930s who had become by then a well-regarded instructor. The article, copied below, was illustrated with a swing sequence of the inimitable Sam Snead:

However, incredibly, Rudy somehow thought it was Revolta who was swinging the club:
Just to be 100% sure Rudy mistakes Revolta for Sam, he confirms it a few paragraphs later:
As anyone familiar with the two stars knows, they don't look anything alike, and neither do their swings (see for yourself in the video at the beginning of this blog):

Worse still, Rudy claims Revolta was the "soon-to-be 1953 PGA champion":
Uh, not exactly. Revolta won the 1935 PGA: Walter Burkemo would win the 1953 edition. How is it possible that mistakes this blatant...

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Young Tom Morris On The Links - A case of mistaken identity

On July 15, 2015, the University of St. Andrews announced a significant discovery found in a cache of papers donated by a local family that had not been examined for 40 years: a unique photograph of Scotland’s greatest ever golfer, Young Tom Morris, in action on the St. Andrews links:

Although in the university's possession were studio poses of Young Tom (also known as Tommy), no photographs of him actually playing the game were known to exist. The university's photographic archivist, Trevor Ledger, explained the significance of the discovery:

If it’s what we think it is and we’re 95 per cent certain that it is what we think it is, then it is very precious.

Just on it it’s got T. Morris with a question-mark and I looked at it and I thought "I’m sure that’s Tommy Morris," but then I was instantly sceptical because I’ve never seen a photo of him actually playing the game.

However the more I’ve looked at it, it’s from his...

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