Meet the Silver Fox

Document Sample
Meet the Silver Fox Powered By Docstoc
					12                                                                                                                        The American Golfer



     MEET THE SILVER FOX
     By CLARENCE BUDINGTON KELLAND




           TOMMY ARMOUR, the Silver Fox
           of Golf starts a new series of articles
           in the May issue of The American
           Golfer. This series will consist of
           penshot personalities dealing with the
           virtues and faults of the leading stars
           of the game, both from the physical
           and mental sides. Armour has a direct
           clear-cut way of saying exactly what
           he thinks. He also has one of the
           keenest analytical minds golf has ever
           known, and his opinions carry weight
           among stars and duffers alike. This
           series should prove one of the most
           interesting features of the current
           year—THE EDITOR.




     T     OMMY ARMOUR has a mouth like a
           steel trap, a nose like the take-off of a
     ski jump, a pair of hands like the fins of
     a man-eating shark, and a couple of
     saturnine eyes which regard the world with
     the sort of dour humor that indicates he
     would enjoy seeing you get a compound
     fracture of the leg.
        He also plays golf.
        He is in addition a businessman.
        As a salesman in the golf shop of his
     club he is unique, not to say awe-inspiring.
     Although it is a fact that Tommy came to
     this country as an amateur, he had all the
     qualifications necessary to elevate him to the
     top ranks of the professional, and among
     these was an acid gift of salesmanship.
     There are few more entertaining sights than
     to see Tommy go to work on a new member
      —or even a visitor to the shop. The first
     time I ever watched his methods they were
     turned loose on me, so I am able to speak         —so gently!—and then walks away with                ". . . a mouth like a steel trap, a nose
                                                                                                           like the take-off of a ski jump, a pair
     from sad experience.                              dragging step as if there were things in the        of hands like the fins of a man-eating
        You come into the shop and meet Mr.            world too terrible for the human mind to            shark, and a couple of saturnine eyes,
     Armour. He does not fall on your neck in          consider.                                           that view the world with dour humor''
     raptures of joy. There is little if anything         If you turn then and run you may be
     of the effusive in his make-up. Instead of        saved; but if, as ninety-nine men out of a
     that he peers at you with basilisk eyes cal-      hundred will do, you ask what's the matter        "Look at my one," says Mr. Armour, and
     culating the strength of your sales-resis-        with your driver, you are lost.                you find yourself with a club in your
     tance and estimating your possibilities as a         "Nothing," says Tommy. "Nothing at          hands. He never says, "Take a look at
     customer and as a human being. He snaps           all."                                          mine," it is always, "My one". Then, sad-
     off a couple of Scottish consonants and then         "It's a darned good driver," you say.       dened by so much inefficiency in the world
     walks over to your golf bag and picks out            "What do ye play around in?" Tommy          he says pitifully, "Who sold you such a set
     your driver. You watch with interest. He          asks.                                          of clubs?"
     waggles the club; he grips it; then he holds         "Ninety," you say.                             That will be about the finish. Presently
     it out in front of him with a gesture so elo-        "I wonder at it," says Tommy, with just     you walk out of the shop with three new
     quent that you begin to shrivel inside your       the hint of a side glance at your golf bag.    woods, a full set of irons and a putter—
     clothes and to wish you had gone to Chicago          By that time you are convinced that you     and a date to take a number of lessons from
     instead.                                          are unclean and unfit for human society.       Mr. Armour at an unpleasantly early hour
        He never so much as even glances at you        You are marked as an outsider, a Pariah, a     when you really want to sleep.
     again, but his tanned, angular face takes on      leper, by that golf club. You know no gen-        They say he is the greatest iron player of
     an expression of such utter scorn—mixed           tleman would play with such a tool, and that   all time. Maybe. Me, I say his chief claim
     with a trifle of sorrow—that you feel ex-         to go out on a golf course with it is a more   to fame is salesmanship.
     actly as if you had been caught stealing a        shameful thing than teeing up your ball in        It has been my privilege to play with him
     blanket off the baby's bed on a cold night.       the rough.                                     daily for weeks at a stretch. Once I played
     He puts your driver back in the bag gently             "What's wrong with it?'' you insist.      nine successive (Continued on page 68)
68                                                                                             The American Golfer




     MEET THE SILVER FOX
                                (Continued from page 12)
     rounds with him over the exceedingly       versationalist, and a drinker of beer.
      long and difficult South Course at        He makes observations. He is tempera-
     Boca Raton. His highest score for that     mental as a soprano with a frog in
     series was sixty-nine. And it was all      her throat, but at the same time he
     under greater pressure than he has         keeps both his feet on the ground. And,
     ever been in an open championship,         in spite of his being dour, sour, acid,
     because I was his opponent, and we         vertiginous, and endowed with special
     were playing five dollar Nassaus with      and painful brands of poison, he is the
     me getting a stroke a hole—and his         sort of companion you would travel
     endeavor was to make a better and          miles to sit with.
     nobler and wiser man of me. He did.           Tommy Armour is a great golfer—
        Tommy never says an unkind thing        a superlative golfer. But he is some-
     to anybody accidentally; if he drops       thing more than that—he is a personage.
     acid on you it is because he wants to.     He has what it takes to stand out from
     He never flatters, and he never falls on   the herd. There have been moments
     anybody's neck. But if he likes you         when I would like to shove an icicle
     you find it out. I wouldn't know just      through his cold heart; there have been
     how you find it out, because he doesn't    moments when I wish his confounded
     tell you, or show you. But in some mys-    Scottish consonants would split splin-
     terious, dour, in-growing way he lets      ters off his front teeth ; but for all that,
     you know you are in—and then, if you       at any time, I will take a long train
     are a member of the lodge in good          ride to spend an evening with him. And
     standing, you feel honored. For, among     I'm pretty choosy about whom I get
     a number of things, Tommy Armour is        shut in a room with alone for more
     a gentleman, and a judge of human          than fifteen minutes.
     critters, and a sportsman, and a con-         I guess I like him.