It happened when I stopped by the renowned Old Sport & Gallery art shop to look up Tom Stewart.
A life member of the PGA of America, Stewart was a well-known club pro in Michigan before opening the Old Sport & Gallery some 20 years ago in this quaint village that nestles next to the famed Pinehurst No. 2 course, site of this year’s men’s and women’s U.S. Opens.
It was in Stewart’s wondrous shop that I met Catherine Lacoste, the only amateur ever to win the U.S. Women’s Open championship, a fete she accomplished in 1967 in Hot Springs, Va.
Lacoste was in town to attend a gala honoring past U.S. Open champions the next night and to watch the most prestigious championship in women’s golf.
I had the good fortune to chat with her for a few minutes at the Old Sport & Gallery, where she graciously posed for a picture with me (above) and autographed the book, “1967-1969 Catherine Lacoste’s Slam” that details her triumphs in the 1967 U.S. Open and the 1969 U.S. Amateur and British Ladies Amateur championships.
Her parents reached their own legendary athletic status in the 1920s. Rene “The Crocodile” Lacoste was a renowned French tennis champion, while her mother, Simone Thion de la Chaume, became one of the great women golfers in the same era. Together, they created the Lacoste clothing line with its crocodile logo, one of the respected luxury labels in the world.
Catherine Lacoste’s U.S. Open victory came on July 2, her father’s birthday. Her British Ladies Amateur title two years later is the same championship her mother won in 1927.
GolfScript: Tom Stewart’s Old Sport & Gallery in Pinehurst, N.C., is one of the largest stores in the world specializing in golf art. Part art gallery, bookstore and memorabilia museum, Old Sport is located a couple hundred yards from the first tee of the famed Pinehurst No. 2 course. Check out the website at www.oldsportgallery.com.