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FULLNAME: John Byron Nelson, Jr.
NICKNAME: Lord Byron
BIRTHDATE: Feb 4, 1912
BIRTHPLACE: Waxahachie, Texas
TURNED PRO: 1932

 


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BYRON NELSON

Nelson's is a remarkable story. He grew up close to Ben Hogan and both men caddied at the same golf club. Where it was said they squared off for the club's caddie championship in 1927, with Nelson winning.

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.
Nelson's 1945 season is the best ever by a male golfer. He won 18 times, including 11 tournaments in a row. He did it with a 68.33 stroke average that was not bested for another 55 years.

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.

Tour Victories
54

Major Championships
5
• Masters: 1937, 1942
• U.S. Open: 1939
• PGA Championship: 1940, 1945

Awards and Honors
• Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
• Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, 1944 and 1945
• PGA Tour Vardon Trophy winner, 1939
• PGA Tour leading money winner, 1944, 1945
• Member of 2 U.S. Ryder Cup teams
• Captain, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1965

Quote
• Byron Nelson: "Every great player has learned the two Cs: how to concentrate and how to maintain composure."

• Byron Nelson: "Putting affects the nerves more than anything. I would actually get nauseated over three-footers."

• 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."

Trivia
• "Byron" is actually his middle name. His full name is John Byron Nelson Jr.


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