SI Vault
 
True Temper
Tommy Bolt
May 04, 1998
To hear people talk, you'd think I was worse than John Dillinger. Tommy (Thunder) Bolt, that's me, the fellow who everybody says had such a temper. Now, I'll admit that I got frustrated with myself and flipped my lid a few times, but I won the 1958 U.S. Open, too. I beat Ben Hogan in a playoff at the 1960 Memphis Open, a tournament I'll never forget. I hit a ball stiff to the flag to beat him, and while the ball was still in the air, Hogan said, "Nice shot." Those were the only words he said all day.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 04, 1998

True Temper

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

To hear people talk, you'd think I was worse than John Dillinger. Tommy (Thunder) Bolt, that's me, the fellow who everybody says had such a temper. Now, I'll admit that I got frustrated with myself and flipped my lid a few times, but I won the 1958 U.S. Open, too. I beat Ben Hogan in a playoff at the 1960 Memphis Open, a tournament I'll never forget. I hit a ball stiff to the flag to beat him, and while the ball was still in the air, Hogan said, "Nice shot." Those were the only words he said all day.

I'm 82 now. I play four or five times a week, still shoot in the 70s and haven't thrown a club in years. I watch the young players on TV. Ernie Els, he's smooth. Tiger Woods? I can't say I believe he's worth the ballyhoo he's gotten. He needs to get his swing under control before he impresses me as much as Els does.

Speaking of Woods and control, do you remember when he got mad and threw his club a few months ago? I didn't like seeing that, and I'll tell you why. Like a lot of golfers in my day, I came from poverty. That means pressure. Money pressure. It's survival pressure, and that's the kind that can make you snap. If I didn't win, I might not eat dinner. I might not be able to get to the next tournament. Many's the time I sold my golf balls to get money to gas up the car. Can you imagine players today doing that? They've got competitive pressure, sure, but that's not the same as money pressure. It can be tough playing golf under competitive pressure, but those guys are millionaires and they shouldn't be throwing clubs.

Do you know what I'd do if I had the money these spoiled brats out there today get for playing? I'd live on half my income and give the rest to the poor, that's what. And I promise you, I'd never flip my lid even once.

1