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Wild Bill Mehlhorn was born Decmber 2, 1898 and played the tour in its’ early days. He won 20 times between 19 23 and 1930 including a 5 victory campaign in 1926 and a 6 win season in 1928. Wild Bill never won a major although he came in the top ten in 14 of them. A remarkable career for someone known as one of the worst putters in the history of championship golf.
Stories of Mehlhorn having 10 feet coming back from a 4 footer abound, but tee to green by all accounts he hit it like a god. Of Mehlhorn Ben Hogan simply said "The best I ever saw from tee to green was Bill Mehlhorn", and from Tommy Armour we get "From that tee to the green he was perfection!"
Among the many people that Ben Hogan took instruction from most people are not aware of the fact that Mehlhorn was one of the few fellas that Old Henny Bogan would regularly call. He'd call Wild Bill just to shoot the guff. Sam Byrd incidentally was another and guess what? Byrd took lessons from Mehlhorn.
In point of fact, Mehlhorn refused to ever charge a pro for a lesson, Byrd among them, but the story goes that a short time after every lesson an envelope stuffed with cash would somehow find its way to Wild Bills doorstep. I guess you could say that the name Sam Byrd was short for integrity.
Mehlhorns thoughts on golf were about the natural movements of the human body and likening the actions in golf to actions employed by all in their daily lives. Under pressure, Wild Bill felt that the most natural of actions would hold up best. Like Vardon and Cotton and Jones, Mehlhorn also believed that the thumbs and forefingers were the critical digits of the hands for feel and precision.
Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones Jr. (March 17, 1902 – December 18, 1971) was one of the greatest golfers to ever compete. Jones skills took him to golf's summit in the days when amateur golf was respected and held in much higher esteem than the professional game. (I will be talking of Walter Hagen in America and of Henry Cotton in Britain and their importance to the transformation of public attitude towards the professional game in future Blogs)Jones succeeded on both a national and international level winning championships on both sides of the pond.
Martin Ayers talks about DOCF (Diometrically Opposed Circular Forces)
Magic with Matthew Furman at the PNC Father Son Challenge