A streak of good putting carried 27-year-old Bill Casper, Jr., of Chula Vista, Calif., to victory in the U.S. Open golf championship. He used only 114 putts during his four rounds over the west course of the Winged Foot Golf Club at Mamaroneck, N.Y., in June. This was a thirty-under-par performance on the putting greens. His rounds were 71, 68, 69, and 74 for an aggregate 282.
The tourney was forced to a new format by the weather. Two thunderstorms broke on what was to have been the third and last day when two rounds are customarily played. The storms caused two postponements and delayed play so much that officials decided to break with tradition and limit the third day's program to a single 18-hole round. The last round was played on Sunday afternoon after 2 P.M. in deference to a New York law affecting sports events.
Casper won by one stroke over Bob Rosburg of Palo Alto, Calif., while the home-club pro, Claude Harmon, finished in a tie for third at 284 along with Mike Souchak, who had once worked as an assistant to Harmon at this same club. A four-way tie at 69 developed in the first round when Ben Hogan, Gene Littler, Dow Finsterwald, and Dick Knight turned in like scores.
P.G.A. Rosburg became a champion in his own right several weeks later when he annexed the Professional Golfers Association crown at Minneapolis on August 2. In this 72-hole tourney, Rosburg closed with a 66 for 277 and then waited in the clubhouse while Jerry Barber tossed away his chance of winning on the last two holes where pars would have meant victory. Barber scored 5's instead of 4's on the last two holes to end with 278, which sent him into a tie for second with Doug Sanders, former amateur star. Defending champion Dow Finsterwald was next at 280.
However, the Professional Golfer-of-the-Year award went to Art Wall, Jr., of Honesdale, Pa., 35, who earned more than $50,000 in prize money during the year. His outstanding triumph came in the Masters tournament early in April at Augusta, Ga., where he rallied with a closing 66 by bagging birdies on five of the last six holes. His earlier rounds were 73, 74, and 71 and his composite 284 put him one stroke ahead of Cary Middlecoff at the end. Record crowds attended on all four days at the Augusta National Golf Club
Ryder Cup. The supremacy of the U.S. professionals was again established in the Ryder Cup matches against the British. This biennial series was played on November 7—8 over the El Dorado Country Club, Palm Desert, Calif. The triumph was the tenth for the United States in thirteen meetings and re-versed a decision which the British gained in 1957. Sam Snead led the victors; the visitors were piloted by Dai Rees of Wales. In the foursomes of the first day, the United States held the edge by 2½ to 1 1/2 before going on to annex the singles next day, 6 to 2.
British Open. Gary Player, who was not eligible for the Ryder Cup squad since he is from Johannesburg, South Africa, became the youngest winner to capture the British Open in the modern history of the event. The 23-year-old athlete scored 284 at Muirfield, Scotland, early in July. Player led Flory Von Donck of Belgium and Fred Bullock of Scotland who tied for second at the Muirfield course with 286. Player's rounds were 75, 71, 70, and 68. Peter Thomson, the defending champion from Australia, finished ten strokes back of Player.