Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hardin Brought Right Touch to Masters

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hardin Brought Right Touch to Masters

Article excerpt

When Hord Wilson Hardin died the other day, St. Louis lost finally a native son it long since had lost to warm Florida winters and cool Michigan summers. Still, at 84, a victim of cancer, Hardin ranked internationally as probably No. 1 in our town's impact on the humbling game - golf.

As noted in his obituary, he did indeed have the regal bearing of the world's most prestigious tournament, Augusta's Masters. For a dozen years, Hord W. Hardin Jr. was lord of the Masters as chairman of the Augusta National.

With the protective zeal of his Masters predecessor, Cliff Roberts, Hardin kept the Masters virtually free of commercialism just as he guarded golf's rules with global approval or occasionally disapproval.

At times when he interpreted the game's rigid etiquette as authoritatively as he did Augusta's famed course and safeguarded an invitation to play the scenic course - much less an opportunity to compete in the Masters - he was described facetiously as "Hard Hordin."

But, truly, though a reserved man who could burst into hearty spontaneous laugh, Hord had a dry sense of humor and a warmth many missed. Yeah, and a sense of patience with one whose own efforts to play golf lasted just about long enough to realize that you can't get anywhere with d ouble-play grounders off a tee.

When I became sports editor in 1958, bravely challenging an early column on old Bellerive course where the hills of the University of Missouri-St. Louis now are located, Hardin not only was understanding and patient, but also helpful.

For one, I felt - and colleagues of the local baseball-writing chapter agreed - that we couldn't let the inevitable happen without offering an opportunity to present to Hardin our most prestigious award, the Dr. Robert F. Hyland trophy for Meritorious Service to Sports. Just previously his old members at the Missouri Athletic Club had persuaded him to come in from Michigan for membership in the MAC's Hall of Fame.

Safely and toastily ensconced winters in Florida's Naples, Hardin surprised many by agreeing to come to the writers' dinner in 1993. Where many use a butcher's thumb in expenses, Hord called back to inquire whether we were aware of the first-class plane fare. …

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