“This is an incredible story in a sport that we’ve never previously explored at HBO,” said Greenburg. “The 1960 U.S. Open was much more than just a historic golf tournament. The golf that was played and the athletes that performed at Cherry Hills nearly 50 years ago represented the very essence of the emerging sport. You had three generations of stars in Hogan, Palmer and Nicklaus. Each had a unique relationship with his father and each grew up in a different era, yet there they were, fighting it out on the back nine at the U.S. Open.”
While the story reaches its climax on the final holes at Cherry Hills Country Club in suburban Denver, the path each of these sports icons took to this historic juncture is equally important. BACK NINE AT CHERRY HILLS: THE LEGENDS OF THE 1960 U.S. OPEN spans the early years of the three, all of whose lives were shaped by their relationships with their fathers. Ben Hogan’s Texas boyhood was tragic: His father committed suicide when Ben was nine years old, leaving him to struggle with his “demons” through the Depression and war years, determined to make something of himself as a pro golfer. Arnold Palmer, the Pennsylvania blue-collar groundskeeper's kid who constantly sought his father’s approval, was not allowed to mingle with the country club kids, but his strength and charisma brought him early success playing golf in post-war America. Jack Nicklaus, the exceptionally talented country club kid from Ohio, had a loving, friendly relationship with his pharmacist father during the prosperous years of the Eisenhower 1950s.
The special story of these three great men battling to the wire at Cherry Hills transcended the world of sports. Besides capturing the sheer excitement of the tournament, the documentary will illuminate the sporting landscape that Hogan, Palmer and Nicklaus helped shape, and reveal the mood of the country that watched as these men changed their profession forever.
Famed sportswriter Dan Jenkins called this remarkable event “too big, too wildly exciting, too crazily suspenseful, too suffocatingly dramatic. What exactly happened? Oh, not much. Just a routine collision of three decades at one historical intersection. On that afternoon, in the span of just 18 holes, we witnessed the arrival of Nicklaus, the coronation of Palmer and the end of Hogan.”
High-profile interviews include: golfers Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Ken Venturi and Dow Finsterwald, and author and former Sports Illustrated writer Dan Jenkins.
The Dallas Morning News has written, “HBO is the undisputed champion of sports documentaries.”
The executive producers of BACK NINE AT CHERRY HILLS: THE LEGENDS OF THE 1960 U.S. OPEN are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; producer, Margaret Grossi.
For more information, please visit http://www.hbo.com/events/usopen/