Larry Nelson

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Larry Nelson
— Golfer —
Personal information
Full name Larry Gene Nelson
Born (1947-09-10) September 10, 1947 (age 67)
Fort Payne, Alabama
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight 150 lb (68 kg; 11 st)
Nationality  United States
Residence Marietta, Georgia
Career
College Kennesaw Junior College
Turned professional 1971
Current tour(s) Champions Tour
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Professional wins 40
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 10
Japan Golf Tour 4
Champions Tour 19 (tied 10th all time)
Best results in major championships
(Wins: 3)
Masters Tournament 5th: 1984
U.S. Open Won: 1983
The Open Championship T12: 1980
PGA Championship Won: 1981, 1987
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 2006 (member page)

Larry Gene Nelson (born September 10, 1947) is an American professional golfer who has won numerous tournaments at both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour level.

Nelson was born in Fort Payne, Alabama and grew up in Acworth, Georgia, northwest of Atlanta. He didn't play the game as a child – atypical for a successful professional golfer – in high school he focused on basketball and baseball. Nelson took up golf at the age of 21 after he returned from serving in the infantry in Vietnam (Nelson was a 20-year-old newlywed when he was drafted into the U.S. Army).[1] Nelson was first introduced to golf by Ken Hummel, a soldier and friend in his infantry unit, and Nelson carefully studied Ben Hogan's book The Five Fundamentals of Golf while learning how to play the game.[2] He soon found that he had a talent for the game, breaking 100 the first time he played and 70 within nine months. He went on to graduate from Kennesaw Junior College in 1970 and turned professional the following year. He qualified for the PGA Tour at 27. His breakthrough year came in 1979 when he won twice and finished second in the money list to Tom Watson.

Nelson won 10 times on the PGA Tour, of which three, a high proportion, were major championships. He earned his first major title at the 1981 PGA Championship which he won by four strokes. In 1983 he was victorious at the U.S. Open at Oakmont, coming from seven behind at the half-way point to defeat Tom Watson by a single shot. Nelson scored a U.S. Open record 65-67 over the last 36 holes at the difficult Oakmont course, which broke a 51 year Open record established by Gene Sarazen. Nelson's 10 under par 132 record score has yet to be equaled. In 1987 he finished tied with Lanny Wadkins after the regulation 72 holes of PGA Championship, and won the title with a par at the first playoff hole.[3]

Nelson played on the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1979, 1981, and 1987. His record of 9–3–1 is one of the best since the event became USA v Europe in 1979; it had been a perfect 9–0–0 after the first two. He also won four tournaments on the Japan Golf Tour.

Since turning 50 in 1997 Nelson has had a successful Champions Tour career, winning 19 times, although he has not won a senior major. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in April 2006 and inducted in October 2006.[1] In 2011, Nelson received the PGA Distinguished Service Award from the PGA of America. The award "honors outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf".[4]

Nelson is also active in golf course design.

Professional wins (40)[edit]

PGA Tour wins (10)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of victory Runner(s)-up
1 Mar 11, 1979 Jackie Gleason-Inverrary Classic −14 (67-69-67-71=274) 3 strokes United States Grier Jones
2 Jul 8, 1979 Western Open −2 (71-69-70-76=286) Playoff United States Ben Crenshaw
3 Jun 8, 1980 Atlanta Classic −18 (66-69-68-67=270) 7 strokes United States Andy Bean, United States Don Pooley
4 Apr 5, 1981 Greater Greensboro Open −7 (69-68-69-75=281) Playoff United States Mark Hayes
5 Aug 9, 1981 PGA Championship −7 (70-66-66-71=273) 4 strokes United States Fuzzy Zoeller
6 Jun 19, 1983 U.S. Open −4 (75-73-65-67=280) 1 stroke United States Tom Watson
7 Oct 21, 1984 Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic −22 (66-66-64-70=266) 1 stroke United States Hubert Green
8 Aug 9, 1987 PGA Championship (2) −1 (70-72-73-72=287) Playoff United States Lanny Wadkins
9 Oct 18, 1987 Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic (2) −20 (68-69-68-63=268) 1 stroke United States Morris Hatalsky, United States Mark O'Meara
10 Jun 1, 1988 Georgia-Pacific Atlanta Golf Classic (2) −20 (63-66-66-73=268) 1 stroke United States Chip Beck

PGA Tour playoff record (3–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 1979 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic United States Gil Morgan Lost to birdie on second extra hole
2 1979 Western Open United States Ben Crenshaw Won with birdie on first extra hole
3 1981 Greater Greensboro Open United States Mark Hayes Won with birdie on second extra hole
4 1987 PGA Championship United States Lanny Wadkins Won with par on first extra hole
5 1989 GTE Byron Nelson Classic United States Jodie Mudd Lost to birdie on first extra hole

Japan Golf Tour wins (4)[edit]

Other wins (2)[edit]

Champions Tour wins (19)[edit]

