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Golf Talk Live - Johnny Bulla Transcript Segment 3

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(MUSIC)
 
PETER KESSLER
 
TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE, IN 1944, AT THE TAMOSHANNER TOURNAMENT, YOU WERE THE FIRST CAUCASIAN TO OFFER TO AND TO PLAY WITH AN AFRO-AMERICAN PLAYER IN A TOUR EVENT. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT, JOHNNY?
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
WELL, GEORGE MAY WAS TRYING TO FIND SOMEBODY TO HELP HIS TOURNAMENT AND THERE WERE SIX AFRICAN AMERICANS THAT HAD SENT THE ENTRY IN TO TRY TO QUALIFY FOR THE NATIONAL OPEN AT OLYMPIA FIELDS AND THEY
 
TURNED THEM DOWN WHEN THEY SHOWED UP, SO I TOLD GEORGE, I WAS FLYING AT THE TIME WITH EASTERN AND I'D GET IN THERE IN THE MORNING SOMETIMES, I'D HAVE BREAKFAST WITH HIM, AND I SAID GEORGE, YOU CAN REALLY MAKE THIS GOLF TOURNAMENT A LOT GREATER IF YOU INVITE THE BLACK
 
BOYS TO PLAY AND THEY'LL BE WONDERFUL. JOE LEWIS WILL COME, TED RODES. THEY HAVE THEIR OWN TOURNAMENT, BUT THEY'RE PLAYING WITHIN A TOURNAMENT, AND I SAID, IF THEY'RE GOOD ENOUGH, PLAY THE REGULAR TOURNAMENT AND HE SAID
 
WELL, NONE OF THE BOYS WILL PLAY WITH THEM. I SAID I WILL. HE SAYS WELL, UH I'LL PAIR IF THERE'S ANY GOOD ENOUGH TO MAKE THE TOURNAMENT AND IT TURNED OUT THAT SEARS, WHO IS THE CADDIE FROM NEW ORLEANS, WAS IN THE
 
EUROPEAN THEATRE AND HE WAS GIVEN A TWO WEEK LEAVE TO COME OVER TO GO TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN AND HE CAME BACK AND PRACTICED FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS AND I'M GOING TO TELL YOU, OUTSIDE OF TIGER, HE WAS, HE'S THE BEST
 
AFRICAN AMERICAN I EVER SAW PLAY. HE FINISHED SEVENTH IN THAT TOURNAMENT THAT YEAR, AND HE HAD ONLY PLAYED PRACTICE FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS BEFORE BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN IN THE ARMY FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS. I THOUGHT HE WAS FANTASTIC AND THE SAD PART, HE WAS SHIPPED OVER TO THE PACIFIC AND WAS KILLED.
 
PETER KESSLER
 
AND OF COURSE 17 YEARS LATER, CHARLIE SIFFORD WAS THE GUY WHO GOT THE PGA OF AMERICA TO REMOVE THEIR CAUCASIAN ONLY CLAUSE TO ALLOW AFRO AMERICANS TO PLAY ON TOUR AND CHARLIE JOINS US BY TELEPHONE RIGHT OVER HERE, RIGHT, RIGHT NOW, JOHNNIE.
 
HELLO CHARLIE.
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
HEY. HOW YOU DOING?
 
PETER KESSLER
 
HOW ARE YOU, SIR?
 
DOING FINE.
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
CHARLIE, ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
(LAUGHS) YES, I'M STILL LIVING, JOHNNY (LAUGHS).
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
WELL YOU KNOW YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A BIRTHDAY THE SECOND OF JUNE.
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
THAT'S RIGHT, I'LL BE 79.
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
WELL I'LL, I'LL BE 87.
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
YEAH YOU GOT ME.
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
WE HAVE THE SAME BIRTHDAY.
 
PETER KESSLER
 
I FIGURED THAT.
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
I TOLD HIM I WOULD NEVER KISS HIM. HE'S TOO UGLY.
 
PETER KESSLER
 
(LAUGHS)
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
(LAUGHS)
 
PETER KESSLER
 
TELL, TELL US ABOUT JOHNNY, CHARLIE.
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
I TELL YOU JOHNNY BULLA IS ONE OF THE FINEST, YOU KNOW, AND THE BEST PEOPLE NOW PERSON I EVER MET IN MY LIFE.
 
PETER KESSLER
 
HOW COME?
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
BECAUSE HE'S JUST A GENTLEMAN. HE'S A MAN. HE, HE PLAYED WITH US WHEN NO, NONE OF THE OTHER GUYS WOULD PLAY WITH US... IN THE TOURNAMENT.
 
