Posts by Tom Brassell:

Billy-Casper-dies-age-84-on-Feb-7th-2015

Billy Casper – A Tribute

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.

Billy Casper (photo PGATour.com)

Billy Casper (photo PGATour.com)

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.

That interview became one of the great highlights of my golfing life.  You can listen to it on Soundcloud (below), on our website or on iTunes.iTunes_Logo

A wonderful gem of a gentleman being interviewed by kid from the 1970’s that misunderstood him.

We will all miss him greatly.

andy-roddick

Andy Roddick – PODCAST EXCLUSIVE

How would you think a former World #1 men’s tennis player could get hooked on golf?

Or what his favorite courses are?  Maybe his most memorable moments?

For answers to these questions and more, visit our GolfBetter Podcast Episode #181 to hear first hand from former World #1 Andy Roddick, courtesy of our friends at Travis Mathew, as we explore “Five Questions with Andy Roddick.” 

You can listen by clicking below, visiting our GolfBetter Podcast page on our website or by subscribing for a free subscription at iTunes.

Please take a listen.  We’re sure you’ll enjoy.

 

“Royal Rory” – McIlroy Wins 3rd Major at Hoylake

Rory McIlroy wins 2014 Open Championship (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy wins 2014 Open Championship (Getty Images)

The last time something this hot came out of Liverpool was 50 years ago when John, Paul, George and Ringo left town for the states and 3 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. Hmmm, 3 appearances on Ed Sullivan for the Beatles, 3 major championships for Rory.  That transitions nicely into our own “Fab Four” thoughts that can be taken away from this week at Hoylake.

Thought #1 – The professional firm of “Garcia, Fowler and McIlroy” – Who says you have to be 6’3”/220 to physically dominate a golf course? Shorter and lighter than most in stature, these three guys flat moved it out at Royal Liverpool. And although they did not win, Fowler and Garcia were most gracious in defeat. Rickie said, “to see him (Rory) win was pretty cool,” while Garcia’s best qutoes were probably non-verbal, when he blew kisses and touched his heart while pointing to the fans on #18. In just a few years, he’s gone from the major villain in the movie to one that most of us are pulling for to get the girl, that being HIS first major.

Thought #2 – No Thrill from Phil – Although a repeat wasn’t in the cards for Lefty, he battled back from an opening 74, with rounds of 70, 71 & 68. Watching Phil putt can drive you crazy. He’ll miss a few in the throw up zone and then, when you’ve written him off, drop in a bomb to make you think he’s on. A renowned expert said that going to the SuperStroke grip would help him eliminate his signature forward press, but it looks at times that he’s forward pressing past his right knee. In any case, a mighty “thank you” from Phil to Rory for taking the “Win the Next Major to Achieve a Career Grand Slam” out of his yard and placing it directly on McIlroy’s front porch.

Rickie Fowler lines up putt (Getty Images)

Rickie Fowler lines up his putt at Royal Liverpool  (Getty Images)

Thought #3 – Tiger’s Back, or is he? – After an opening round of 3 under and getting more ESPN airtime than LeBron James, Woods followed with 77-73-75 to finish 23 shots behind McIlory. Only 3 players making the cut had a worse score than el Tigre’, and with only 2 tournaments on his schedule (WGC Firestone and the PGA Championship) before Ryder Cup qualifying ends, Tiger puts some interesting decision making in the lap of Captain Tom Watson. When told during interviews that Tiger was +4 and still in the course, the Captain replied, “That’s not very good.” Watson wasn’t chosen for an encore as the U.S. Captain to just compete, but to bring the Cup home. At age 64, he closed with a final round 68 to clip Woods’ total by 5 shots; +1 for the Captain to +6 for possible Captain’s Pick who boasts a career Ryder Cup record of 13-14-2.

Thought #4 – A Club and Apparel Manufacturers’ Dream – NIKE/TaylorMade-Adidas/Cobra-Puma – These guys couldn’t be happier with the top three representing their brands going “head to toe, bag to ball” in the final 2 groups at Hoylake. Look for sales of Nike Covert 2, Cobra Bio Cell and TaylorMade SLDR drivers, along with apparel sales, to take a jump this week.

Rickie and Rory, then and now

Rickie and Rory, then and now (Twitter)

Ahhh, but back to Rory. The boy champion of Congressional and Kiawah has lost the baby fat and has morphed into a three-time major winner. He didn’t dodge the questions about pressure, and went out and took care of business on Sunday. He even handled a heckler professionally. And he’s the 3rd youngest player in history to capture 3 different majors.

The Beatles were approaching 25 years old when they left for a tour of the states in 1964 and BeatleMania got even bigger when Liverpool was in their rear view mirror.

Rory is 25 years old.

One more major win next April, and RoryMania will officially be in full swing.