US club backs amateurs to beat me and Weetman

After the 1951 Ryder Cup match at Pinehurst, Harry Weetman and I were booked for a series of six exhibition matches. We fixed ourselves up with a Chevrolet and had our names painted on the doors – Max Faulkner, British Open Champion, Harry Weetman, British Matchplay Champion. We had a miniature Union Jack flying on one wing and a Stars and Stripes on the other.

Max and Harry Weetman during their US Exhibition Matches in 1951. Max is holding the putter he used to win the 1951 Open

The first match was at Morganton, South Carolina, where Julius Boros, US Open winner in 1952 and 1963, was pro. He looked after us very well and we had a fine match against him and a leading amateur of the day called Harvey Ward. We won fairly comfortably.

The second match was at Myrtle Beach and the members met us in the car park when we arrived. We had lunch with them and just before we got up to go and change I asked them who our opponents were going to be.

“Two of our members will play you,” they said.

“What are their handicaps,” I asked.

“One is 9, the other is 4.”

Harry and I were nonplussed. “Do they want to play for something?” I asked.

The match fee was $100 but we managed to get another $50 each for the game. “They’ll beat you two,” they warned.

On the first tee there were only about 100 spectators.

Harry looked at me before teeing off but didn’t say anything. The hole was about 400 yards long and dead straight.

He flexed his huge forearms and crashed into the ball. I have never seen him hit such a drive in my life. It went as straight as a bullet and couldn’t have finished more than 50 yards short of the green.

The people watched in silence and then broke out into an excited chatter.

I teed up quietly and gave mine a real fourpenny one. It sailed through the air and finished about 20 yards behind Harry’s. The crowd had never seen anything like it.

The two member hit good drives of about 220 yards and one missed the green with his second while the other was just on the edge.

We had to walk about 100 yards forward to get to my ball and I chipped it close to the pin. Harry put his stone dead.

We were having a good chuckle walking to the second tee. The people were saying things like: “Gee, I’ve never seen the ball hit like that before.”

They honestly thought that two of their members could beat the British Open and Matchplay Champions.

On the 9th tee we were seven up but then eased off because the spectators had become interested in our play and the match could have been over by the 11th. We began to lark about a bit, playing some trick shots, but still beat them 7 and 6.

Walking back to the clubhouse we passed a big pond and the members told us there were alligators in it. I was keen to see one and stood at the edge of the bank looking down into the water.

Harry crept up to me, dived and grabbed my ankle with that great hand of his. God, did I jump. Harry was paralysed with laughter.

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