HBO is producing a new documentary on the dramatic 1960 US Open at Cherry Hills, Colorado. It will be released on the day before the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.
Considered by some to be the greatest championship since Francis Ouimet defeated Harry Vardon, the 1960 Open was won by Arnold Palmer. Palmer was eight strokes behind midway through the competition. In the third round, the gap closed by one, when leader Mike Souchak hit his tee shot on 18 out of bounds. Then, in the final round, Palmer came out with a charge. He drove the 313 yard par 4 first, and after missing his eagle putt, settled for birdie. That was the first of six birdies in seven holes. By the end of the day, he had shot a 65 to win.
A lot of other legends of golf were in contention that day: Jack Nicklaus, playing as an amateur, finished second. Souchak, E. J. (Dutch) Harrison, Ted Kroll, Dow Finsterwald, Julius Boros and Jack Fleck finished in a tie for third. Ben Hogan had a chance to win, needing pars on the last two holes. He finished with a six and a seven – four over par. Sam Snead tied for 19th.
It’s the Hogan-Nicklaus-Palmer connection that makes the tournament poignant. There was a remarkable moment at that US Open, when golf’s past, present and future stood together on a tee. Ben Hogan was being eclipsed by Arnold Palmer, while the future, Jack Nicklaus waited. Palmer, the present, won the tournament; Nicklaus, the future finished second. And Hogan, the aging legend, slipped behind.
I wish I got HBO so I could see this documentary.