ALPINE — Hall of Famer Billy Casper deposited some of his most treasured golf memorabilia in a showcase at Alpine Country Club on Saturday and took bows at a reception in his honor.
"This is a great gesture by Billy, and it will be treasured by our members and guests. We thank him," said general manager Lenna Learned.
The collection includes the 1979 Ryder Cup plate given to Casper as captain of the victorious U.S. team; a replica of the 1966 U.S. Open trophy Casper won in sudden death over Arnold Palmer at the Olympic Club and accompanying scorecards from those rounds; the Labatt Open trophy, his first PGA victory in 1956; his 1970 Masters Silver Box, given as champion, and the 2010 PGA of America 2010 Distinguished Service Award.
"That PGA award means a lot to me because it is the highest honor the PGA can bestow on a player," said Casper, who said he presented the precious items because of his son Bobby Casper's relationship with the club.
Between 1964 and 1970, Casper won 27 tournaments on the PGA Tour, which was more than legends Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player did during that time period. His victories helped him finish third in McCormack's World Golf Rankings in 1968, 1969 and 1970, the first three years they were published. He won 51 times in his career, placing him seventh on the all time list. He captained the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1979 and was considered the best putter of his era by many.
People still ask Casper about his remarkable 1966 comeback playoff win over Palmer, a defeat that rocked the golf super star so hard many believe "Arnie" never recovered.
"I don't think he ever played the same," said Casper. "I outplayed him by 13 shots on the last 18 holes, seven on the last nine in regulation including two shots behind coming into No. 11. I beat him by four strokes 69 to 73 in the 18-hole playoff."