10 Things You Should Know About Bobby Locke (Video)

20th November 2014

As the years go by any reminiscences about South African golf increasingly start with the name of Gary Player.  However, before him came Bobby Locke.  Whilst not in the legendary bracket of Mr. Player Locke is certainly worthy of further note and in no way should be forgotten by us.

Bobby Locke

Bobby Locke

On the anniversary of his birthday here’s my Top 10 Bobby Locke Facts (in chronological order): –

1. Arthur D’arcy “Bobby” Locke was born in Germiston, South Africa on 20th November 1917.  He died, aged 69, on 9th March 1987 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

2. He achieved a scratch handicap by 16 and went on to win the South African Boys (1931), South African Amateur (1935 and ’37) and South African Open (1935, ’37 – both as an Amateur – ’38, ’39, ’40, ’46, ’50, ’51 and ’55).


Watch Bobby Locke Win The 1940 South African Open

3. After World War II, which interrupted his career, he toured South Africa with Sam Snead playing a series of exhibition matches.  After Locke had won 12 of the 16 they played Snead encouraged him to try the PGA Tour in the USA.  He started playing in the US in April 1947.  He won six tournaments that season, including four in five weeks.  In 1948 he won the Chicago Victory National by 16-shots (a record).  In two and half seasons he played in 59 events; winning 11 (19%) and finishing in the top three in 30 (34%).

4. In 1949 he was banned from the PGA Tour.  The official line was that he had failed to turn up at events he had previously committed to after his first Open win (see 5. below).  Unofficially it is often said that the other players opportunistically sought to remove him because he was simply too good for them.  The ban was lifted in 1951 but Locke rarely returned, his stock having by this time risen in Europe and the Rest of the World.

5. He won The Open Championship four times, in 1949 (Royal St. George’s – after a 36-hole play-off), 1950 (Troon), 1952 (Royal Lytham) and 1957 (St. Andrews).

6. His win in the 1957 Open proved a little controversial.  Having hit his approach to the last hole to a yard he famously failed to properly replace his marker having been asked to move it.  The newsreel footage was clear and the rules at the time indicated he should have been disqualified.  However, the R&A, having already presented Locke with the Claret Jug, allowed the result to stand, arguing that to not do so would be inequitable.  He had secured a birdie at the last and won by three strokes from Peter Thomson.

Watch Bobby Locke Win The 1957 Open At St. Andrews

7. Whilst very accurate he played with a relatively unattractive in-to-out swing and hit big draws for almost all of his full shots.  He was famous for being a smart dresser often playing in plus-fours.  He was impenetrable with a superb temperament but also notoriously slow.  He would only ever play at his own pace, irrespective of any penalties that he was threatened with.

Watch Bobby Locke’s Famous Golf Swing

8. He quickly realised: “No matter how well I might play the long shots, if I couldn’t putt, I would never win”.  He therefore became a magnificent putter, in many people’s opinion (including Gary Player’s) the best there has ever been.  He again had an unorthodox style, trapping the ball and imparting a hooking, top spin to it.  He later coined the often used golfing maxim: “You drive for show but putt for dough”.

9. His competitive career was shortened by a serious car accident in 1959.  Headaches and sight issues thereafter meant he never fully recovered his A-game.

10. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1977.  He was only the second non-USA or UK entrant after his fellow South African Gary Player (1974).


Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

Just A Warning For Patrick Reed Please (Video)

6th November 2014

Patrick Reed sure likes making the news at these WGC events – and not always for his golf !

First up back in March he famously described himself as “one of the top 5 players in the world”.  To be fair he had just become the youngest winner of a WGC Championship, the Cadillac aged 23 at a Trump-revamped Doral, and no doubt was feeling pretty good about himself.  Although in his defence he also backed it up by reminding everyone of his stellar amateur US college career at Augusta State and his two other recent Pro wins.  “I don’t see a lot of guys that have done that besides Tiger Woods and the legends of the game,” he went on.  The words have haunted him since although his strong performance at the recent Ryder Cup again made people take note.

Today he raised the bar a little higher.  At the WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai he was caught swearing and using homophobic language after three-putting his first hole, the 10th.  As the video below shows the on course microphones clearly picked him up berating himself with the words “Nice f***ing three-putt you f***ing faggot.”

There were very few spectators about and no doubt only a few of those that were in the vicinity spoke English.

TV commentators apologised and later on The PGA Tour issued a statement saying: “The PGA Tour Conduct Unbecoming regulations prohibit the use of obscene language on the golf course.  The PGA Tour will deal with this matter internally in accordance with its regulations.”

The matter will again bring into focus The Tour’s longstanding policy of not disclosing any player fines or suspensions for conduct or language.  This lack of transparency makes it hard for the public to gauge the penalties applied and the consistency of the approaches adopted.  No doubt we can all recall instances where Tiger Woods, and for that matter many other Pro golfers, have sworn badly on camera.

After being made aware of the incident Patrick Reed quickly apologised via his recently established twitter account – @PReedGolf.  His 7th tweet read: –

Whilst the image of golf is important and millions of golf fans around the world will have been watching it does seem a little harsh to me to call a guy up for swearing at himself.  Reed knows he behaved poorly, understands his responsibilities to the game and was quick to apologise.  Whilst we will never know how the Tour ends up dealing with the incident I certainly don’t believe an excessive punishment is warranted.  A reprimand and perhaps a fine is all that is needed.

If anything it is a good reminder to all golfers that we must try harder not to allow our frustrations to get the better of us and to try our best not to swear on the course.  Often far easier said than done.


Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.

I Love A Hole-In-One (Video)

31st October 2014

Is there anything better than a hole-in-one in golf ?  I don’t think so.

I have achieved a few things in my golf playing life but the hole-in-one sadly still alludes me.

They certainly come in all shapes and sizes – long holes (even some par 4s) and short holes with every club in the bag having been used to record this special achievement over the years.  Yes – even the putter.

What got me thinking about it was Lee Westwood’s today at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia on the PGA Tour.  This one was a little bit special.  Playing a hybrid on the 11th hole he hit the ball 225 yards right on line and it rolled in perfectly.

Watch it here: –


Copyright © 2014, Mark Eley. All rights reserved.