The era is sadly over when some of America’s best golfers played the game as amateurs, and it was often what these men and women stood for that was as important as the trophies they won. Born in West Virginia, educated at Princeton, Bill Campbell never had the desire to chase the buck. After college and the service, he stayed at home, opened an insurance business, served in the legislature and played golf because he loved playing golf. He played it at the highest level and became one of the game’s most distinguished statesmen.
Only Chick Evans (49) played in the U.S. Amateur more times than Campbell (37), and not even Evans played in 33 consecutively, as Campbell did from 1941-1977. That he finally won it in 1964, at the age of 41, is a testament to the doggedness of his pursuit. He won it just after Jack Nicklaus and Deane Beman turned pro, and just before names such as Bob Murphy, Bruce Fleisher, Steve Melnyk, Lanny Wadkins, Craig Stadler and Jerry Pate came along to snatch the title in the midst of their college careers. The next day he was back in his office.