Ray Floyd may have won the $72,000 first prize at the Westchester Golf Classic today, but he did not win any friends afterward among tournament officials, sponsors and volunteers. Floyd literally took the money and flew -- whisked away by helicopter to the Old Westbury home of a friend.
Floyd shot a final-round 69 for a nine-under par 275 total over the 6,603-yard Westchester Country Club layout to win his third tournament of the year. The 38-year old from Nitro, W.V., has won $323,094 in 1981 and is No. 2 on the money list behind Tom Watson ($332,492). Watson skipped this tournament to prepare for the 81st U.S. Open, which begins Thursday at Merion Country Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Two strokes back for Floyd were Craig Stadler, a winner in the Kemper Open two week ago, rookie Bobby Clampett and Gibby Gilbert. It was another two strokes back to George Burns at 279, while Washingtonian Lee Elder shot a closing 70 to finish at 280 along with Tom Kite, J.C. Snead, Leonard Thompson and Ron Streck.
It is customary for golf tournament winners to be photographed with officials and exchange pleasantries after an event. But after his 20-minute news conference, Floyd gave Westchester club officials the brushoff.
Floyd posed for one photo with two dozen marshals, then bounded toward the club house to talk to his caddy, Dolthus (Golf Ball) Hull. With Floyd were his wife Maria and several friends. "Do you know that we just won $72,000 and we're still only No. 2 on the money list? Maria said to Hull. "Don't worry," Hull answered. "We'll get him." They hugged each other. Floyd disappeared into the club house.
Seven of the PGA's top money winners bypassed Westchester to prepare for the Open: Watson, Hale Irwin, Ben Crenshaw, Lee Travino, Larry Nelson, Andy Bean and Jack Nicklaus. "I never considered taking a week off," Floyd said. "Because I like to play the week before major championships. I've always felt in sports that you play in streeks . . . I'm not predicting I'll win the U.S. Open, I don't insinuate it I'm just very glad to be going to the U.S. Open with a win."
Floyd had begun the day at seven under par, one shot behind leader Stadler. Floyd played consistently and watched Stadler, Gilbert, Kite and Snead falter, Floyd parred 10 straight holes from Nos. 4 to 13, and was even par for the day. Then he sank birdie putts of seven and five feet at the 14th and 17th holes for his two-stroke margin of victory. His other wins came back to back in March in the Doral Open and Tournament Players Championship, both in Florida.
"It was probably one of the worst rounds I've played in the last few months," Floyd said. "Off the tee, I was terrible. But I made shots when I had to. I had made some putts and I made some good pitches."