PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Jack Fleck roamed the driving range Wednesday at the U.S. Open.
Fifty-five years after he shocked the golf world in a U.S. Open upset of Ben Hogan at the Olympic Club, 50 years after he felt like he threw away that championship when Arnold Palmer won at Cherry Hills, Fleck regaled Hooters Tour pro Dan McCarthy and other young players with stories about how much the game’s changed since he played.
Fleck, 88, explained how the practice range used to be filled with caddies who wandered out to shag shots their players were hitting, catching balls and dropping them into shag bags.
“These kids didn’t believe it,” Fleck said. “They said they never heard of such a thing.'
Fleck was an unknown when he beat Hogan in an 18-hole U.S. Open playoff for his first PGA Tour title in 1955. Earlier this week, he was in Denver to take part in a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Open there. That’s the year Arnold Palmer drove the first green at Cherry Hills in the final round and came from seven shots back to win.
Fleck finished third that year but felt like he blew the championship missing four short putts over the final six holes.
“A lot of those tournaments, I don’t like to remember,” Fleck said.