Golf Talk Live - Byron Nelson Transcript Segment 2

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PETER KESSLER
A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD SAY THAT THE THREE GREATEST GOLF COURSE ARCHITECTS WERE TILLINGHAS, DONALD ROSS, AND ALISTER MCKENZIE. I KNOW OF COURSE WHEN YOU WERE PLAYING AT THE TILLINGHAS DESIGN, RIDGEWOOD, AS

A PROFESSIONAL AND WORKING THERE BEFORE YOU REALLY WENT OUT ON TOUR, YOU GOT A CHANCE TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH HIM. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT TILLINGHAS?

BYRON NELSON
WELL HE WAS REALLY A SCOTS, AN OLD SCOTS PRO LIKE, AND I SHOULDN'T SAY PRO BECAUSE HE WAS A GOLF COURSE ARCHITECT BUT WHEN HE PLAYED GOLF, WHY HE WORE A LOOSE, TWEED COAT. I NEVER, AND I DON'T THINK I EVER SAW HIM HIT A SHOT THAT DIDN'T, WHEN HE

PLAYED GOLF THAT HE DIDN'T HAVE THAT TWEED COAT ON AND HE HAD WHAT I CALL A WAX MUSTACHE, HE HAD A LITTLE MUSTACHE AND IT'S WAX HERE, AND THEN STUFF, AND VERY VERY WELL ORDERED AND STUFF, BUT HE REALLY KNEW WHAT HE WANTED TO DO ON A GOLF COURSE. JUST ALMOST, HE COULD JUST LOOK AT THE HOLE... LOOK AT A

PIECE OF PROPERTY, THERE'S A HOLE THERE, AND TELL YOU, HE'D JUST TELL YOU, JUST SEE RIGHT THERE IN HIS OWN MIND WHAT HE WANTED TO DO TO THAT HOLE. HE DIDN'T HAVE TO SAY WELL I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THIS, I'M GOING TO DO THIS, BUT HE BOOM. BOOM. AND I, I THOROUGHLY

ENJOYED RIDGEWOOD AND, AND MY ASSOCIATION WITH HIM THERE. I DIDN'T SEE A LOT BECAUSE HE WAS STILL WORKING IN THOSE, THOSE DAYS, BUT I DID SEE HIM AND PLAYED GOLF WITH HIM A COUPLE OF TIMES AND WATCHED HIM PLAY SOME AROUND THERE BECAUSE OF

THE NAME OF TILLINGHAS, EVEN THEN, WHEN I WAS YOUNG STARTING OUT, IT WAS VERY PROMINENT.

PETER KESSLER
WAS HE A LITTLE BIT OF A CHARACTER WOULD YOU SAY?

BYRON NELSON
YES. YEAH, VERY, NOT A, NOT A MEAN CHARACTER. A GOOD CHARACTER. HE WAS A FUN SORT OF A GUY. HAD A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR AND, BUT HE WAS, WHEN YOU'D START TO SAY SOMETHING, WHEN YOU SAY SOMETHING TO HIM ABOUT A GOLF COURSE, I DIDN'T OF COURSE,

BECAUSE I, I'D JUST STAND BACK IN AWE, BUT PEOPLE, PEOPLE TALKED TO HIM ABOUT A GOLF COURSE WHY, THERE WAS NO ARGUMENT TO IT. HE DID IT, AND HE DIDN'T SAY, HE SAID WELL DO YOU THINK WE OUGHT TO PUT A (??UNINTELLIGIBLE) OVER THERE?

HE DIDN'T SAY 'DO YOU THINK' . WE PUT A (??UNINTELLIGIBLE) THERE, WE'RE GOING TO DO THIS, WE'RE GOING TO THAT AND THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED.

PETER KESSLER
HOW IMPORTANT DID RIDGEWOOD TURN OUT TO BE IN THAT, IT WAS THE LAST PLACE THAT YOU REALLY WORKED ON YOUR GAME BEFORE YOU WENT OUT AGAINST THE OTHER GREAT PLAYERS OF THE WORLD, IN THAT IT WAS A GREAT TEST OF YOUR SWING AND A GREAT TEST

TO EXPOSE POTENTIAL WEAKNESSES THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE.

