Jack Fleck Slept Here

Editor’s note: I’m at the Olympic Club in San Francisco all week for the 112th U.S. Open Championship.

Jack Fleck Slept Here 1
Courtesy of Jack Giusto Jr.

FOUR YEARS AGO ON A VISIT to the Olympic Club to research my book, THE LONGEST SHOT, I decided to see if I could locate the small motel where Jack Fleck stayed during that fateful week in June 1955. I’m glad I did.

The El Camino Motel, built circa 1950, is now the El Camino Inn, a family business that has passed through three generations. I stepped into the small retro-looking lobby and inquired if anyone knew of Fleck’s weeklong visit a half century ago. I was put in touch with Jack Giusto Jr., the grandson of the original owner.

Giusto was born a week before Fleck’s shocking Open victory. A few interesting details of the Iowan’s stay had passed from Giusto’s grandfather to father to Giusto. He shared those memories with me a few weeks later on the telephone. Jack Fleck rearranged the furniture in his motel room, Giusto told me. They never knew why. Maybe it had something to do with Jack’s yoga, they guessed.

Later on over dinner in Raleigh, North Carolina, I asked Jack if he moved the furniture in his motel room in Daly City. And, if so, why. Indeed he did, but it had nothing to do with his yoga. Jack turned the bed so his head would face north to benefit from the positive magnetic energy of the North Pole.

Small mystery solved.

Fleck slept like a baby, even on the night before facing the great Ben Hogan in an 18-hole playoff to determine the U.S. Open champion.

In the weeks leading up to this year’s U.S. Open, Giusto has highlighted the 1955 U.S. Open champion’s stay on the inn’s marquee (photo). Julius Boros, U.S. Open champion in 1952 and 1963, also stayed at the El Camino in June of 1955, as did 1957 U.S. Open champion Dick Mayer.

Do I detect a trend?

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

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