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 Feb 22, 1998 American Express Invitational −13 (63-69-71=203) 4 strokes United States Dave Stockton
2 May 31, 1998 Pittsburgh Senior Classic −12 (65-65-74=204) 5 strokes United States Bob Duval
3 Sep 27, 1998 Boone Valley Classic −16 (70-65-65=200) 2 strokes Australia Graham Marsh
4 Feb 21, 1999 GTE Classic −8 (70-68-67=205) 2 strokes United States Bruce Fleisher
5 May 2, 1999 Bruno's Memorial Classic −11 (70-67-68=205) 1 stroke United States Dana Quigley
6 Apr 23, 2000 Las Vegas Senior Classic −19 (67-66-64=197) 5 strokes United States Bruce Fleisher United States Hale Irwin
7 May 28, 2000 Boone Valley Classic −16 (66-66-68=200) 3 strokes United States Tom Watson
8 Aug 27, 2000 FleetBoston Classic −13 (67-70-66=203) 4 strokes United States Jim Thorpe
9 Sep 3, 2000 Foremost Insurance Championship −18 (66-69-63=198) 3 strokes United States Dave Stockton
10 Sep 24, 2000 Bank One Senior Championship −13 (67-68-68=203) 6 strokes United States Bill Brask, United States Jim Thorpe
11 Oct 1, 2000 Vantage Championship −12 (66-63-69=198) Playoff United States Jim Dent, United States Gil Morgan
12 Jan 24, 2001 MasterCard Championship −19 (67-64-66=197) 1 stroke United States Jim Thorpe
13 Feb 8, 2001 Royal Caribbean Classic 29 pts (6-15-8=29) 1 point Argentina Vicente Fernandez
14 Jun 24, 2001 FleetBoston Classic −15 (65-69-67=201) 3 strokes United States Bruce Fleisher
15 Jul 8, 2001 Farmers Charity Classic −14 (67-67-68=202) 1 stroke United States Jim Ahern
16 Oct 21, 2001 SBC Championship −17 (67-69-63=199) 2 strokes United States Bob Gilder, United States Gary McCord
17 Sep 14, 2003 Constellation Energy Classic −9 (67-70-70=207) 2 strokes United States Jim Dent, United States Doug Tewell
18 May 9, 2004 FedEx Kinko's Classic −7 (73-69-67=209) 1 stroke United States Bruce Lietzke
19 Oct 10, 2004 Administaff Small Business Classic −14 (68-70-64=202) Playoff United States Hale Irwin

Champions Tour playoff record (2–3)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1998 Cadillac NFL Golf Classic United States Jim Colbert, United States Bob Dickson Dickson won with birdie on first extra hole
2 1998 Kroger Senior Classic South Africa Hugh Baiocchi, New Zealand Bob Charles
United States Frank Conner, United States Bruce Summerhays
Baiocchi won with birdie on second extra hole
3 2000 The Countrywide Tradition United States Tom Kite, United States Tom Watson Kite won with birdie on sixth extra hole
Nelson eliminated with par on second hole
4 2000 Vantage Championship United States Jim Dent, United States Gil Morgan Nelson won with birdie on sixth extra hole
Dent eliminated with birdie on first hole
5 2004 Administaff Small Business Classic United States Hale Irwin Won with birdie on first extra hole

Other senior wins (5)[edit]

Major championships[edit]

Wins (3)[edit]

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1981 PGA Championship 4 shot lead −7 (70-66-66-71=273) 4 strokes United States Fuzzy Zoeller
1983 U.S. Open 1 shot deficit −4 (75-73-65-67=280) 1 stroke United States Tom Watson
1987 PGA Championship (2) 3 shot deficit −1 (70-72-73-72=287) Playoff1 United States Lanny Wadkins

1Defeated Wadkins with a par on the first extra hole.

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP T31
U.S. Open T21 T54 CUT T4
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship T34 T54 T12 T28
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament T6 CUT T7 CUT 5 T36 T36 CUT T33 CUT
U.S. Open T60 T20 T19 1 CUT T39 T35 CUT T62 T13
The Open Championship T12 DNP T32 T53 CUT T55 CUT T48 T13 CUT
PGA Championship CUT 1 CUT T36 CUT T23 CUT 1 T38 T46
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament 48 55 DQ DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
U.S. Open T14 T3 CUT T46 CUT DNP DNP CUT DNP DNP
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship CUT CUT T28 T56 CUT CUT WD T71 DNP CUT
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
U.S. Open DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship DNP CUT CUT DNP DNP DNP CUT DNP DNP DNP
Tournament 2010 2011
Masters Tournament DNP DNP
U.S. Open DNP DNP
The Open Championship DNP DNP
PGA Championship DNP CUT

DNP = did not play
DQ = disqualified
WD = withdrew
CUT = missed the half way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place.
Green background for wins. 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 3 14 9
U.S. Open 1 0 1 3 3 8 20 14
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 2 9 6
PGA Championship 2 0 0 2 2 4 27 13
Totals 3 0 1 6 8 17 70 42
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 7 (1978 PGA – 1980 Open Championship)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 2 (1981 PGA – 1982 Masters)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "World Golf Hall of Fame member bio". Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  2. ^ Reinhard, Paul (June 29, 2000). "Quiet Nelson Set To Make Some Noise". The Morning Call. 
  3. ^ "Golf Major Championships". Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Larry Nelson to receive award from PGA". ESPN. Associated Press. April 13, 2011. 

External links[edit]