Amen Corner saw history the year it was named
The year 1958 was eventful at the Masters Tournament.
Two bridges across Rae's Creek were dedicated in honor of Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. A young pro named Arnold Palmer won the tournament for the first time.
And Amen Corner was born.
Actually, the famous stretch of golf holes -- Nos. 11, 12 and 13 at Augusta National Golf Club -- had been in existence for 25 years.
But a catchy nickname for the three holes didn't exist until Herbert Warren Wind, the golf writer for Sports Illustrated , came up with the term to describe the action in 1958.
The three holes where Rae's Creek meets the National played a vital role in the early years of the Masters. The Nelson Bridge commemorates Nelson's charge of a birdie at No. 12 and an eagle at No. 13 to win in 1937. The Hogan Bridge honors Hogan's score of 274 in 1953, then the lowest 72-hole score in Masters history.
The 1958 tournament proved to be equally important.
After playing two balls on the 12th hole amid a rules controversy and making eagle on the par-5 13th during the final round, Palmer claimed the first of four Masters wins by one shot over Doug Ford and Fred Hawkins.
Wind, a veteran golf writer who also was a jazz buff, decided to combine his interests to describe the Sunday action.
He took the name from a jazz recording, Shoutin' in That Amen Corner. Wind wrote that the album was recorded by Milton Mezzrow, but research has shown that Mezzrow did not make a record by that name.
Nevertheless, the nickname became part of the tournament's lore.
Wind died in 2005 at age 88, but his lengthy essays and many books are still popular reading for golf fans.
"Herbert Warren Wind was one of the greatest golf writers that ever lived," former Augusta National and Masters Chairman Hootie Johnson said. "For many years, he wrote wonderful stories about the Masters and the players that competed in the tournament."
Sports Illustrated golf writer Herbert Warren Wind dubbed the 11th, 12th and 13th holes "Amen Corner" after the 1958 Masters: "On the afternoon before the start of the recent Masters golf tournament, a wonderfully evocative ceremony took place at the farthest reach of the Augusta National Course -- down in the Amen Corner where Rae's Creek intersects the 13th fairway near the tee, then parallels the front edge of the green on the short 12th and finally swirls alongside the 11th green."
1958: THE YEAR AMEN CORNER WAS COINED
Here's a look at other reasons to remember 1958:
- President Eisenhower made a proposal to Congress to create a civilian space agency; the National Aeronautics and Space Administration began operation later that year.
- Elvis Presley joined the U.S. Army.
- Unidentified soldiers killed in World War II and the Korean War were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
- President Eisenhower signed a bill approving Alaskan statehood.
- The microchip was first developed in the U.S.
- The U.S. launched the first artificial satellite, Explorer 1.
- Wham-O introduced the Hula Hoop.
- Jerry Lee Lewis' Great Balls of Fire reached No. 1; so did The Chipmunks Christmas Song.
- The musical Gigi broke the record for most Oscars, held by Gone With the Wind, From Here to Eternity and On the Waterfront.
- LPGA golfer Louise Suggs won four events, including the Babe Didrikson-Zaharias Golf Open.
- The PGA Championship dropped match play in favor of stroke play.
- Gary Player won his first PGA Tour event.
- The NCAA added the two-point conversion to football scoring.
- Seven members of Manchester United's soccer team died in a plane crash.
- The Milwaukee Braves lost the World Series to the New York Yankees.