by Doug McAllister
As the Ryder Cup approaches this weekend, I thought a bit historic sentimentality was in order.
Ever hear of Bob Hudson? Me neither and yet it is highly possible that without him there would be no Ryder Cup this week! Really? Apparently so!
Thanks to a wonderful article by James Achenbach that was recently published in Golf Week Magazine, I learned about this unlikely golfing hero. If you love the Ryder Cup you should know about him as well.
The year was 1947. Seems that the Ryder Cup was on the ropes following World War II. The event hadn't been played in a decade. Interest waning on both sides of the Atlantic. No money available to fund the event or bring the British/Irish team over for the matches scheduled to be played that year at the Portland Golf Club.
Enter Bob Hudson. Hudson, never better than a 16 handicapper, was, nonetheless, passionate about golf, explaining that, while his well-to-do friends put their money into yachts, he put his into golf.
To make a long story short, Hudson apparently almost singlehandedly funded the 1947 event. He paid for everything, the price of passage of the British team to the States, their hotel rooms when they arrived — all expenses! And he did the same for the American Team as well! The remarkable article can be read in its entirety at http://www.golfweek.com/news/2010/sep/27/bob-hudson-ryder-cup-portland-golf-club/.
Now, the lesson.
There seems to be no record whatsoever of Bob Hudson — at least that I could discover — arising from searches on the Internet, other than Mr. Achenbach's excellent article. Surely Hudson had to have some semblance of an ulterior motive. Did his wholesale grocery business benefit from his generiosity, just as FedEx's did this past weekend at the culmination of this year's uber-event that so prominently bore FedEx's name? Not that I could discover. Surely a comprehensive biography would pop up on Wikipedia or on some other online encyclopedia. Try as I did, I could find nothing!
In short, here was an individual who benefited the game at the grandest of levels who seems to have been content that the Ryder Cup continued on! Bob Hudson apparently didn't step forward after first calculating the ROI that he would enjoy. No. Apparently he stepped forward as a golfer, one dedicated to the game and its continuity at all levels and in all arenas!
For me, the story of Bob Hudson will make the matches this weekend that much more meaningful.
With that in mind all of us should be more inspired than ever to...
Hit 'Em Long and Straight!