Remembering Julius

By Randall MellApril 11, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Sometime Sunday morning, Armen Boros will polish the replica of the Wanamaker Trophy she keeps in her den in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
 
Her beloved late husband, Julius, claimed the prize when he won the PGA Championship at Pecan Valley Country Club in 1968.
 
Julius was 48 years, four months and 18 days old when he won the last of his three major championships.
 
He became the oldest player to win a major that day in San Antonio.
 
Forty-one years later, Boros is still the oldest player to win a major.
 
Kenny Perry will try to change that when he tees it up Sunday with Angel Cabrera as co-leaders at the Masters.
 
If Perry wins the green jacket, hell do so at 48 years, eight months and two days old.
 
Ill be watching with my family, Armen said. Weve got a big day planned with Easter dinner and the Masters.
 
Masters week would be an emotional time for Armen even if Perry werent vying to supplant her husband as the oldest major championship winner.
 
On Saturday, Armen celebrated what would have been the couples 54th wedding anniversary.
 
Julius and Armen eloped the day after the Masters back in 1955, exchanging vows in Aiken, S.C.
 
Though they married after just three dates, theirs was a long romance. They were together almost 40 years when Julius quietly slumped in his golf cart under a willow tree beside the 16th green at Fort Lauderdales Coral Ridge Country Club, a heart attack taking him so gently that the first threesome that passed believed he was only napping.
 
Armen still lives in their home along the fairways at Coral Ridge. The pond aside the 16th green was Julius favorite place, a shady spot where he liked to watch golfers play through. He was 74 when he died in 1994.
 
Julius presence remains strong in the Boros home. Armen makes sure of that.
 
Step through the front door, and theres an oil painting of Julius Boros. Hes playing golf, of course, hitting a shot out of a sand bunker. Theres a lifelike portrait in the living room. Step into the family room, and he's everywhere.
 
Photos, paintings, old trophies and golf memorabilia are arranged shrine-like.
 
They mean a lot to us children, said Nick Boros, 58, the oldest of the seven Boros children. It means a lot to us when dads name comes up like it is now at the Masters. It makes you feel good that people are reminded what a great player he was.
 
Whenever Julius name comes up like it is this week, Armen will get to polishing trophies. She knows what the treasures mean to her children and what theyll mean to the grandchildren.
 
Julius Boros was raised in Fairfield, Conn., the son of Hungarian immigrants. He was an accountant who was nearly 30 when he turned pro. He made his name in golf with a sweet, effortless swing that delivered machine-like accuracy as he racked up 18 PGA Tour titles.
 
A good but unspectacular putter, Boros was the king of hitting fairways and greens. Its what made him a regular contender in major championships.
 
Famed golf writer Herbert Warren Wind once offered this picture of Boros in the New Yorker:
 
Boros is a man of considerable sophistication ' he moves his cigarette and his phrases around in a way that recalls Humphrey Bogart ' but you would never know that watching him in competition. Poker-faced, laconic, a bit on the dour side, he is an efficient rather than an arresting golfer, but his colleagues have long respected the smooth, relaxed tempo of his swing and his penchant for being at his best in the big, rich tournaments.
 
Armen likes that golf fans will remember her husband as Perry tries to win the Masters.
 
After tending to the trophies Sunday morning, Armen will be off to the kitchen to throw a 26-pound turkey and large ham in the oven.
 
Shes got big day planned.
 
Theres dinner for her seven children and their families, which includes 19 grandchildren.
 
Then theres the Masters.
 
If anyones going to break dads record, I would like for it to be Kenny Perry, said Guy Boros, 44, winner of the PGA Tours 1996 Greater Vancouver Open. Ive played a lot of golf with Kenny, and hes a good man.
 
Were all proud of dads record, and were all going to hate to see one of his records broken, but nothing lasts forever.
 
When Perry won the FBR Open two months ago, he supplanted Julius Boros as the oldest winner of that event. Julius was 46 when he won it in 1967.
 
It wasnt shocking at all when my dad won the PGA Championship, said Nick, a teaching pro in Hollywood, Fla. In fact, it was like he was in his prime. He didnt turn pro until he was 29 or 30.
 
At 55, Julius lost in a playoff to Gene Littler at Westchesters PGA Tour event.
 
A lot of fond memories will come flooding back for Armen as she watches Perry try to win the Masters today.
 
If Kenny Perry wins, we will be happy for him, and we will call him and congratulate him, Armen said. Hes a wonderful fellow, and Id like to see him win a major.
 

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