Last week's annual assemblage at Los Angeles, starting off the winter's professional golfing tour, would ordinarily have ended a virtual three-month tournament layoff for most of the professionals. But not this season. Last year marked the tour's coming of age as a relentless, year-long business in that the usually light autumn program was filled by six full-scale attractions. Also, in 1958 George S. May's two events were dropped by May, but 10 new 72-hole competitions were added. So the total prize money came to a record $1,300,000. Even more money, including a possible $40,000 affair in San Francisco come September, is the prospect for 1959.
As the statistics below emphasize, 1958 was the year of the Young Turks. In the 12 months just completed, Billy Casper, Arnold Palmer, Ken Venturi and Dow Finsterwald won 13 tournaments between them, collecting over $186,000 in combined winnings. Casper, 27, reaping $56,000, was the year's leading money winner. Palmer, 29, won the Masters, in addition to almost $46,000, while Venturi, 27, and PGA Champion Finsterwald, 29, also earned well over $40,000 in prize money. Of course, the oldtimers were not entirely muscled out of the picture. Julius Boros, at 38, had a fine competitive year, as did Art Wall, 35, and Sam Snead, nearing 50.
The rookies who made the strongest impression in 1958 are the four pictured here. Of this talented group, all in their middle 20s, Bob Goalby, Wes Ellis and Tommy Jacobs each won a circuit tourney, with only Tony Lema going winless. All won around $15,000 prize money.
Par golf, by the way, is not yet obsolete. Par figures in all of 1958's regular events would have won three tournaments, including the U.S. Open, and $38,000.