Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

From The Editor
by Terry Moore

Dear Mrs. Sallie Watson,

I want to thank you again for all of your kind assistance and cooperation on this issue of Michigan Golfer. It was most generous and trusting of you to loan us those marvelous family photos of your husband Raymond and your famous son Tom which grace our magazine this month. I'm certain when I first called and introduced myself to you in early December, you had no idea who "Terry Moore" was. And if you did, you probably thought of "Terry Moore" the '50s actress who starred in the original "Mighty Joe Young."

But after my long and somewhat belabored introduction to you on the phone and after explaining my mighty quest for photos of young Tom, you immediately dispelled my worst fear_a curt-hello-and-good-bye response_by saying instead, "I'll be happy to try to find you some photos." You and I found common ground when you explained about your recent move and how finding the box of family photographs may prove tricky. As I told you, my wife Deb and I moved last May and we too discovered the travails of moving. You got a good laugh when I told you that months after our move we still haven't been able to locate a room air conditioning unit! Yes, I could well understand you not immediately finding those photos. But alas you did and it was a very pleasant surprise to open that package a few days later and to find those terrific photos and your nice note.

I thought that since you were so willing to help and to share a part of your family's cherished memories, that I tell you how this story all started and how several people helped make it happen. Maybe it's due to our relative same age, but Tom Watson_the golfer and the person_has always fascinated me. One of our magazine's most celebrated interviews occurred back in 1983 when contributing editor Tom Cleary and I had an in-depth interview with your son at Muirfield Village in Ohio. (Excerpts of which re-appear in this issue.) Along with a number of wide-ranging topics, Tom commented on his love for northern Michigan and how it provided "a lot of great memories."

Ever since then, I've wanted to explore this element of the Watson bio since it touches upon such a notable piece of Michigan golf_northern Michigan itself. The catalyst may have been another majestic view of Walloon Lake sometime last summer as I was heading south down US-131. There's a spot on the highway just outside of Petoskey where you get this incredible shining glimpse of Walloon Lake. It's easy to imagine how this part of Michigan has captivated residents and summer guests all through the years. Anyway, right then I decided to pursue the Watsons-at-Walloon-Lake story.

First, I asked good friend and accomplished writer Jack Berry to do the story. He may be "retired" but Jack still has a bloodhound nose for golf news and a most able and fast pen..er..keyboard. As the former Detroit News golf writer and past Secretary-Treasurer of the Golf Writers Association of America, Jack is one of most respected and well-connected golf scribes around. If anyone could deliver a quality Watson piece for Michigan Golfer it would be Jack. Soon after, Jack called Charles Rubin, Tom's agent, and asked him to arrange an interview. Next I contacted Kevin Frisch, the congenial publicist and photographer for Golf Marketing Services, and asked him if he'd take some photos of Walloon Lake CC. Then I spoke to Pete Kelbel, the pro at Walloon Lake CC and asked him for more background information and if he had any special photographs. He told me about the famed Walloon Lake CC Club Champion plaque that's signed by Tom. That conversation led me to talk to the long-time former pro at Walloon Lake, Ed Kelbel Sr._Pete's Dad. Ed had some wonderful anecdotes about the Watsons and his special friendship with them. He also was kind enough to share a great photograph, taken only this past summer, of himself, Ray and Tom Watson. By the way, many weeks had transpired since Jack first called Rubin's office. Jack reported in and said there'd been no follow-up call from Rubin or Tom on the interview. But Jack was not going to give up. He called Rubin again and via a secretary left a polite but terse reminder about the "Watson interview." Another week or so nervously passed by. And then on the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, Jack received a call at home from your son while Tom was at an airport on his way to Japan. Bingo!

With Jack's interview in hand, I now proceeded to put together the other pieces of the story. I contacted Peter Fitzsimons, the Executive Director of the Petoskey-Boyne CVB. Pete's a great guy, always cooperative and willing to help. He really went the extra mile for Michigan Golfer in tracking down some lovely aerial photos of Walloon Lake, courtesy of Randy McCune and Ned Tanner. Pete also sent me a copy of the most helpful local history of Walloon Lake, "Legends of Walloon," by Dorothy Munson Krenrich. Meanwhile, Jack Berry added a sidebar story to the main article after conversing with both Ed Kelbel Sr. and your husband about their mutual fond memories. Several other people lent a helping hand as well, including Tom Cleary, always sharp-witted for headlines and captions, Maxine Vigliotta of the USGA photo archives, and Ed Kelbel Jr.

But most of all, I want to thank the Watsons_Raymond, Tom and especially you, Sallie_for allowing Michigan Golfer an inside look at your heartfelt affection for northern Michigan. I wish you and your family all the best in 1999. May you return again to "Walloon, on a sweet day in June, where the people rather give than take, where love is a bit stronger and the days are much longer...."

Terry Moore

PS Still haven't found that air conditioner!

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