Sam Savidge, captain of the gold squad, thinks just about all of his teammates are pretty good. But when asked to single out one man he considers the most promising, Savidge unhesitatingly picks Bill Rickenbacker.
Rick, son of World War air ace Eddle Rickenbacker, modestly terms himself merely a "weekend golfer." But some of Rick's weekends have certainly been big ones according to the newspaper clippings.
In addition to setting a new new course record of 62 at the Vernon Hills, New York links, last year, Rick has also knocked off number one honors in the Westchester Amateur Tournament for the past two years. And on his home course at Briarcliff-on-the-Hudson, Rick last Summer beat a slightly rusty "Jug" McSpaden by a 67 to 70 score.
Rick started his golfing at the tender ago of six, when his father decided it would be a nice idea if the whole family took part in his weekend tour of the Briarcliff links. "I just hacked away until the age of 15. Then it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I ought to really start learning."
Rick is now 20, and his present record shows the concentrated effort he's exerted in the past five years. Although eliminated in the second round of last year's New York championships, Rick was nevertheless credited with having the best swing in the match by veteran golfer Jimmy Donaldson.
In connection with this bit of praise, Rick explains that it also caused him the most embarassing moment in his career.
Life's Darkest Moment
He was just about to tee off in last Summer's New York championships when a friend rushed, up and told him of Donaldson's laudatory comment. One minute later, he dubbed his drive before a gallery of 150 people. "Boy, was I mortified while walking the 40 feet up to my ball," Rick ruefully admits. Rick has little to say about the possibility of a professional golfing future.
An amateur, he says, can afford to be hot one day and cool the next, but a pro has to keep burning up the fairway day after day in order to maintain the grueling pace of tournament golf.
The sport just runs in the family, he explains. "Mother, brother, and father, all play the game, but just for fun.
And although "Captain Eddie" gets beaten every time he takes his son out for a weekend match nowadays, Rick explains that his dad still has the only hole-in-one in the family to his credit.