Jug McSpaden

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Harold "Jug" McSpaden
— Golfer —
Jug McSpaden.jpg
McSpaden in 1938
Personal information
Full name Harold Lee McSpaden
Nickname Jug
Born (1908-07-21)July 21, 1908
Monticello, Kansas
Died April 22, 1996(1996-04-22) (aged 87)
Kansas City, Kansas
Nationality  United States
Career
Turned professional 1927
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Professional wins 28
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 17
Other 11
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament T4: 1947
U.S. Open T7: 1931
The Open Championship DNP
PGA Championship 2nd: 1937
The Gold Dust Twins:
Harold "Jug" McSpaden (left)
and "Lord" Byron Nelson (right)
IronMastersposter.jpg

Harold Lee "Jug" McSpaden (July 21, 1908 – April 22, 1996) was an American professional golfer.

Early career[edit]

Born in Monticello, Kansas, McSpaden became interested in golf at the age of ten, after seeing Harry Vardon play in Kansas City, Kansas. McSpaden worked as a caddie, then was elected to PGA Membership at age 18 on November 11, 1926. He played in the first Masters in 1934 and won the Pasadena Open in 1935; the Canadian Open in 1939; and both the Los Angeles Open and the Phoenix Open in 1944 (his only head-to-head win against Byron Nelson). In the late 1930s and early 40s McSpaden was the club pro at Winchester Country Club outside of Boston.

In 1938, McSpaden played in the second Bing Crosby Pro-Am and was partnered with Eddie Lowery, who had been the caddy of Francis Ouimet in the 1913 U.S. Open. In 1939, McSpaden set a record at the Brackenridge Park Golf Course in San Antonio, when he shot a 59 in a practice round before the Texas Open.

Ryder Cup teams during World War II[edit]

McSpaden was named to the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1939, but the event was cancelled that year due to the outbreak of World War II. Other members of the Ryder Cup team that year included: Byron Nelson, Ralph Guldahl, Paul Runyan, Dick Metz, Craig Wood, Horton Smith, Walter Hagen, Sam Snead, and honorary captain Vic Ghezzi. McSpaden was also a member of the Ryder Cup team in 1941, 1942, and 1943; but during those years only exhibition matches were played as fundraisers for the war effort. Between 1942 and 1944 McSpaden and Byron Nelson (both of whom were rejected from the military for health reasons) made 110 exhibition appearances for the Red Cross and USO.

Because of their consistent one-two finishes at these charity events, Nelson and McSpaden were together referred to as the "Gold Dust Twins". In 1944, when winners were paid in war bonds, McSpaden won $23,855. He claimed to have cleared less than $150 when he cashed them in. McSpaden's winnings that year were second only to Nelson's record-breaking $37,967 worth of bonds.

In 1938, McSpaden and Byron Nelson complained to and then worked with a shoe manufacturer, Field and Flint, to improve the comfort and grip of golf shoes. For a time, they each received a 25 cent royalty for each pair of shoes sold.

McSpaden and Nelson were the subject of "Iron Masters", a 1940s newsreel narrated by Bill Stern.

Retirement and records[edit]

In 1947, McSpaden became vice president of a sportswear company, the Palm Beach Company, and left the professional golf tour.

McSpaden was elected to the Professional Golfers' Association Hall of Fame, and the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame on September 30, 1991. He was the course architect for the Dub's Dread Golf Club in Kansas City, Kansas. He competed in the Senior PGA Championship until the age of 85.

While McSpaden had 17 PGA Tour wins in all, he holds a PGA record for coming in second: 13 times in one year, 1945. That same year, he set a PGA record of 31 top-10 finishes in one season. He finished 12 times in the top-10 at major championships. His best finish was runner-up to Denny Shute at the 1937 PGA Championship.

McSpaden was the first pro-golfer to shoot a 59 on a par 71 course (Brackenridge Park Golf Club, San Antonio, Texas) in 1939. His playing partners that day were Byron Nelson, Paul Runyan, and Ben Hogan.

McSpaden also holds the PGA record for being the oldest golfer ever to better his age in a Champions Tour event: in 1994 he shot an 81 at the age of 85 [1] in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

According to Byron Nelson, McSpaden was "a better player than most people know". He was "honest, forthright, kind of rough and gruff", and because of his "exceptionally long arms" only used a 42-inch driver for most of his career.

McSpaden was named the 1994 Nissan Open Tournament Honoree, having won there (then the Los Angeles Open), in 1944.

In 1995, McSpaden said to Byron Nelson, "If you wouldn't have been born, I'd have been known as a pretty good player."

Death and legacy[edit]

McSpaden died in Kansas City, Kansas on or around April 22, 1996. He and his wife were found dead in their home located on Painted Hills Golf Course. At the time the course was named Victory Hills. Their car had been left running in the attached garage. The police ruled the deaths accidental carbon monoxide poisonings.

In both 2004 and 2005, McSpaden was a candidate on the ballot for the World Golf Hall of Fame. However, in neither vote did he receive enough support to become an inductee.

Dub's Dread, the course McSpaden designed, was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's longest golf course.

Professional wins[edit]

PGA Tour wins (17)[edit]

Other wins (11)[edit]

Results in major championships[edit]

Tournament 1928 1929
Masters Tournament NYF NYF
U.S. Open CUT DNP
PGA Championship DNP DNP
Tournament 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
Masters Tournament NYF NYF NYF NYF T7 T19 T15 32 T16 T12
U.S. Open DNP DNP T40 CUT DNP CUT T18 T20 T16 T9
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP QF 2 R32 R64
Tournament 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948
Masters Tournament T17 T9 T18 NT NT NT T29 T4 33
U.S. Open T12 T7 NT NT NT NT T31 DNP T12
PGA Championship SF R16 R16 NT QF R32 SF R64 DNP

Note: McSpaden never played in The Open Championship.
NYF = Tournament not yet founded
NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in PGA Championship match play
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Yellow background for top-10

Summary[edit]

Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 1 3 9 12 12
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 2 7 12 9
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PGA Championship 0 2 2 5 7 9 11 11
Totals 0 2 2 6 12 25 36 32
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 29 (1936 Masters – 1948 U.S. Open)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 4 (1940 PGA – 1941 PGA)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]