Nicknames abound for Tommy Bolt: Terrible, Tempestuous, Thunder. He has affectionately been called all of them. The winner of the 1958 U.S. Open, Bolt recorded 15 victories on the PGA TOUR, twice was selected for the Ryder Cup and helped spawn the Champions Tour.
Like many of his generation, Bolt was introduced to golf through caddying. The fact that Bolt’s golf career was sidetracked a number of times before he ever had a chance to succeed makes his accomplishments more extraordinary. He never teed it up on the PGA TOUR until the relatively late age of 34. Despite lacking the money to compete on tour, Bolt was one of golf’s most determined competitors.
He spent four years in the Army during World War II, serving as head pro at one of Rome’s elite golf clubs, perfecting his game. When he returned from the war, Bolt bounced back and forth between competing on the tour and retreating to construction work when he ran out of money.