The 1953 Open Championship at Carnoustie will forever be remembered for Ben Hogan’s victory in his only attempt to win the Claret Jug. There were three other Americans in the field. Amateur Frank Stranahan tied for second. Lloyd Mangrum also made the transatlantic crossing for the only time in his career and finished tied for 24th. Sixty-eight years later, on a crystalline October morning, the fourth American at Carnoustie that year, Don Fairfield, agilely steps on decomposed granite in a backyard near the Indian Wells Country Club. It is the day before his 92nd birthday. Fairfield is directing workers who are in the early stage of installing a synthetic putting green for Palm Spring Greens, a business he owns with his son, Jeff Fairfield, 62. A young man is smoothing the area around an upraised cup that will be sunk into the green later. “Leave it alone,” Don tells him. “We will take care of it.”
Don is in his 75th year in golf, starting in 1947 as an assistant pro in Illinois. Along the way, he played the PGA tour full-time for n...
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