Masters-Palmer revisits 1960 triumph in glorious color

Arnold Palmer could hardly believe it: a trip down

Memory Lane in glorious technicolor to revisit
his gripping victory at the 1960 Masters.

A birdie-birdie finish that year at Augusta
National earned Palmer his second major title, a swashbuckling triumph that set
the tone for his popularizing of the game through the power of television. Forty-seven
years later, thanks to the magic of technology, golf fans will be able to watch
the climax of that 1960 Masters before the final round of next week’s edition
at

Augusta.

For the first time in television history, a
sporting event originally screened in black-and-white will be re-broadcast in color
when CBS Sports airs a one-hour show on April 8.

The
project was conceived and financed by CBS host Jim Nantz, who hired the
expertise of

San Diego
company Legend Films, leaders in restoration and colorization technology.

After
10,000 man hours and the use of 60,000 frames, a filmed version of the 1960
Masters telecast has been given new life in vivid color with the original
soundtrack retained.

Seven-times
major winner Palmer watched the result for the first time in February this year
and was immediately catapulted back in time.

“I’d
never thought I would have the opportunity to see this,” the 77-year-old
American told a group of reporters at the Bel-Air Country Club in

Los Angeles.

“I
got almost as nervous as I did during the tournament. I was afraid I wasn’t
going to win this time,” Palmer added with a smile.

OPENED
WINDOWS

The 1960
Masters was seminal, not only because of its role in the sport’s popularity
explosion but also because it opened windows on to both the past and the
future.

Golfing
great Ben Hogan, then 47, can be seen on the 18th hole while smooth-swinging
Sam Snead is in action playing the final round with a chubby 20-year-old
amateur, Jack Nicklaus.

There is
even a glimpse of Masters founder Bobby Jones as he hosts the post-tournament
awards ceremony.

Above all,
though, there is fan favourite Palmer, cigarette in hand as he approaches each
tee box and happy to chat with Billy Casper shortly before he strikes his
approach into the last.

Perhaps
the most intriguing moment for the viewer of today is when Palmer elects to
leave the flagstick in the hole when faced with a 30-foot birdie putt on the
par-three 16th.

He was
four under at the time with fellow American Ken Venturi, at five under, safely
in the clubhouse as tournament leader.”I thought I was taking advantage of
the situation,” Palmer recalled. “We were allowed to leave the pin in
the hole on the green in that Masters.”

Soon after
that year’s Masters, the rule was changed and players had to remove the
flagstick for putts starting on the green.

Always a
confident putter who very rarely left anything short, Palmer knew he had to
birdie two of the last three holes to overtake Venturi. He struck his birdie
putt on 16 firmly.

DEAD
CENTRE

“The
pin was on the top right side and my ball hit dead centre, hit dead centre of
the pin and bounced back,” he said.

“At
that point, I knew I needed a birdie to tie Kenny and it was pretty depressing
to have that thing kick away, two or three inches from the hole.”

Still
trailing Venturi by one, Palmer set up another birdie opportunity at the
par-four 17th with an approach to 15 feet. “When I hit the putt, I knew that I
had hit a good putt,” he said. “As it got right up to the hole, you
can see the ball slowing and then just falling in for the birdie which was
going to give me a chance, if I make a par on 18, to tie.”

A
magnificent second shot to four feet at the last, seconds after Palmer and

Casper had their casual
fairway chat, got the crowds buzzing.

CBS
broadcaster Jim McKay, whose live commentary is retained for the 2007
re-airing, captures the mood of the denouement.

“Arnold
Palmer is back again with a chance to win it all,” he says in gravel
tones. “He birdies the 17th hole to move into a tie and he’s trying now to
win it.

“He
faces almost the identical putt of about four feet that Dow Finsterwald had
here a while ago. Finsterwald missed it on the high side, it didn’t break as he
expected it to.

“…swinging
with that blade putter…Arnold Palmer is the Masters champion of 1960!”