U.S. Open: Billy Casper recalls his Arnie-like charge in '66

Published: Tuesday, June 12 2012 8:32 p.m. MDT

Meanwhile, Casper won 21 more times on the PGA Tour up until 1975, including the 1970 Masters, his third major title.

Casper has been getting a lot of attention this spring since the release of his autobiography "The Big Three and Me," co-authored by Deseret News columnist Lee Benson. He is spending part of his week at the Olympic Club, autographing copies of his book.

In 1966, Miller was a 19-year-old freshman at BYU who had grown up playing the Olympic Club. He first played it when he was 12 and was a junior member throughout his teenage years. So he knew the Olympic Club, with its narrow and sloping tree-lined fairways as well as anyone.

"I must have played a thousand rounds at Olympic over the years, sometimes a hundred a year," Miller told the San Francisco Examiner.

With his slender build and blond hair, Miller finished as the low amateur and tied for eighth place overall in 1966, 12 strokes behind Casper and Palmer, after rounds of 70, 72, 74 and 74.

Miller credited his experience playing the Olympic Club as a teenager for his later success on the PGA Tour.

"When I went on tour, I thought everything was flat ground after playing the super-tough course Olympic Club was," Miller said.

One of his few regrets in golf was that he couldn't play a U.S. Open at the Olympic while he was in his prime, as the Open didn't come back to the Olympic until 1987.

"My one regret was that the Open didn't come to Olympic when I was playing well," he said.

Clearwater was just a rookie on the PGA Tour when he shot a third-round 64, passing 53 players in just one round. He had six birdies and saved par four times in tying the course record. He was paired with legendary Tom Watson in the final group for the final round. However, Clearwater struggled all day and finished with a 9-over-par 79 and ended up in a tie for 31st place.

Clearwater had won his first PGA event a month earlier in Fort Worth at the Colonial and he would win later in the year at the Centel Classic.

But who knows how his life might have changed had he been able to play better in the final round with Watson and perhaps win a U.S. Open title? Clearwater never won another PGA tournament after 1987.

email: sor@desnews.com

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