Thursday, Jun. 18, 2009

Billy Burke vs. George Von Elm (1931)

The next time a pampered pro acts like he ran a marathon after playing 18 holes in scorching heat, think of Billy Burke and George Von Elm — then roll your eyes. With 105-degree temperatures suffocating the Iverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, Burke and Von Helm ground out 72 playoff holes over two days to decide the '31 U.S. Open winner. Back then, Open rules required a 36-hole playoff if golfers were tied after the final round. On the 36th hole of the first playoff, Von Elm sunk a birdie to force yet another 36 holes the next day. Burke, a chain smoker who finished off 32 cigars during the tournament, finally prevailed by a single stroke. He said the smoke helped him gauge wind direction ... sure, because the winds were really whipping on those 105-degree days.