Amy Alcott, Walter Keller, Dean Martin, and Riviera

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On Saturday, Jim Nantz interviewed the great Amy Alcott—who won twenty-nine LPGA Tour events, beginning in 1975, when she was nineteen—during the CBS broadcast of the Northern Trust Open (nee the Los Angeles Open), at Riviera. In 1995, on assignment at Riviera for Golf Digest, I met Walter Keller, who had been Alcott’s teacher. He told me that he first saw her on the practice tee at Riviera when she was a young girl. “I fell in love with the kid right there,” he said. “She hit a beautiful shot, and I said, ‘Hit another.’ She did. ‘Hit another.’ She did. I turned to her mother and said, ‘You are a blessed woman.’” Keller arranged for Alcott to become a member of the club—and here he is a little later, with Alcott and Tony Sills (another student of his) and a significant collection of junior trophies:


Keller, who died in 2003, at the age of ninety-five, said that Alcott had a difficult relationship with her father but that club members looked out for her. “She had twenty fathers here,” he said. “Dean Martin would see her on the driving range, swing by in his cart, and say, ‘Hey, Amy, let’s play nine holes.” One of many, many reasons to love Riviera.


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