BING CROSBY AND GOLF

No, I don't have any golf tips from the most famous Crosby of
all, but I thought you might enjoy hearing him sing his classic
"Straight Down the Middle."    (Make sure your speaker is
turned on.) It was written for him by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy
Van Heusen and recorded in 1957.  He sang it at each of his
"Crosby Clambakes."

There are a zillion jokes about golf, but his ditty is the only  
song about golf that achieved any prominence.

While his fame has faded over the years, he was a living
legend in his day.  As many as 50 million (one-third of the U.S.
population at the time)  listened to his Kraft Music Hall radio
program from 1935-46.  The next largest audience for a series
since then was 36 million watching "Who Wants to be a
Millionaire."

In the late 40s, he was ranked as the most popular man alive
by a national poll.

From 1934 to 1954 he was the king of all three entertainment
media -- phonograph sales, radio ratings and movie grosses.

He had more recordings than any singer in history -- 400
more than Frank Sinatra.

He scored the most number one hits ever -- 38.  The Beetles
had 24.  Elvis 18.

He was an especially avid golfer, playing at every opportunity.  
His wife Kathryn said he was a golfer who sang for a living.

A 2 handicap, he competed in both the British and US
amateur championships and was a five-time champion at
Lakeside Golf Club in Hollywood.  Along with Bob Hope, he
was given the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor presented
by the USGA in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship.

In 1937, he created the first and longest-runing celebrity
pro-am golf championship, the  Crosby National Pro-Am,
hosting it for 35 years and raising millions for charity.

He died of a massive heart attack in 1977 after walking off the
18th green of the La Moraleja Golf Club near Madrid.  He shot
an 85 and, with his partner, won $10.  His last words were,
"That was a great game of golf, fellas."  He was 74.

Sources: Wikipedia; "Pocketful of Dreams," by Gary Giddens;
Little Brown, Publisher
Photo courtesy of Steven Lewis
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