In this June 19, 1955, file photo, Jack Fleck, of...

In this June 19, 1955, file photo, Jack Fleck, of Davenport, La., poses with his championship trophy after beating Ben Hogan, right, by three strokes in an 18 hole playoff in the U.S. Open golf tournament at the Olympic Club, Lake Course, in San Francisco, Calif. Credit: AP

SAN FRANCISCO -- Fifty-seven years later, Jack Fleck remembers plenty about his stunning win in the U.S. Open, especially the character of the man he beat. "Ben Hogan was my idol since caddie days," said the 91-year-old former champion, who was back Tuesday at the Olympic Club, site of his greatest moment.

Fleck was an obscure first-year tour pro when he upset Hogan, one of golf's legends.

"People said I out-Hoganed Hogan," he said of the icon who never was known for his warmth. Tuesday, Fleck was Hogan's biggest defender. "He was a fabulous, fabulous man," the 1955 champion said. "He treated me as if I was a long-lost son."

Maybe Fleck might not be known as a one-shot wonder if his putter had been just a little better in the 1960 Open at Cherry Hills. Had he putted half as well as he had in 1955, Fleck said, "Mr. Palmer would not have won that tournament."

Billy Casper, who overcame a seven-stroke deficit against Arnold Palmer and won in a playoff at Olympic in the 1966 Open, was also back. He recalled having confided to Palmer early in the final round that he was shooting for second place, and that Palmer told him, "I'll try to do everything to help you."

Casper deftly turned aside a question about never having gotten his due for having won 52 PGA Tour events. But one of his admirers stuck up for him. Tiger Woods, who exchanged a big hug with Casper, said this when asked about Casper having scored an upset over Palmer: "He won 50-plus events, three major championships, that's not that big an upset."

Club pro praises Phil

New Jersey club pro Mark McCormick was thrilled to have qualified for the Open at Canoe Brook, and was thrilled again to play a practice round with fellow lefthander Phil Mickelson. "He's just very genuine, straightforward, honest," McCormick said. "Just a lot of fun to be around."

More golf news


FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.