January 21, 1966The purse this year at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is $6 million with a winning share at $1,080,000. Clearly corporate sponsorship has boosted the winnings for top finishers of the former Crosby National Pro-Am tournament.In 1966 the purse was a modest $104,000. Adjusted for inflation that would be roughly $660,000 today.
The professional golfers took the tournament seriously but the entertainers did what they did best. Television comic actor Forrest Tucker was quoted in a Chuck Yoakum story.
“F Troop” Tucker drew a roar from the gallery. He had just missed a putt and the crowd gave and audible “Ohhh.”
Tucker turned and addressed the crowd: “What’s so tragic?” I don’t do this for a living.”
His partner, Negro pro Charlie Sifford, then sank his saving putt and sighed; “Yes, but I do.”
Long time sports editor Johnny Nettleship wrote a comic column about trying to take in action on all three golf courses scraping his fenders on trees and trying to find parking.
The old clippings can be jarring at times to read and are a measure of how language has evolved in the over 40 years since they were written. In a post Tiger Woods world, if Sifford’s ethnic origin was considered necessary for the story he would likely be called the first African-American to play the PGA tour.