33 Facts About Byron Nelson


Byron Nelson retired officially at the age of 34 to be a rancher, later becoming a commentator and lending his name to the Byron Nelson Classic, the first PGA Tour event to be named for a professional golfer.

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In 1974, Byron Nelson received the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

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Byron Nelson became the second recipient of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

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Byron Nelson received the 1994 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor.

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Byron Nelson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2006.

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The senior Byron Nelson went on to serve as an elder in the Roanoke Church of Christ, and the younger Byron Nelson was a committed member of that congregation, even performing janitorial services there from time to time long after he became famous.

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Byron Nelson placed his membership at the Hilltop Church of Christ in Roanoke from 1989 until 2000, when he moved his membership to the Richland Hills Church of Christ in North Richland Hills, Texas.

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When Byron Nelson was 11 years old, the family moved to Fort Worth, where he barely survived typhoid fever after losing nearly half his body weight to the disease, which left him unable to sire children.

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In 1934, Byron Nelson was working as a golf pro in Texarkana, Arkansas, when he met future wife Louise Shofner, to whom he was married for 50 years, before she died in 1985 after two severe strokes.

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Byron Nelson then took a club professional's job at the Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey in 1935.

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Byron Nelson worked hard on his game, having earlier realized that with the technological change from hickory to steel shafts, which was gathering momentum in the early 1930s, that the golf swing would have to adapt as well.

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Byron Nelson was among the first of a new generation of players who developed a full swing with increased leg drive leading the downswing; this is the forerunner of modern golf technique as practiced by top players, right to the present day.

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Byron Nelson is sometimes credited as being the father of the modern golf swing.

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Byron Nelson refined the changes for a couple of years, and then took his game to the highest level of competition, the PGA Tour.

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Byron Nelson followed this up with a win at the Metropolitan Open the following year.

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Byron Nelson reportedly won this tournament with "$5 in my pocket".

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In 1937, Byron Nelson was hired as the head professional at the Reading Country Club in Reading, Pennsylvania, and worked there until 1940, when he took a new job as head pro at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

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Byron Nelson won his first major title at The Masters in 1937, two shots ahead of runner-up Ralph Guldahl.

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Byron Nelson won four more majors, the US Open in 1939, the PGA Championship in 1940 and 1945, and a second Masters in 1942.

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Byron Nelson had a blood disorder that caused his blood to clot four times slower than normal, which kept him out of military service during World War II.

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Byron Nelson played on two Ryder Cup teams, in 1937 and 1947, and was non-playing captain in 1965.

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In 1945, Byron Nelson enjoyed a record-breaking year, winning 18 PGA tournaments out of the 30 he played, including 11 in a row that he played in.

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Byron Nelson achieved several notable performances of scoring and accuracy at key moments in major championships:.

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Byron Nelson retired officially at the relatively early age of 34 to become a rancher, buying a ranch at Roanoke, Texas.

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Byron Nelson later became a television golf commentator, during the 1960s and 1970s.

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Byron Nelson did win the 1951 Bing Crosby Pro-Am, a PGA Tour event which he had not won before.

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Byron Nelson gave paid golf exhibitions for many years after he retired from the Tour, notably after his 1951 Crosby victory.

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Byron Nelson published his memoirs "How I Played The Game" in 1993.

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Over nearly 70 years in the sport, Byron Nelson played with many celebrities and well-known personalities, including: Roone Arledge, Bing Crosby, James Garner, Bob Hope, Bobby Knight, Randolph Scott, Ed Sullivan, Johnny Weissmuller, Lawrence Welk, and Babe Zaharias.

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Byron Nelson was survived by Peggy, his wife of nearly 20 years, sister Margaret Ellen Sherman, and brother Charles, a professor emeritus at Abilene Christian University, where Byron Nelson had been a trustee and benefactor.

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Byron Nelson met his second wife, the former Peggy Simmons, when she volunteered at the Bogie Busters celebrity golf tournament in Dayton, Ohio in 1985.

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Byron Nelson had several successful years as a television golf commentator.

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Byron Nelson was ranked as the fifth greatest golfer of all time by Golf Digest magazine in 2000.

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