Some 56 years after perhaps the best four-ball match hardly anybody had the chance to witness, Masters champion Bubba Watson and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III are part of a similarly low-key recreation today.
It’s a reprise of what’s become known as simply "The Match" – the 1956 showdown that pitted legends Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan against amateurs Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward. The competition was put together as a means of settling a bet between two obviously well-heeled California businessmen.
The old guard emerged victorious, but only by a single stroke as both sides rained birdies onto Cypress Point. Ward was the two-time reigning U.S. Amateur champion; Venturi earlier that year came within a shot of winning the Masters as an amateur.
The amateurs that day combined for a score of 14-under-par 58 – and lost. With Hogan shooting a 63 on his own ball that still stands as the course record, the pros managed to get around in 57. Top that, guys.
(For a detailed account of that competition, check out Mark Frost’s acclaimed 2009 bestseller titled simply "The Match.")
Today’s exhibition was envisioned along the old guard/new guard theme as well, with Fred Couples set to resume his partnership with Love that won four World Cups and went 6-4-1 at the Ryder Cup. But Couples was a last-minute scratch, prompting a call to Watney.Jeff Shain covers golf for the Orlando Sentinel and Tribune Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffShain, or reach him via email at email@example.com.