Mickey Rooney impresses me – in more ways than one

At Tucson in the 1960/61 winter tour, I was drawn to play with the actor Mickey Rooney in the Pro-Am. He had starred in more than 200 films, many with Judy Garland.

I met him on the tee and we stood talking. I am not particularly tall, at 5 feet 11” in those days, but I was a head taller than Mickey, at five feet and no inches. Like me, he was no longer in the first flush of youth.

“Come and meet my wife,” he said. “I’ve just got married.”

We walked over to this gorgeous model, who was little more than 20 years old and a good 6 feet in height. My first conscious thought was that he was winding me up, and thankfully I just stopped myself from blurting this out. The girl was indeed his new wife.

When Mickey teed up to drive off, I was spellbound. I have never seen anyone in my life stand so far from the ball.

He had a very long driver and had his arms straight out in front of him. If he had fallen down prostrate, his head would still not have reached the ball.

But he played a damned good game. I couldn’t help laughing. I was thinking that if only all the high-handicap golfers at home would copy this, they would stop their slices overnight.

Mickey was around 10 handicap and played with a draw. This was no surprise because it is a physical impossibility to slice the ball with a swing as flat as his. Despite being so far away from the ball, he always reached it; none of his shots were off the toe.

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