BYRON NELSON
WELL I THINK IT WAS A TREMENDOUS STEP FORWARD. IT WAS MY FIRST BIG STEP IN GOLF. WHEN I WENT TO WORK FOR GEORGE DAKOVAS IN 1935 AND '36, AS HIS FIRST ASSISTANT, AND I TELL YOU THE FUN, I'LL MENTION THIS, JUST A PASSING

THAT MY FEE FOR WORKING FOR ME IN THE SUMMER, THE FULL SUMMER, GOING THERE FOR THE MASTERS THERE, WAS $400... $400. MAN YOU CAN'T GO DOWN AND BUY A STEAK DINNER FOR MUCH LESS THAN THAT NOW, BUT ANYWAY, THAT'S

BESIDE THE POINT, BUT IT, IT REALLY, THEY HAD THREE GREAT NINES THERE. THEY HAD EAST WEST AND CENTER, AND THE EAST AND THE WEST WERE CONSIDERED THE BETTER BUT THE WEST WAS, BUT THE CENTER, I MEAN THE EAST AND THE WEST WERE THE TWO MAIN ONES AND THE CENTER WAS A GOOD NINE ALSO,

BUT HAVING THAT IN THE BACKGROUND WHEN YOU PLAY AND LEARN TO PLAY A GOLF COURSE LIKE THAT WAS AND IS, THEN WHEN THERE, YOU WENT SOME OTHER PLACE YOU'RE NOT FINDING SOMETHING THAT'S MORE DIFFICULT TILL, SO TO SPEAK, YOU END UP LEARNING TO PLAY EVERY SHOT THAT YOU KNEW OF AT

RIDGEWOOD AND SO THAT WAS A BIG STEP TO ME AND ALSO, IT WAS A GREAT HELP TO ME, BECAUSE GEORGE ACOBAS WAS THE PRESIDENT OF THE PGA ALL THE TIME I WAS THERE. HE WAS PRESIDENT OF THE

PGA FOR A LONG TIME, AND I LEARNED A LOT OF THINGS ABOUT RUNNING A GOLF SHOP OR RUNNING A TOURNAMENT AND DOING CERTAIN THINGS AND PETER, THE, THE THING THAT STARTED ME AND

THERE'S NEVER BEEN MUCH SAID ABOUT IT, BUT, IN 1935, THE RYDER CUP WAS AT RIDGEWOOD, IN THE FALL OF THE YEAR AND I WAS OF COURSE ASSISTANT THERE AND NATURALLY I WAS THERE, AND I HAD

PLENTY OF CLOTHES TO WEAR AND EVERYTHING BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN, NOW THEN HERE'S THESE GREAT PLAYERS. THEY GOT SLACKS ALIKE, SHOES ALIKE, CLUBS ALIKE, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, THE GOLF BAGS ALIKE, AND THE, AND THEY HAD THESE PARTIES TO GO TO AND I

SAID SOMETHING TO CADDIE FRIENDS, SOME OF THE YOUNG PLAYERS AROUND THERE, I SAID, BOY, I'M GOING TO GET ON THAT RYDER CUP ONE OF THESE DAYS, AND FORTUNATELY I MADE IT IN '37 BECAUSE

I WON THE MASTERS IN '37 AND THAT WAS THE CLIMAX AND IT GOT ME ON, BUT THAT, THAT REALLY WAS A, A, AND FORTUNATELY FOR ME MY WHOLE CAREER, I GOT INTO THINGS WHEN I WENT TO WORK AT THE (UNINTELLIGIBLE) IT WAS A GOOD GOLF COURSE. MY FIRST JOB. THEN I WENT TO RIDGEWOOD,

AND WORKING THERE AND THEN REDDING AND THEN TO INVER... TOLEDO. WELL I, I WAS STEPPING UP IN THE, IN THE ECHELON OF, OF BEING CLUB PRO, ALL THAT TIME, AND THE START THAT I GOT THERE WAS TREMENDOUS.

