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FULLNAME: John Byron Nelson, Jr.
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Although Nelson turned professional in 1932, it would be five years before he won his first Major, the US Masters Championship . To confirm his arrival, he was selected for that year's Ryder Cup squad.
While the pre-war period was good to Nelson, his career really took off during the war. While Hogan and many of the other top professionals were sent off to war, Nelson was forced to stay home because it took his blood 13 minutes instead of 2 to congeal. During the 1940s, he played in 133 tournaments and was in the money list in every one of them. At that time that meant the top 10. He had 11 consecutive wins in 1945 and won the PGA Championship. He was also that year's leading money earner.
Starting in 1942 and ending in 1946, Byron Nelson finished in the Top 10 in 65 consecutive tournaments. Over that full time period, Nelson finished out of the Top 10 only once, winning 34 times and finishing second 16 more times.
The story goes that his wife suggested that he played goal in order to raise the money to buy their own ranch rather than touch their savings. Nelson achieved that goal in 1946 . He played his last tournament in 1955. Since retiring from competitive golf, he has been a commentator and teacher. One of his protégés is Tom Watson.
Awards and Honors
• Ken Venturi: "You can always argue who was the greatest player, but Byron is the finest gentleman the game has ever known."
• Arnold Palmer: "Byron Nelson accomplished things on the pro tour that never have been and never will be approached again."
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