Growing up in as a teenager in the early 1970’s, it was easy for me to cheer for the golfers with the long hair (nobody who was cool wore caps then), those who had long swings and could talk it up with the media. Nicklaus, Miller, Crenshaw, those were the guys I was pulling for.
Billy Casper was none of that. I’m sure he got the “Men’s Regular Haircut” like my father made me get once a month (from a barber, not a stylist for a $1.00 a visit), and wasn’t overly adored by the fans and the media.
But, respected among his peers he was.
Because Casper just went out there and played boring, winning golf.
He won three majors, the 1959 and 1966 U.S. Opens and the 1970 Masters. Eight Ryder Cup Teams with a 20-10-7 record. He’s 7th all time with 69 professional wins. Guy Yocum of Golf Digest defined his game as a “devastating whisper.”
Early on, he made a decision that would change his life, and at least 11 more lives down the road, for the better. Their better.
Casper passed on an offer from IMG to represent him, as they did with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, and turn a winning golfer into a marketing machine.
A devout family man and grounded in his faith, instead he chose the route of helping others.
He and his wife Shirley, decided to do it the old fashioned way, some might call it a 1950’s “Father Knows Best” or “Leave it to Beaver” type of way.
They wanted to raise a family. And raise a family they did.
11 children total, six of which they adopted.
Billy passed on the flashy sides and went with meat and potatoes. And helped make the world a better place by serving others along the way.
Which why it was so fortunate for me the day our former ad agency called, asking if I’d like to interview him for our podcast back in 2012, while he was scheduled to visit one of our stores in Utah for a book signing.
A wonderful gem of a gentleman being interviewed by kid from the 1970’s that misunderstood him.
We will all miss him greatly.