From the Golf Journal Archives - Chick Evans’ Remarks at Contestants’ Banquet

Aug 10, 2012

(Digest of the text of Chick Evans’ remarks at the Contestants’ Banquet at the 1962 U.S. Amateur Championship, Pinehurst, N.C., on Sept. 15, 1962).

(Note: This article originally appeared in the November 1962 issue of Golf Journal.)

Players and friends, I am glad to be with you tonight. I am proud of the fact that I am in the same room with you and will play on the same course and in the same championship. All of you players should be proud of the privilege of playing in the National Amateur and of the honor and credit it gives you.

Whenever I think of golf championships it always has seemed to me that in every way the foremost of all is the National Amateur. Use your own imagination and ideas on how I feel in playing in the National Amateur for the 50th consecutive year! I no longer am a bouncing walker on the fairways; in fact, I am a little rickety on the hind legs, making it difficult to transfer my weight or hold my old swing. My body is a little decrepit but the carburetor is working fine and the motor is not missing any cylinders. I am even more enthusiastic about golf and if it were not for the fact that 1890 from 1962 leaves 72, I would refuse to admit that the calendar does not lie. However, I am disinclined to admit that I am an antique and cannot play winning golf any more.

In my opinion one never is too old ... or too young ... to play in a golf championship. I cannot hope to put on an act which will convince spectators that I am a threat, but I’m taking it all with a grin. Just to be playing in this Amateur Championship is a joy to me, and I do derive consolation from the fact that I cannot be classed as a “never-waser”. As I stand before you tonight I consider myself one of the most fortunate men who ever lived on the face of this earth.

I have been asked often why I never turned professional, particularly when the golden door of opportunity came to me at a time while I held both the Open and the Amateur Championships of the United States for three years. Actually I never thought of golf as a basis for making my business career. I was sure one could find pleasure in business as well as in golf; I never cared how much golf I played as long as I gave business preference. To me, the game of golf always seemed to be a not-source-of-income sport, more of a game for honor and credit – something intended for exercise and the pleasure of wonderful companionship, and prized not for its championships but for its recreation and the healthful cleanliness qualities of the out-of-doors which encourages moral cleanliness as well. I gave a lot of thought to this question of turning professional. I could see where it would change the entire pattern of my life; in particular, the thought of all the wonderful friendships I had made in amateur golf, and I was disturbed as to whether they could fit into a new life as a professional.

We know that we must have professionals to teach a sound swing. I always have thought that golf is like a sleigh which has two equal runners – professionals and amateurs, and if one is destroyed, the sleigh cannot run. Over the many years I have been asked for advice concerning an amateur turning professional. I will give the same answer tonight I have given many times in the past: if your position financially is ample, remain an amateur. One should follow the course which gives the greatest contentment and happiness. Over the years I probably have judged too harshly some of the golfers who seem to take so much from amateur golf and return so little. But with the possible fantastic earnings of a golf professional today, it is difficult to see how an individual could remain an amateur if he had unusual ability.

... My memory is unimpaired and it brings fresh memories, rich and happy experiences, of rare moments in the last 50 National Amateur Championships. Now I hope to see all of you at other championships even though this 50th, the Golden Anniversary, has special significance. I would like to play in at least six more, God and the USGA willing. My first caddie badge at Edgewater was No. 56 and the number has been my lucky number ever since. Excuse me for perhaps sounding selfish. I am not; it is only the interest of a man who loves the game of golf and loves to play it.

“Whenever I think of golf championships it always has seemed to me that in every way the foremost of all is the National Amateur. Use your own imagination and ideas on how I feel in playing in the National Amateur for the 50th consecutive year!” (USGA Museum)

A scroll commemorating his 50th appearance in the Amateur Championship was presented to Chick Evans, left, during the 1962 Amateur at Pinehurst. John M. Winters, USGA president, made the presentation. (USGA Museum)