Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Columns

May 22, 2010

STRINGER: Byron Nelson: Golfer and Gentleman

Corsicana — One of the most prestigious tournaments on the PGA tour has been played this past week in Dallas and honors one of the game’s greatest players, Byron Nelson.

Nelson was born near Waxahachie in 1912, but he moved with his family to Fort Worth when he was 11 years old. Shortly thereafter, he began caddying at Glen Garden Country Club. Since the club did not allow caddies to play the course, Nelson would practice at night, placing a white handkerchief on the hole so he could find it in the dark. At age 14 he defeated a fellow caddy named Ben Hogan in tournament among club caddies.

Nelson’s professional career began with a victory in the New Jersey Open in 1936. Between 1937 and 1942, he won the U.S. Open, the Masters, and the PGA Championship twice. He finished second two other times. As impressive as those accomplishments are, they pale in comparison to his performance in 1944 and 1945. In 1944, he won seven tournaments, was the leading money winner on the tour, and averaged 69.6 strokes per round for the 85 rounds he played that year on the tour. The following year Nelson won 19 tournaments, including 11 in a row, average 68 strokes per round for his 120 rounds of tournament play. By the end of that two year span, he had finished in the money in 113 consecutive tournaments.

In a tournament in Seattle, he shot a round of 62 and finished with a course record of 259 for the 72 holes. In 1946 at the age of 34, Nelson retired from the PGA tour, playing in only a few selected tournaments each year. His last victory was in the 1955 French Open. Altogether, he recorded victories in 54 PGA-sanctioned events. The Associated Press twice named him male athlete of the year.

Some golfing fans claim Nelson may have been the greatest to ever play the game, based on his performance. Others contend that his records are somewhat tainted in that many of the game’s best players were in the military during World War II when Nelson was compiling his amazing statistics. In other words, the level of competition was sub-par during his peak performance years.

In addition to his remarkable records on the golf course, Nelson was highly regarded for his kind and gentle spirit and his Christian example. One observer commented that Nelson’s discipleship dictated his decency, demeanor, decision-making, and how he dealt with people — a champion and a gentleman. There may be debate about the greatest golfer, Byron Nelson was the game’s finest man, hands down. He died in 2007 at the age of 94 and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal the following year. 

—————

Dr. Tommy Stringer is executive director of the Navarro College Foundation. He may be reached by e-mail at tommy.stringer@navarrocollege.edu. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? E-mail: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

1
Text Only
Columns
  • 5-30 Sheehan Oliver.jpg Conkers for fall

    Ever heard of a conker? Well, the fall is here and I am looking forward to it for many reasons, as well as rekindling some fond memories of autumns as a youngster in England, with conkers.

    September 23, 2010 1 Photo

  • 5-30 Sheehan Oliver.jpg My memories of ‘back to school’

    It is hard to believe that it has been nine years since I last did the back-to-school thing, and yet those memories (most of them good) are still as clear as day.

    September 1, 2010 1 Photo

  • 5-30 Sheehan Oliver.jpg ‘Green’ will drive us

    If my vehicle broke down tomorrow I COULD use the community transit to get to work. I don’t believe that’s the answer in the long term though.

    August 25, 2010 1 Photo

  • Newbury Don NEW09.jpg Way Back When…

    Persons of a certain age waxed melancholy recently upon the death of a musical icon, Mitch Miller.

    August 24, 2010 1 Photo

  • Gelene Simpson.jpg SIMPSON: School Days, School Days

    Don’t look now, but the school year has sneaked up on us again.

    August 23, 2010 1 Photo

  • Belcher, Bob.jpg It’s on ...

    You’ve seen the commercials, I’m sure, for Southwest Airlines and various employees from baggage handlers to gate agents to flight attendants all voicing the phrase, “It’s on!”

    August 7, 2010 1 Photo

  • Jacobs, Janet.jpg Snarking on the news

    The odd news has been delightful lately, and I thought I’d share a little bit of it with you today.
    Nathan Wayne Pugh, a wannabe bank robber went into a Dallas Wells Fargo Bank with a note and a Whataburger bag on June 26, according to the Dallas Morning News.

    August 7, 2010 1 Photo

  • Gelene Simpson.jpg SIMPSON: One Moment, Please

       No matter where you live these days, you have to make a good many long distance telephone calls. Maybe you made a purchase in an establishment close at hand.

    July 26, 2010 1 Photo

  • Stringer, Tommy.jpg STRINGER: Josiah Wilbarger

    Wilbarger County, whose county seat is Vernon, is in northwest of Wichita Falls and southeast of Childress.

    July 10, 2010 1 Photo

  • 5-30 Sheehan Oliver.jpg World Cup woes

    The soccer World Cup has reached the last 16 stage, with teams giving everything to reach the last eight of the competition, and yet again, surprise surprise, England is not in the quarter-final lineup.

    July 1, 2010 1 Photo

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Seasonal Content
House Ads
Twitter Updates
Front page
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide