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Bing Crosby’s house at Pebble Beach

IN 1937 BING CROSBY was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and a 2 handicap golfer. To amuse his friends and to support the golf professionals he decided to hold his own pro am golf tournament in San Diego, putting up the $10,000 prize himself, and providing a Clambake afterwards. The first “Crosby Clambake” was won by Sam Snead. The weather was so atrocious that pro golfers still call intermittent squalls and gales ‘Crosby Weather, ‘ but it was such a success it became an annual event.

The war put the Clambake on hold, but In 1947 Bing revived and expanded it to four rounds played on three courses on the Monterey Peninsula, near San Francisco. His Hollywood golfing buddies all came to his eve of tournament party, with guests like Dean Martin and Bob Hope doing a turn. After that the ‘Clambake’ was shown on TV across America. Naturally, having a bunch of extroverts in front of the cameras meant the golf almost became secondary to the antics. When Johnny Weissmuller lost his ball in a tree he swung from the branches giving a Tarzan yell. Bing’s pro am had become one of the golf events of the year, and it raised millions for charity.

Bing died on a golf course in Spain in 1977, and in 1986 the AT&T Corporation took over sponsorship, but his house still overlooks the 13th hole, and to the pro golfing fraternity Pebble Beach will always be ‘The Clambake.’

JIMMY WALKER, who won this month’s Championship at Pebble Beach, credits his recent success to renowned coach Butch Harmon. Walker, 35, has jumped out of the pack and achieved three wins in his past eight starts. He told reporters: “The older you get, the harder it is to make changes, but I decided to go to Butch with a blank slate and listen to his advice, and it’s been good.”

LEE WESTWOOD has split with his coach Sean Foley after seven months. Foley, who coaches Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan, and has probably got enough on his hands anyway, said: “Lee is a great guy and I really wish him well.” Westwood said: “Sean’s coaching didn’t fit in with what I wanted to do.” Perhaps he should have a chat with Jimmy Walker.

WHEN THE ORIGINAL Callaway Big Bertha appeared in 1991 everyone wanted one, including me. I couldn’t afford it. This month the reborn Big Bertha and it’s big sister the Big Bertha Alpha, was launched. The Big Bertha now features a sliding weight, which can be used to fine tune shots, and an adjustable hosel to alter loft and lie to favour a draw or a fade. Of the two drivers the Big Bertha is aimed at the higher handicap players, the ultra adjustable Alpha at the lower. I still can’t afford it. ($400.)

KEVIN STADLER’S WIN at the Phoenix Open (his first PGA Tour title) earned him a spot in the Masters, a tournament his dad Craig won in 1982. The Stadlers will be the first father and son to play in the same Masters. Proud Stadler Senior commented: “I said, ‘When Kevin gets in, that’ll be my final Masters,’ and this will be it.”

BUBBA WATSON’S incredible bunker shot into the hole at Riviera reminded me of a good tip: Don’t hit the ball, hit the sand behind the ball. The closer you hit to the ball, the more the ball will spin, so even on the greenside bunker shot, you want to hit the sand first. Remembering this tip I equalled Bubba’s 39 holes with no bogeys. Then I woke up.

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for all your regripping and repairs. Tel. 638 859 475.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42715/

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