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Dave Marr
A proud Dave Marr with the 1965 PGA Championship trophy and winner’s check. (Photo: AP)

Golf Channel's Marr Makes Emotional Trip To Laurel Valley

In 1965, the late Dave Marr outlasted Jack Nicklaus and Billy Casper to win the PGA Championship at Laurel Valley. On Wednesday, a son honored his father’s memory by sprinkling his remaining ashes over the course that changed his life.

By Marino Parascenzo, Special to PGA.com

LIGONIER, Pa. -- Dave Marr III, a commentator on the Golf Channel, waited around Wednesday until all was finished at Laurel Valley, and then he went out onto the pristine golf course, alone. In a little while, he was crying.

It was at Laurel Valley that Dave Marr, a graceful, soft-spoken man and one of the most admired pros ever in golf, won the only major of his career, the 1965 PGA Championship. Marr did not merely win it, he outlasted two of the giants of the game -- Jack Nicklaus and Billy Casper -- in a grinding stretch drive.

Dave III was making his first visit to what for him is hallowed ground, this time for the Senior PGA Championship.

Dave III went out to No. 11, where in the grinding stretch drive against Nicklaus and Casper, his dad had made a birdie for a critical two-stroke swing against Nicklaus.

Young Dave took a little plastic bag from his pocket, and sprinkled some of the powdery contents on the ground.

"Thinking of you, dad," Dave III said, sprinkling. He began to cry.

He went to the 17th, where his dad made a crucial par putt to keep the giants at their distance.

A funny thing had happened there back in 1965. Dave III recalled how when he was 3, and his sister Elizabeth was 4, his dad would toss them into the air and catch them, in the joyfulness of a loving father who had been dirt poor himself as a kid.

"And we'd say, 'Careful, daddy,'" young Dave said.

And dad, on that day in 1965, as he lined up that crucial putt, could swear he heard his young son say, "Careful, Daddy."

Young Dave sprinkled some more from the plastic bag.

And then he went to the 18th, a sharp dogleg-right -- back then a par-4 -- where Marr had laid up out of a fairway bunker, then flicked a 9-iron across the dangerous pond to 3 feet, and then made the putt.

"Then dad put his hand over the hole," young Dave said, "and said, 'I've got you now.'"

Dave Marr's ashes had been sprinkled at various courses that meant so much to him  -- Walton Heath, in England, where he played on the Ryder Dup, and at Royal Birkdale in England, where he'd captained a Ryder Cup team.

Young Dave sprinkled the last of his dad's ashes at the 18th, at Laurel Valley, the course that had meant the most.

"Thinking of you, dad," Young Dave said.

Dave Marr, a gentleman's gentleman, died Oct. 5, 1997, after a long battle with stomach cancer.

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