Weiskopfs Win at 73 Canadian Was End of Streak


Back before the days of an upstart named Tiger Woods, Tom Weiskopf may have had as successful a three-month period as anyone has in golf history. It was 1973 - 30 years ago; the months were May, June and July; and Weiskopf came dangerously close to supplanting Jack Nicklaus in peoples minds as the best player in the game, at least for the moment.
The Canadian Open, forerunner to this weeks Bell Canadian Open, played a major part in Weiskopfs three-month run. The Canadian was played at the end of July and marked Weiskopfs final victory in a five-win streak, achieved in just eight tournaments in which he played.
Nicklaus, Weiskopfs old teammate for a couple of years at Ohio State, had won three times by May of 73. Arnold Palmer had won his last PGA Tour victory, the Bob Hope Desert Classic, in February of 1973. Thirty-three-year-old Lee Trevino had already won a couple of times, and another tour regular, Bruce Crampton, had also won three times in the first four months of the season.
Weiskopf hadnt won any. But my, how that was about to change.
He got it rolling by winning the second week of May. The Colonial in Fort Worth was where Weiskopf finally broke the drought that had lasted 14 months since he had last won. But Nicklaus won No. 4 of the year a couple of weeks after Weiskopf started his run, and Weiskopf was hardly noticed.
The first week of June, however, Weiskopf won again, this time at the Kemper Open. And then he did it again the very next week, at the IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic. But Crampton deflected the attention again when won for the fourth time of the season the week after the U.S. Open ' won by Johnny Miller.
But Weiskopf headed for Scotland to play in the British Open, and he was nearly perfect in the years third major championship. He won easily, his fourth victory in just over two months. He led every round at Troon and beat Miller and Englands Neil Coles by three shots.
Weiskopf returned to North America following his victory in the major and teed it up in the Canadian Open July 16-29. He had only played in seven tournaments since that time of the second week in July when he won the Colonial ' but he won again at the Canadian to make it eight tournaments and five wins in just three months.

Weiskopf would win the Canadian Open again two years later, in 1975, but he was virtually finished as a competitive golfer. That sudden burst in 1973 was about the best anybody could do over just eight tournaments. Weiskopf knew he couldnt do better than lead the British Open wire-to-wire, or win five tournaments in such a short period of time. He played 10 more years, won six more times, but after those three months in 73, there wasnt anything else for him to prove.
Or so he thought. That bit of excellence could have been a springboard to greatness. Instead, it was the beginning of the end of a dream.
Now I think how it could have changed my life if I had put forth the effort, Weiskopf told Golf World magazine. But I think it kind of ended my career, to tell you the truth.
It was like, Finally I won a major. Its all over and I won the best. Im that type of person. I will quit when I finally feel that I have done the absolute best that I could ever do.
Nicklaus himself believes Weiskopf could have been a great one, much greater than he actually was. If anyone could have gotten inside Weiskopfs head and flipped the switches, it would have been so different.
He has always not believed he is that good, said Nicklaus. If you asked 100 people to name the top five players in the game as far as talent, his name would probably come up more than anyone. There just isnt anybody who has more talent than him.
The years since he played the last time on the regular tour in 84 have been hugely successful for Weiskopf, as far as wealth is concerned. He is a golf architect and with Jay Morrish has designed a number of excellent courses. He even plays the Senior Tour occasionally and has actually won four times.
He also is at peace with himself, though he still rues the time when all that tremendous talent went to waste.
I would hope that I am a different player than what I was when I last played he in 1984, said Weiskopf at the 95 U.S. Senior Open at Congressional near Washington, D.C. I remembered it very well. I walked off the golf course. That was the last year I competed on the regular tour. And about two months later I quit playing, just because I was so frustrated with myself.
But I never was one to blame the course or blame the situation or whatever. I always blamed myself. And sure, we do things that we are not very proud of. But yeah, I am a different person today. I would hope that I am.
Thirty years later, Weiskopf looks back on that one wonderful summer when he did it all ' the summer of 73. And it was at the Canadian Open where he won the last of his five wins. He was 31 years old, in the prime of his life. But to Weiskopf, it was virtually over.