The Cut : The Cut - Winter 2016
GOLF & LEISURE 183 Baltusrol was also the course that saw the words “Jack is Back” posted on the scoreboard when the 40-year-old Nicklaus emerged from a winless hibernation to take his third US Open after a titanic battle with Japan’s Isao Aoki in 1980. Nicklaus shot a record-equalling 7-under 63 in the first round on his way to establishing a new Open scoring record of 8-under 272. Aoki, too, broke the old record in his meritorious runner-up finish. “Here’s Lee” might have been an equally apt sentiment to describe the performance of an unknown called Lee Trevino at the 1967 US Open. Trevino was only at the event courtesy of his wife, who had secretly mailed in his entry form for the qualifying tournament. After making it through to the championship proper, the 27-year- old El Paso pro arrived in New Jersey with about as much cash to his name as he had worldly wisdom at the time. nearby Winged Foot, the San Francisco Golf Club, Aronimink, Bethpage and Newport Country Club. Baltusrol last hosted a PGA event – and a major – when Phil Mickelson tapped a historic plaque set into the 18th fairway for good luck and proceeded to birdie the final hole to take home his first Wanamaker Trophy by a stroke from Thomas Bjorn and Steve Elkington in 2005. That championship was the eighth of its kind (seven Opens and the first PGA) held at Baltusrol, the first having been won by Willie Anderson way back in 1903, the second of four Opens Anderson would win in a five-year span between 1901 and 1905. Baltusrol was the venue for Jack Nicklaus’ win in the Open in 1967, lashing a 1-iron with brute strength from a downhill lie to the elevated 18th green to secure his second Open title by four strokes from his keenest rival of the era, Arnold Palmer. The plaque Mickelson tapped with his 4-wood in 2005 marks the spot from which the Golden Bear launched this meteoric strike. Jack Nicklaus victorious after winning the US PGA at Baltusrol in 1967.
The Cut - Spring 2016