Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tom Watson, 1982 U.S. Open

Of all the remarkable moments from the 1982 U.S. Open, one is indelibly etched in memory. Twenty-seven years ago Tom Watson called his shot and danced around the 17th green at Pebble Beach after holing a miraculous chip shot. This photo was taken by former Monterey County Herald staff photographer Robert Fish with a 500mm f/8 mirror lens.

Watson entered the championship as one of the clear-cut favorites. In the past few years he had supplanted Nicklaus as the game’s No. 1 player. His familiarity with the course from his college days at nearby Stanford and as a two-time winner of the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am also helped make him the prognosticators pick

In one of the most memorable moments in Open history, Tom Watson birdied the 17th hole at Pebble Beach by pitching in to the cup from off the green and won his first Open Championship. The win earned Watson top prize money of $60,000. Jack Nicklaus finished second. Watson, 32, from Kansas City, Missouri, won with the scores of 72-72-68-70-282, six under par. Nicklaus shot 74-70-71-69 -284. This was the fourth time Nicklaus finished as runner-up in the Open, tying a record shared by Sam Snead, Bob Jones, and Arnold Palmer.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Albee Rolligon, 1958

On a fishing trip to Alaska in 1950, Mr. William Albee of California observed a group of Eskimo preparing to remove a heavy wooden boat fro the artic waters. Albee wondered how the small, heavily clad men would manage the boat up the muddy bank. The Eskimos produced and inflated several air tight seal skins on which they rolled the boat out of the water and up the bank. Thus was born the concept of the Rolligon low pressure Air Bag tires. With this idea in mind, Mr. Albee returned to California and began developing the first low pressure off road tire.

Bill Albee was the driver of the above vehicle, running over his father as a demonstration of the effectiveness of low pressure combined with a very flexible bag/tire. This vehicle was designed and built in just 9 weeks at the request of the Army Transportation Corp. in 1953. Dad was not able to organize Albee Rolligon Co. until 1955 due a law suit over preliminary financing. Once that was settled, he was able to obtain financing, and designed and built several greatly improved vehicles that generated tremendous world-wide interest and publicity.