PETER KESSLER
 
DO YOU WANT TO REACT TO THAT?
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
CHARLIE, THAT'S, THAT'S SWEET OF YOU SAYING THAT. I'M NOT THAT GOOD, BUT YOU KNOW I WAS ALWAYS FOR YOU.
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
THAT'S RIGHT.
 
PETER KESSLER
 
HEY CHARLIE, WAS HE AS BAD A PUTTER AS HE ALWAYS CLAIMS HE WAS?
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
WELL HE WASN'T THAT BAD OF A PUTTER (LAUGHS)
 
PETER KESSLER
 
THAT'S NOT SAYING HE WAS VERY GOOD THOUGH EITHER IS IT, CHARLIE?
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
(LAUGHS)
 
PETER KESSLER
 
WHAT WAS THE BEST PART OF
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
THAT'S MY MAN, I CAN'T TALK ABOUT IT (LAUGHS)
 
PETER KESSLER
 
(LAUGHS) WHAT WAS THE BEST PART OF CHARLIE'S GAME, JOHNNY?
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
CHARLIE HIT THE BALL GOOD AND HE, HE HAD A LOT OF DETERMINATION AND HE WORKED HARD AT IT WITH ALL THE ADVERSITY THAT HE HAD I THOUGHT HE DID REMARKABLY WELL.
 
PETER KESSLER
 
CHARLIE, THANKS FOR CHECKING IN TONIGHT.
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
THANK YOU CHARLIE.
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
THANK YOU (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
 
PETER KESSLER
 
GREAT TO HEAR YOUR VOICE.
 
CHARLIE SIFFORD, TOURNAMENT WINNER (MALE):
 
SEE YOU OUT IN PHOENIX, JOHNNY.
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
THAT A BOY.
 
PETER KESSLER
 
A COUPLE OF YEARS BEFORE THAT TAMOSHANNER THEY HAD, JUST AS, THE, THE U.S. HAD NOW BEEN, YOU KNOW, IN WORLD WAR TWO, IN EARLY '42, THEY HELD A TOURNAMENT CALLED THE HAIL AMERICA NATIONAL OPEN, AND HOGAN WON THAT TOURNAMENT AND THEY GAVE HIM A MEDAL THAT LOOKS IDENTICAL
 
BECAUSE IT IS, TO THE ONE THAT YOU GET FOR WINNING THE U.S. OPEN. WAS IT A U.S. OPEN IN YOUR VIEW, OR NOT?
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
NO, NO BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T QUALIFY FOR IT. THIS IS FUNNY, FRANK STEININE CALLED ME A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO AND SAYS I PLAYED WITH YOU AND BOBBY JONES, I THINK, IN THE HAIL AMERICA.
 
I SAYS, FRANK, YOU DIDN'T PLAY WITH ME, I WAS FLYING FOR EASTERN IN '42, AND I SAID YOU DIDN'T QUALIFY FOR IT. BOB PLAYED IN IT AND THEN WENT INTO THE SERVICE, BUT NOBODY QUALIFIED FOR THAT TOURNAMENT AND IT WASN'T, IT WASN'T AN, AN OPEN. IT WAS UNDERSTOOD IT WASN'T AN OPEN.
 
PETER KESSLER
 
WHAT WAS THE THINKING IF, IF YOU HAVE SOME INSIGHT INTO IT INTO GIVING HOGAN A MEDAL THAT LOOKS LIKE YOU HAD JUST WON THE U.S. OPEN.
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
WELL YEAH BUT THERE WOULDN'T BE AN INSCRIPTION ON THE BACK, U.S. OPEN. IT WASN'T ON THERE. THE, THE MEDAL, OF COURSE THEY HAD A LOT OF THOSE MEDALS FROM THE OPENS, AND THAT WAS GREAT, BUT IT WAS NOT A NATIONAL OPEN. IT, THEY, THEY, THEY DIDN'T HAVE
 
THE QUALIFYING FOR IT. IT WAS JUST ANOTHER TOURNAMENT AS FAR AS THE USGA WAS CONCERNED.
 
PETER KESSLER
 
AND OF COURSE IT WASN'T CALLED THE UNITED STATES OPEN,
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
NO NO
 
PETER KESSLER
 
IT WAS THE HAIL AMERICA NATIONAL OPEN.
 
JOHNNY BULLA
 
EXACTLY. EXACTLY.
 
PETER KESSLER
 
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK WITH JOHNNY BULLA.
 
(MUSIC)
 
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