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
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.