Eddie Mudd, then a 22-year-old senior at Morehead (Ky.) State University, defeated 42-year-old ex-professional Archie Dadian, of South Milwaukee, Wis., in 37 holes to win the 1976 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids, Minn. Mudd, of Louisville, Ky., birdied the 35th hole to square the match and won it with a bogey on the first extra hole. Four years later, Mudd’s brother, Jodie, claimed the first of his back-to-back APL titles, making them the second brother combination to win this championship (Charles and Randyn Barenaba were the first in 1974 and ’75). Mudd, who was inducted into Morehead State’s Hall of Fame in 1996, turned professional after graduating, but never earned PGA Tour playing privileges. He played a few years on the TPS Tour before becoming a teaching professional, a vocation he continues today at the Southern Sports Driving Range in Louisville. His son, Jessie, was a standout golfer at the University of Florida and currently is the assistant golf coach at the University of Kentucky.
What do you remember about that week?
It was a long week. It was a marathon week. I was glad I was in good physical shape. Thirty-six holes a day for three days in a row and the weather was kind of hot. So it was tough.
Do you remember anything from the final?
Archie Dadian, he was an ex-tour player, and he pulled his cart the whole 36 holes. I had a caddie that week, but it was still tough going.
How about having two brothers winning the APL within four years?
Jodie figured if Eddie can do it, I can do it. Me and Jodie, all we did was hit balls all day [at Shawnee Golf Course in Louisville]. We were like Ben Hogan. We had a passion. Today, all these kids want to go to heaven, but they don’t want to die. It’s amazing.
What was the competition like in 1976?
A majority of [the players] were older guys who were out of college with careers who were good golfers that played on the weekend or sparingly. Of course, when I played the winner didn’t get an invitation to Augusta [for the Masters]. But the [Amateur Public Links] Committee was lobbying for that because the U.S. Amateur did that.
What I liked about the Public Links is the way the USGA set the golf course up and how they ran their [championship]. I enjoyed that and looked forward to it. That’s why I got my game in shape and trained for it. They liked to harden the greens up and make the rough grow tougher than a normal tournament. I got a kick out of that.
How much did your confidence get a boost from winning the title?
It gives you a whole bunch of confidence. You look at all the people who played in that [championship] or tried to qualify from around the country, and you were the last guy standing. It was an accomplishment for a young kid from Louisville.
David Shefter is a USGA senior staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.