You think you love golf. Well, you know you do. But there is always someone whose passion makes you feel as though you only like golf. Jack Lemmon was that person.
Lemmon starred in 60 films, including classics such as “Some Like It Hot,” “Save the Tiger,” “Mister Roberts,” “The Days of Wine and Roses,” “The Odd Couple” and “Glengarry Glen Ross.” He was nominated for eight Academy Awards; he won two. But he only wanted one thing, above all else… to make the cut and play the final round with the pros at Pebble Beach during The Bing Crosby National Pro-Am.
Longtime “Clambake” partner Peter Jacobsen tried to help Lemmon realize his dream. “He said many times, ‘I would trade my two Oscars to make the cut and play on Sunday at Pebble Beach,’ ” Jacobsen remembered. For 25 years, Lemmon worked tirelessly, often to hilarious results, in his pursuit of that ill-fated quest. In 1987, playing in the tournament at Cypress Point, he faced a challenging cliffside lie. He got Clint Eastwood to hold him by the belt to keep him from falling over. Jacobsen grabbed Eastwood by the belt, Greg Norman held onto Jacobsen and Norman’s caddie, Pete Bender, held on to Norman. Lemmon hit a miraculous recovery shot and everyone stayed upright. Then Lemmon shanked his next shot into the Pacific Ocean.
In 1998 Jacobsen and Lemmon were not only poised to make the cut, they were four shots out of the lead. Then a major storm ensued; the final round of the pro-am –and Lemmon’s last best shot at his holy grail – were washed away.
Enjoy this clip from the USGA Archives to rekindle the memory of Lemmon’s passionate, if unrequited, love affair with the game, at the home of so many special USGA championship moments.
David Chmiel is manager of member content for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.