The ultimate golf match in which gambling was involved was in 1956 two days before the Bing Crosby Clambake which is play over three courses in Monterey, Ca. early in the year. It used to be the first Pro-golf tourney of the year. The three courses were Pebble Beach, Spyglass, and Cypress Point. This match was set up to play at Cypress Point two days before the opening round of the tournament. They announced they would play Pebble Beach, then change venue so there wouldn’t be a crowd. The original bet started with Eddie Lowery, Frances Quimet’s caddie in the 1913 U.S. Open, and Geo Coleman, a noted amateur of the era. Both were very wealthy and active USGA executive members.
Eddie Lowery boasted to Geo Coleman he had the best two man best ball team in the world and would take on any too Professional golfers. Eddie and Geo had been making challenges on almost any thing for years and egged each other on. Geo said any two and Eddie said any two. The bet and match was on when Geo looked at Byron Nelson, now retired for 10 years, who nodded. Geo said he had one call to make and excused himself and left the room to make a call. He called Bing Crosby’s home where he new Ben Hogan was. He got Ben on the phone and told Ben that Byron said he’d play if Ben would play and Ben said ok.
The two other players that Eddie was claiming could beat were two amateurs, Ken Venturi (Byron Nelson’s protégé) and Harvie Ware (Ben Hogan’s protégé). Match is on so go read the book “The Match” The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever.
Read more →