PETER KESSLER
YOU'RE MENTIONING REDDING AND THE $400, UNRELATED, REMINDS ME TO ASK YOU THAT BEFORE YOU WON YOUR FIRST MASTERS IN '37, YOU HAD JUST GOTTEN THE JOB TO BE HEAD PRO AT REDDING COUNTRY CLUB AND

BYRON NELSON
YEAH

PETER KESSLER
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT SORT OF SPURRED YOU ON TO PLAY BETTER, AS IT ALWAYS SEEMED TO WAS, YOU NEEDED MONEY TO BUY MERCHANDISE FOR THE PRO SHOP BECAUSE IT WAS TIME TO OPEN IT UP.

BYRON NELSON
RIGHT, AND I DIDN'T, I DIDN'T HAVE, DIDN'T HAVE, I HAD MONEY TO EAT ON AND STUFF BUT I HAD NO MONEY TO, AND I HAD NO CREDIT WITH THE, WITH THE COMP... CORPORATION, WITH THE PEOPLE IN THE CLUB MANUFACTURES SO I WON

15 HUNDRED DOLLARS AND MAN I THOUGHT I HAD, YOU KNOW, THAT SOON WENT TOO, BUT, BUT THAT GAVE ME SOMETHING TO GET STARTED ON AND, AND IT, I TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT IT NOW, SOME OF THE YOUNG PLAYERS AND IT'S

HARD TO BELIEVE THEY DON'T THINK YOU COULD EVEN EAT, YOU KNOW, WITH THE AMOUNT OF MONIES WE MADE, BUT THINGS WERE KIND OF EQUAL, AS THEY GOT MORE, WHERE YOU GOT MORE, YOU GOT MORE AND THEY DID MORE, SO THAT, IT, THAT BACKGROUND I HAVE, I WOULDN'T TAKE ANYTHING IN THE WORLD FOR IT, BECAUSE IT TAUGHT YOU

SOME THINGS AND, AND THAT TAUGHT ME, AND SEEING PEOPLE THAT GO BANKRUPT BUT PEOPLE THAT HAPPEN TO THEM, THEY GO... I NEVER DID, I NEVER DID. I STAYED OUT OF DEBT. I WOULDN'T BUY ANYTHING IF I COULDN'T PAY FOR IT, AND I LEARNED THAT DOING THOSE, IN THOSE BUSINESS YEARS WORKING FOR JAKOBIS,

WORKING AT REDDING AND THAT WAS A VERY BIG THING, HAVING THE FORTUNATE THING FOR ME TO GET STARTED UNDER PEOPLE LIKE THAT AND THEN WHEN I WENT TO REDDING, THERE WAS A MAN
NAMED STAN, I NEVER BEEN ABLE TO

MAKE A SPEECH, AND I HADN'T HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A SPEECH AND STANLEY JAWLS WAS MY BOSS' OWNER, ALMOST OWNER IN REDDING, PENNSYLVANIA, AND I WON THE, I SIGNED THE CONTRACT THE FIRST OF APRIL TO GO

TO REDDING IN 1937, GO TO AUGUSTA, WIN THE TOURNAMENT, I COME BACK. I'M THE TOP DOG IN AUGUSTA. I MEAN, REDDING, BECAUSE NO, NO CHAMPIONS HAVE BEEN THERE BEFORE. SO, THERE WAS ABOUT TWO WEEKS TIME, WHY HE CALLED ME UP ONE DAY, HE SAID BYRON, ONE OF THE ROTARIES CLUB WANTS YOU TO GO IN

THERE, I SAID OKAY. SO I WENT OVER TO THE ROTARY CLUB, HE SAID YOU'RE GOING TO MAKE A SPEECH. WELL HE SCARED ME TO DEATH, I (LAUGHS).

I SAID I'VE NEVER MADE A SPEECH IN MY LIFE, STANLEY. HE SAID, WELL, MR. JAWS, I CALLED HIM AND I SAID, AND HE

SAID, I SAID, ALL YOU GOT TO DO IS TELL HIM HOW YOU WON THE TOURNAMENT
AND I SAID WELL I SHOT THE LOWEST SCORE (LAUGHS).

PETER KESSLER
NOBODY DOES A CHAT BETTER THAN YOU DO NOW. YOU'VE DEFINITELY FIGURED OUT HOW TO GET IT DONE. DON'T GO AWAY.
(LAUGHS)

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