The impact Jimmy Demaret had on the game of golf was measured by more than his three Masters victories, his impeccable Ryder Cup record and his 44 tournament victories around the world. Jimmy Demaret was golf’s first show biz star. He was the reason, some said, that Bing Crosby invented the pro-am. He could sing, he could tell jokes, and for a while, it wasn’t a party or a golf tournament unless Demaret was on the premises. He could outdress, outquip and outplay just about everybody in an era that included Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson.
In the same sentence, Grantland Rice called him the “singing Texan.” Jackie Burke Jr. once said that Jimmy Demaret “was a jet-setter before there were jets.” Herbert Warren Wind referred to him as “The Wardrobe” for fashion statements that singlehandedly put golf clothing on the cutting edge of garish. According to Dan Jenkins, Demaret wore lavender, gold, pink, orange, red and aqua slacks, and yellow, emerald, maroon, plaid, checked, striped and polka-dot sport coats. He gave shoe factories a swatch from his pants and had matching saddle oxfords made. As Demaret said, “If you’re going to be in the limelight, you might as well dress like it.”