December 02, 2021
Late golfer overcame the racism of 1950s America and forged an unlikely duo with notorious gambler Titanic Thompson
The remarkable rise of Lee Elder: from teenage hustler to golfing pioneer
Now, let’s be clear about this right here at the beginning. Not all the stories they tell about Alvin “Titanic Thompson” Thomas are strictly accurate. He wasn’t given his nickname because he escaped from the ship by disguising himself as a woman and sneaking into a lifeboat. He didn’t beat Ben Hogan playing golf right-handed, he didn’t beat Byron Nelson playing left-handed, and he certainly didn’t do both back-to-back. And he never did con Al Capone out of $500 by throwing an orange over a five-storey building. According to one of his biographers it was actually a lemon. And according to the other, he swapped it with one he’d stuffed with buckshot the previous evening.
But some of them are true. Or something like it. And this is one of them.
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