November 23, 2015

For three decades, Nebraska’s G.O.A.T. has been just about a dead heat between the eventual champ and Mark Calcavecchia. Calc was born in Laurel, but moved away at 13, to West Palm Beach, Fla. That’s where he blossomed as a golfer, eventually earning 13 PGA Tour victories, including the 1989 British Open. He also sports an Australian Open win and three Champions Tour Ws. When he was “on,” he shattered scoring records, often at the Phoenix Open. At the RBC Canadian Open in 2009, he broke the PGA Tour mark for consecutive birdies with nine. But none of this was accomplished during his days in the Cornhusker State. That’s why Goodman prevails. Born in south Omaha, Goodman caddied at the Omaha Field Club, won the Omaha City Championship in 1925, and took three straight Nebraska Amateurs from 1929-31. In 1929 he achieved immortality, beating tournament favorite Bobby Jones in the first round of the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach. Goodman got beat the next day, but claimed runner-up in the event in 1932, then shocked the world one more time in 1933 when he won the U.S. Open as an amateur, the last am to do so. He would finally win the U.S. Amateur in 1937.