Memories from the 1952 US Open in Dallas

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by GEORGE RIBA/WFAA TV

wfaa.com

Posted on June 21, 2012 at 7:05 PM

DALLAS, TX - The last time the US Open was held in North Texas was 60 years ago. The site was the Northwood Club in North Dallas.

At the time, Dwight Eisenhower was campaigning to become President. Shirley Booth won an academy award for best actress and Gary Cooper was the best actor,
 
The best picture was the "Greatest Show on Earth" while Kay Starr's "Wheel of Fortune” was the hottest song of the year.
 
When the US open came to Dallas that year, it was just the second time ever that the Championship had been held in Texas.
 
Now 90, Bill Trombley made the cut that year. "Well, the fact that in the third round and I sort of blew it and I made my mind up that the next day I’d be back and make up for it. I shot 70. There were only two 70's shot on Sunday, so I did come back pretty good," Trombley said.
 
Trombley finished in a tie for 19th and took home a whopping $100. At the time, he qualified as the pro at Brookhollow Country Club in Dallas. To him, the US Open will always be the biggest and the best.
 
"It's the number one tournament in the country,” Trombley says. "It has more prestige and means more than any other tournament they play. It just goes on for a hundred years. I mean, you know, you get to where nothing can compare."
 
Don January was one of the founders of the Seniors tour which is now known as the Champions Tour. He missed the cut at the US Open in 1952.
 
"What's a major, who the hell knows what a major is," January says. "Any tournament is hard to win. They say in these majors they're prepped, this is done differently and that's different, it's the same guys. Everybody has got to put their britches on the same way every morning, so you know, some guys just win more than others because they're better."
 
January remembers that weekend, not for the US Open, but for the time he spent with his girlfriend.
 
"I came out Saturday with her and watched some of the final day," January said."I know it was really good for Dallas but then I was more interested in that little girl than I was in the tournament. It worked out pretty good; we were married 56 years before I lost her. I think it was all worth it."
 
Herb Durham, who is now 87, qualified for the 1952 US Open as an amateur. It was his only chance to ever play in the tournament. His practice round may have been his most memorable day.
 
"I showed up and I said who are we playing with, Johnny Bulla and Sam Snead," Durham said. "I was pretty nervous then, particularly on the first tee when I was trying to hit the ball. I thought, oh goodness, Lord don't let me hit anybody or hurt anybody off the first tee."

Dow Finsterwald was 23 for the 1952 US Open. He won the PGA Championship in 1958 and was the player of the year that season. Finsterwald says he was supposed to graduate that weekend from Ohio University.
 
"I had an appointment with the assistant to the president (at Ohio University) and told him my situation and how important it was for me to play in the US Open with that being my chosen career at that time," Finsterwald said."He didn't think very long and said well Dow, you've attended in absentia you might as well graduate the same way so that's the way I got down here."
 
Julios Boros won the tournament in 1952 and took home 4,000 dollars. That's quite a difference from this year’s US Open purse of 8 million dollars and 1.4 to the winner.
 
"Yeah, I couldn't believe it when I saw it in the paper," Durham said."Julios Boros won 4,000 dollars for winning the US Open and the man that finished last week at St Judes won 10,000."
 
"When I went on tour in 1956, they had 30 money spots, 21 through 30 were a $100," January said. "I finished in the second tournament I played in Tucson, Arizona, I finished 3rd. I won $700. I thought I killed every turkey in town. God I had all the money, it was coming out of my ears I had so much."
 
The last time the US Open was held in Texas was 1969 in Houston. For the Northwood Club, the 1952 US Open remains the only stop ever in Dallas.

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