The Irascible Tommy Bolt 1916- 2008

Peter HughesSenior Analyst ISeptember 6, 2008

Tommy Bolt twice played in US Ryder cup teams during the '50s and left his mark in both fixtures.

At Thunderbird Ranch and Country Club in Palm Springs, Tommy made his debut in 1955 and on Day 1 in the 36-Hole Foursomes, paired with Jack Burke against Arthur Lees and Harry Weetman.

The British pair completed the morning session in 68, but they could only take one hole from Bolt and Burke. On the back nine, the British pair finished in a remarkable 31 strokes.

The Americans refused to waver in the afternoon, and although Lees and Weetman went out in 34, they could not increase their lead. The match was squared through tremendous play by Bolt who really came into his own after the turn. The home team led by a hole on the 18th tee.

Bolt's superb iron to the green landed only a couple of yards from the pin and although Weetman holed a downhill 12-footer for a birdie to have a chance of a half; Burke and Bolt sank their birdie putts to record a one-hole win.

Day 2 saw Tommy Bolt took on rookie Christy O'Connor, who won the first, but Tommy was two up at the turn and then won a further two holes to go into lunch with a three-hole advantage.

The Irishman had the temerity to pull back two on the temperamental American after the break. "Thunder" Bolt was unnerved by the comeback and started to throw a few clubs in his own inimitable style.

O'Connor, had probably never seen anything like this before and completely lost his concentration. The outburst rejuvenated Tommy Bolt, who reasserted his authority and clinched a win by 4 and 2.

Lindrick Golf Club in Yorkshire was the venue for Tommy's next and final appearance in 1957. He was paired with Dick Mayer, the US Open champion. They had a very impressive victory by 7 and 5 over Christy O'Connor and Eric Brown.

The singles however turned out to be Bolt's swan song. Dai Rees, the British & Ireland captain put his "hard man," Eric Brown, out first to meet the American and help reverse the overall score which had the US leading, 3-1.

The two highly combative players were late arriving on the tee, which drew the retort from Jimmy Demaret he saw them standing at 50 paces, throwing clubs at each other!

At lunch, Brown was four up, with no quarter being asked or given. Well into the final 18 holes, the resilient Scotsman countered everything thrown at him, including clubs, and finally recorded a morale-boosting 4 and 3 victory.

After the ill-tempered match, the players refused to shake hands and Bolt claimed he had not enjoyed himself, to which Brown replied, "I don't suppose you did, because even on the first tee you never had an earthly hope of beating me."

In the locker room later afterward, Tommy reportedly broke a wedge in two and did not put in an appearance at the presentation ceremony with GB & I winning the Ryder Cup for the first time in 20 years.

Samuel Ryder's intention to foster goodwill and fellowship seemed to take a back seat in 1957!

Related

    Tiger Woodschoping to Get Creative at Carnoustie

    Golf logo
    Golf

    Tiger Woodschoping to Get Creative at Carnoustie

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report

    British Open Tee Times Released ⏰

    Golf logo
    Golf

    British Open Tee Times Released ⏰

    Gill Clark
    via Bleacher Report

    British Open Odds, Favorites and Preview

    Golf logo
    Golf

    British Open Odds, Favorites and Preview

    Tom Sunderland
    via Bleacher Report

    Tiger Needs Top-10 at Open to Qualify for WGC

    Golf logo
    Golf

    Tiger Needs Top-10 at Open to Qualify for WGC

    Golf Channel
    via Golf Channel