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CENTRAL VIEW for Monday, March 11, 2024

by William Hamilton, Ph.D.

Gentleman Julius Boros

After serving in the Navy during World War I, my favorite uncle returned to Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, to be the Chrysler dealer, a senior officer in the American Legion, and to build a nine-hole, sand-green golf course next to his house. Some of my teen-age summers were spent oiling and raking the sand greens, driving a Ford tractor pulling a gang mower across the fairways, diving into snake-infested water hazards to retrieve lost golf balls, and working as a caddy on weekends.

Nearby, was Ardmore, Oklahoma, and the Perry Maxwell-designed Dornick Hills Golf Course. In 1952 and 1954. the Ardmore Open was on the Pro Tour.

One day, my uncle told me to knock off work. We were going to Dornick Hills to watch the final holes of the Ardmore Open.

My uncle, who seemed to be welcome everywhere said, "Let’s go into the club house to watch the winner and the runner-ups sign their score cards." Coming out of the sunshine into the indoors, it took my eyes some time to adjust.

In 1950s Oklahoma, I expected to see some white players signing their score cards. So, the very dark, olive-skinned player sitting at a desk signing his score card appeared, well... unusual.

My uncle, who seemed to know everyone and be known by all, took me over to meet the player who had just won the Ardmore Open. "Billy, meet Julius Boros, one of the best players on the Pro Tour. "

(Julius Boros went on to be a member of the Ryder Cup Team in 1959, 1963, 1965, and 1967. Boros was PGA Player of the Year in 1952 and 1963, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1982).

Mr. Boros, drinking a glass of lemonade in still Prohibition Oklahoma, was very gracious to an awkward teenager who, as a lowly grounds keeper was at the very bottom of the golfing world. As he sipped his lemonade, Mr. Boros invited me to sit beside him like I was one of his own sons come to share in his victory. Although the Andy Griffith Show had yet to hit America’s TV Screens, grinning from ear-to-ear, I must have looked like Opie.

There was something very distinguished about Julius Boros, even noble. Like he was from some place exotic to me at that young age, like Europe. Later, I learned Mr. Boros was of Hungarian-American descent.

Looking back at meeting the very first famous person of the many famous people I would be blessed to meet in later years, I suppose meeting Julius Boros was my first lesson in the meaning of meritocracy.

No matter where your grandparents or your folks come from or if your olive, sun-tanned skin looks different in a room full of Ivy Leaguers, it was merit, not some cockamamie DEI quota system that made Julius Boros one of the world’s great golfers.

Others, like the golf great, Puerto Rican Chi Chi Rodriguez, and the Ecuadorian tennis star, Pancho Segura, also rose to the top on merit. As they say, "Never judge a book by its cover."

Nota bene: These stories will continue until morale improves.

2024. William Hamilton.

1999-2024. American Press Syndicate.

Dr. Hamilton can be contacted at:

Email: william@central-view.com

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