Published Tuesday, July 9, 2013 AT 10:59 AM / Updated at 11:08 AM
Hale Irwin’s lucky nickel
Lee Barfknecht Omaha World-Herald

Pro golfer Hale Irwin no longer carries any good-luck charms or sentimental objects in his bag when he plays, but he used to — at least for a little while.

Irwin, in Omaha this week for the U.S. Senior Open, recalled when he was playing in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York in 1974. While shopping at a local store, he received a buffalo-head nickel in some change he got back.

“I used that nickel that week as a ball-marker,” Irwin said.

He won, the first of three U.S. Open titles in his career.

“I figured if it works for the Open, I’ll try it for a few more weeks,” he said. “Then, inadvertently, I spent it, just like I had found it. And I couldn’t get it back. So that was the end of that.”

About Lee Barfknecht

Lee Barfknecht has won nine national writing awards from four separate organizations, and is a 12-time winner of the Nebraska sportswriter of the year award. He covers Big Ten football and basketball, Nebraska basketball and other college financial issues for The World-Herald. You can email Lee at