Continued from page 1

He also suggested, “Never break your driver and putter in the same round.”

One time, after missing six consecutive putts, Bolt shook his fist at the heavens and implored the Almighty, “Why don’t you come down here and fight like a man?” He also supposedly tied an errant putter to the bumper of his car and drove off to “punish” the stick.

As you can guess, all those prim and proper PGA officials were less than amused. Bolt was fined so many times for pitching clubs and epithets that he set up a special fund from his earnings to pay for the transgressions.

It’s unfortunate, however, that all the stories and laughs about “Terrible Tommy” obscured the fact that he was a fine golfer. Despite not joining the PGA Tour until he was 34, Bolt won his first event in the 1951 North and South Open and added 14 more to his collection in the next decade.

He won his only major at the 1958 U.S. Open, defeating Gary Player by four shots at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla. In 1969, he won the Senior PGA Championship in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

In retrospect, Bolt’s most important contribution to golf might have been the color he added to it. Long before Palmer and Tiger Woods became crowd favorites, Tommy gave spectators a reason to cheer and empathize in a sport previously characterized by the icy demeanor of such masters as Hogan and Bobby Jones.

Bolt was always fun to watch - provided you weren’t in the path of a flying club.