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BACK NEXT Chapter 15 A Record Return to The Open Page 115

hay day, although it was reported that Dick used his brassie off the tee on a number of occasions. At Ganton GB only needed 3 ½ points from the singles but, following a tongue lashing from their captain Ben Hogan – still on crutches from his near fatal road accident – the Americans came out fighting. Dick was one of six home players to feel the backlash and the Americans got home by 7-5. In the team was Laurie Ayton Jr, of Worthing, previously at South Shields - one of the famous St Andrews golfing family. He got in to the side after performing well in the previous year’s News of the World Matchplay Championship where he got through to the final, which he lost to Fred Daly. He was left ‘on the bench’ by captain Henry Cotton and became the sixth of the seven men who would never get another chance.

Bert Gadd playing in the Daily Mail Tournament, 1946That September Dick Burton became pro at the Coombe Hill club and, like that other larger than life character who was there before him-Archie Compston, he was not a man to mince his words. Clad in his overcoat, he taught members with patience that would not be stretched too far and was known to terminate a lesson abruptly if he felt his time and their money was being wasted. The day he arrived at Coombe Hill Dick played in the PGA News of the World tournament at Hoylake and celebrated with a 7&6 win over Bill Shankland. He then beat his brother John 2&1 in the second round, but did not progress to the final, which was contested between Henry Cotton and Jimmy Adams. Henry won his third title and Jimmy was ‘bridesmaid’ yet again. Jimmy was runner-up three times in the Matchplay and was never to take the title.

Players had been limited to fourteen clubs since 1939, but George Duncan always felt that eleven was more than enough and he could easily manage with eight. Percy Alliss played George in the News of the World and, after the match ended, he issued a £500 challenge to anyone who would play them, each to have eight clubs. George was in his early sixties and their combined ages were then well over 100, but there were no takers! George was still ‘galloping’ of course and when the match ended on the 17th green, 2&1 to Percy, there were three clear holes behind them. The golf between the two great sportsmen was as good as any played all day and an object lesson to any young golfers watching

As I write in 2003 it is interesting to read that Seve Ballesteros is now advocating that pros should be limited to twelve clubs, although he is not in favour of a return to the pace of play required in my day and has been at odds with the authorities over penalties imposed upon him in that respect.