Skip to main content
Original Issue

The Saint gets revenge on King Tut

Some West Virginia old folk carry their long-standing rivalry into the finals of the National Amateur

"The 1964 U.S. Amateur Championship, which was played last week along the handsome, rolling fairways of the Canterbury Golf Club on the outskirts of Cleveland, was a source of considerable joy for oldtimers and sentimentalists. It was the 21st time that Bill Campbell, the winner, had essayed the championship and the eighth time for Ed Tutwiler, the 45-year-old runner-up, who is Campbell's senior by four years. As these two old codgers—or so they had seemed to most of the other 148 contestants—walked wearily through the last nine of their oh-so-close 36-hole final match on Saturday, middle-aged spectators were smiling happily at one another, buoyed by this demonstration that their own generation could still show the young hot shots a cool shot or two. It was as if the twist and the Beatles had never happened, and one could almost hear Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller playing background music.

As it well should have been, the final was a match of real drama. Campbell and Tutwiler are both West Virginians, having been raised in the rival towns of Huntington and Charleston. In 1939, when Ed Tutwiler was attending Lawrenceville School, he won the Eastern Interscholastic championship. Bill Campbell won it two years later while a student at Phillips Exeter. During the past 25 years, Tutwiler has won the West Virginia Amateur championship 11 times and Campbell seven. They had played each other seven times in the finals of that tournament, with the easygoing Tut the king of the series, winning six. Now, with that rivalry as a backdrop, they came last Saturday to the pinnacles of their golfing careers just about when they should have been sunning themselves on some Southern front porch and regaling their progeny with stories of glorious days long gone.

Yet two perennial adversaries could not be more different if one had been born in Kabul and the other in Kalamazoo. Bill Campbell is 6 feet 4, and just as broad-shouldered and lean as he was when he used to swim breaststroke for Princeton. Tutwiler is a 6-footer, too, but middle age and good living have spread his waistline and added chins and etchings to his bulldog face. Campbell is utterly serious. A prosperous insurance man, he has served in his state's legislature and devotes considerable time to civic enterprises. Among some of the younger amateurs he is known as The Saint, for he has never accepted so much as a free golf ball from manufacturers.

Tutwiler, on the other hand, is as carefree as a sideman in a jazz combo, having modeled himself after the West Virginia golfer, Sam Snead. Tut likes to refer to himself as "This ol' hillbilly," and he carries on a ceaseless line of chatter with the gallery throughout even the tensest moments of a match. "Don't move, I'll bend it around you," he called to spectators who were standing in the way of a shot he was about to hit one afternoon. Playing one of the countless balls he had hit into the woods during the final, he said to the gallery, "Hell, you ain't in my way, Ah'm in yours."

Of the two men, Campbell is far and away the more polished golfer. Possessor of a lovely, upright swing, he has captained the Walker Cup team, won the North and South Amateur three times, and (in 1949) reached the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur. Even though Tutwiler has made something of a career out of beating Bill Campbell, his tournament laurels have been confined largely to his home state. Now a Cadillac dealer in Indianapolis, he is pretty much a weekend golfer and his swing is a triumph of determination over style.

The golf that was played by these two antithetic types through Saturday's intermittent drizzle would have done justice to the championship in any year. Both men toured the tough Canterbury course in one-over-par 72 to end all even after the morning round. Campbell's way, for the most part, was down the middle, on the green and two putts. Tut's way was through the trees, into the bunkers and down in one breathtaking snaky stroke from almost any distance.

And so it went after lunch, too. They stayed even until the 27th hole, where Tutwiler went ahead with a birdie, but Campbell pulled even at 29. On the 31st the Geritol ran out. They each sprayed the course with three straight bogeys. Then, on the par-3 35th hole, Tutwiler's putter finally failed him. An indifferent chip shot left him 30 feet from the hole. "Shucks, I need you real bad," he said to the putt. "Let's go." But the ball died at the rim of the cup, and Campbell took a one-hole lead that meant victory when both men bogeyed the 36th.

It is certainly no reflection on the hardy oldcomers of amateur golf who performed so well at Canterbury—Billy Joe Patton, 42, Dale Morey, 43, Charlie Kocsis, 51, Fred Kammer, 42, and Charlie Smith, 33—to say that 1964 is not a vintage year for new talent. Of the solemn, stork-thin young men who annually emerge from the country's golfing colleges and shake up the Amateur Championship before turning pro, only two made the semifinals. Mark Hopkins, a tall, blond and friendly youth from the University of Houston, looked to be the best of the lot, but he had the misfortune of running into Campbell on his best day of the tournament. Tutwiler put away the other, Dave Eichel-berger of Oklahoma State, sending the collegians back to their books aware of something that foes of Sam Snead have known for years: old folk from West Virginia are hard to beat.