Sunday, August 10, 2014

Congratulations to Two Great PGA Champions

Rory McIlroay with the PGA trophy, 2014.
In gloaming, a young man won his second PGA Championship today, beating the field in the tournament's 96th showing since it was first conducted in 1916. It was a classic rock 'em, sock 'em match, featuring crowd favorite Phil Mickelson, hard charging Henrik Stenson, trey cool Rickie Fowler and world number one, Northern Irishman and eventual winner, Rory McIlroy.   

I have often been asked who was the best/most accomplished golfer I ever caddied for. For many years, I answered, there was no one special. But, digging back, there, in fact, was at least one, for there was a gentleman who I caddied for many times who was once the PGA Champion. He too had an accent, but it was a different brogue from the other side of the Irish Sea. The man's name was Jock Hutchison. 

Jock Hutchison (background) was an
honorary starter at the Masters around
the time I caddied for him.
Jock was born in 1884 in the home of golf, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland. He was a naturalized U.S. citizen. Mr. Hutchison won the 5th PGA in 1920. By the time I began caddying in the 1960s, he had retired as club professional at Glen View Club, the course where I looped. By then in his ninth decade on this earth, Jock played a thrice weekly afternoon round with his friends, the Bishop brothers.
Jack Fowler Hutchison was born in St. Andrews, Scotland in 1884. He immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s, settling in Pittsburgh at the Allegheny Country Club. By 1918, he was at Glen View Club in the Village of Golf, Illinois. In 1919, he became a PGA professional and in 1920, he earned his U.S. citizenship.
Jovial Jock, as he was known outside of competition, was, in the words of World Golf Hall of Fame member Herbert Warren Wind, "talkative, high-spirited, and a contagious chuckler."
Here are more details.

Jock Hutchison with the Senior PGA Trophy 1937.
In 1918, a year after America entered the “Great War” and doughboys marched and died on foreign soil, Scottish immigrant John Fowler “Jock” Hutchison assumed the head professional position at Glen View Club in the Village of Golf.
Hutchison earned PGA membership in 1919 and would become a popular fixture at Glen View, giving lessons and doing what he knew best: competing professionally at the highest level. 
Before his 35-year tenure closed in 1953 at Glen View, Hutchison had finished runner-up in the 1920 U.S. Open, captured the 1920 PGA Championship in Flossmoor by a 1-up decision over J. Douglas Edgar, become the first U.S. citizen to capture an Open championship (accomplishing the feat in 1921 in his hometown of St. Andrews) and added two Western Opens and the 1937 and ‘47 Senior PGA Championships to his résumé.
PGA Life Member Ed Oldfield Sr., who served at Glen View Club from 1961 to 1989 and who counts LPGA champions Betsy King and Jan Stephenson among his many students, recalled Hutchison in the 1970s assuming a niche on the far side of the practice range. Oldfield said that Hutchison would play exclusively three times a week with a trio of brothers from the area. 
“Jock was always impeccably dressed, wearing a big smile, a kerchief around his neck, and beckoning me over to him whenever I passed,” said Oldfield, who, like Hutchison, is an Illinois Golf Hall of Fame member. “I can still hear Jock call out, ‘Come here, laddie. I’ve got something to show you.’ He was forever showing me a new golf tip.”

Jim Garard of Northfield, a Glen View Club member since 1948, recalled an exhibition match that same season at the club, featuring Hutchison, Babe Zaharias, Byron Nelson, and Bobby Locke.
“Jock showed me something that day,” said Garard. “He teed off on the 428-yard opening hole, hitting into a bunker on the right side of the fairway. He used a 4-wood, which hit the lip of the bunker and the ball returning to his feet. He stepped up again with the 4-wood, cleared the lip and put the ball 10 feet from the hole and then sank the putt for par.
“He was a lovable man, very special to all he met. He was a real icon.”

Here is to two great PGA champions -- Rory McElroy and Jock.

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