|Nickname||The Joplin Ghost|
|Born||May 22, 1908|
|Died||October 15, 1963 (aged 55)|
|Sporting nationality||United States|
|College||Southwest Missouri State - Now Missouri State University|
|Former tour(s)||PGA Tour|
|Number of wins by tour|
|Best results in major championships|
|Masters Tournament||Won: 1934, 1936|
|PGA Championship||T3: 1928|
|U.S. Open||3rd: 1930, 1940|
|The Open Championship||T4: 1930|
|Achievements and awards|
Horton Smith (May 22, 1908 – October 15, 1963) was an American professional golfer, best known as the winner of the first and third Masters Tournaments.
Born in Springfield, Missouri, Smith turned professional in 1926 and won his first tournament, the Oklahoma City Open in 1928. In 1929 he won eight titles. This was an era of expansion and reorganization for professional golf. The PGA Tour was founded in 1934, and Smith was one of the leading players of the early years of the tour, topping the money list in 1936. He accumulated 30 PGA Tour titles in total, the last of them in 1941, and his two major championships came at the Masters, at the inaugural tournament in 1934 and again in 1936 (the latter was the first Masters to end on a Monday due to rain).
Smith was a member of five Ryder Cup teams: 1929, 1931, 1933, 1935, and 1937. His career Ryder Cup record was 3–0–1, his only blemish a halved singles match against Bill Cox in 1935 at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey. Smith was the only golfer to defeat Bobby Jones during the latter's Grand Slam year of 1930, at the stroke play Savannah Open in February. He played in every Masters through 1963, the year of his death.
Smith served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II in the special services division coordinating athletics and was discharged as a captain.
After the war, he became the club pro at Detroit Golf Club in Michigan in 1946, where he remained until his death. He was president of the PGA of America from 1952 to 1954. During that time black professionals continued to be excluded from PGA events despite Smith stating that he would support reviewing this rule when, in January 1952, Bill Spiller was excluded from the San Diego Open while former boxer Joe Louis was allowed to play as an invited amateur. The "Caucasian only" clause in the PGA of America's constitution was not amended until November 1961.
When he resigned as head professional of Oak Park Country Club in 1936, his elder brother Renshaw (1906–1971) replaced him at the club in River Grove, Illinois.
Smith died in 1963 at age 55 of Hodgkin's disease in Detroit. He had lost a lung to cancer six years earlier, and is buried in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri. He was the first of the former Masters champions to pass away, followed by Craig Wood in 1968 and Jimmy Demaret in 1983.
Awards and honors
- Smith was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 1984.
- Smith was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1990.
- In 1960, awarded the Ben Hogan Award by the golf writers for overcoming a physical handicap and continued active participation in golf.
- In 1962, he was voted the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
- The PGA of America bestowed the Horton Smith Award, presented annually since 1965, to a PGA professional who has made "outstanding and continuing contributions to PGA education." On July 2, 2020, it was renamed the PGA Professional Development Award by the board of directors because Smith had been a supporter of the PGA's "Caucasian-only' membership clause that was part of their by-laws from 1934 to 1961.
- A municipal golf course in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri, is named for him.
- A golf tournament at the Detroit Golf Club is named for him.
- He is attributed with being the first professional golfer to study putting as a means to beat his opponents.
- In September 2013, Horton's green jacket, awarded in 1949 for his Masters wins in 1934 and 1936, sold at auction for over $682,000; the highest price ever paid for a piece of golf memorabilia. It had been in the possession of his brother Ren's stepsons for decades.
PGA Tour wins (30)
- 1928 (2) Oklahoma City Open, Catalina Island Open
- 1929 (8) Berkeley Open Championship, Pensacola Open Invitational, Florida Open, La Gorce Open, Fort Myers Open, North and South Open, Oregon Open, Pasadena Open (December)
- 1930 (4) Central Florida Open, Savannah Open, Berkeley Open, Bay District Open
- 1931 (1) St. Paul Open
- 1932 (1) National Capital City Open
- 1933 (1) Miami International Four-Ball (with Paul Runyan)
- 1934 (3) Masters Tournament, Grand Slam Open, California Open
- 1935 (3) Palm Springs Invitational, Miami Biltmore Open, Pasadena Open
- 1936 (2) Masters Tournament, Victoria Open
- 1937 (3) North and South Open, Inverness Invitational Four-Ball (with Harry Cooper), Oklahoma Four-Ball (with Harry Cooper)
- 1941 (2) Florida West Coast Open, St. Paul Open
Major championships are shown in bold.
this list is probably incomplete
- 1929 French PGA Championship
- 1940 Massachusetts Open
- 1948 Michigan PGA Championship
- 1954 Michigan Open
|Year||Championship||54 holes||Winning score||Margin||Runner-up|
|1934||Masters Tournament||1 shot lead||−4 (70-72-70-72=284)||1 stroke||Craig Wood|
|1936||Masters Tournament (2)||3 shot deficit||−3 (74-71-68-72=285)||1 stroke||Harry Cooper|
|The Open Championship||T25|
|The Open Championship||T4||T12||T14||10|
|The Open Championship||NT||NT||NT||NT||NT||NT|
|The Open Championship|
|The Open Championship|
NYF = tournament not yet founded
NT = no tournament
WD = withdrew
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
|The Open Championship||0||0||0||1||2||5||5||5|
- Most consecutive cuts made – 43 (1927 U.S. Open – 1946 Masters)
- Longest streak of top-10s – 3 (twice)
- ^ a b "1934: Horton Smith wins first Masters Tournament". Augusta.com. March 21, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- ^ Gould, Alan (April 7, 1936). "Horton Smith wins Augusta golf title". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. p. 10. Archived from the original on February 14, 2020. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
- ^ Erwin, Robert A. (February 23, 1930). "Horton Smith beats Bobby Jones by one stroke in tourney". Palm Beach News. United Press. p. 5.
- ^ a b "Ex-Masters king Horton Smith dies". Palm Beach Post. Associated Press. October 16, 1963. p. 15.
- ^ Martin, Whitney (December 28, 1942). "Horton Smith now hears putt-putt instead of putt". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. p. 10.
- ^ "Lt. Horton Smith given army athletic posts". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. November 6, 1944. p. 6, part 2.
- ^ "No Ryder Cup match until '47, says Smith". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. November 13, 1945. p. 2, final.
- ^ "Hall of fame golfer, Horton Smith, dies at 55". Miami News. Associated Press. October 15, 1963. p. 2B.
- ^ "PGA clears way for Joe Louis to compete in San Diego Open meet". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Florida. Associated Press. January 16, 1952. p. 6.
- ^ "Bunker Mentality: On This Day in 1961: PGA lifts ban on non-white players". Yahoo Eurosport UK. Archived from the original on February 8, 2015. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
- ^ "PGA opens its doors to Negroes, world golfers". Florence Times. Alabama. Associated Press. November 10, 1961. p. 4, section 2.
- ^ "PGA group abolishes 'Caucasian'". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Florida. Associated Press. November 10, 1961. p. 22.
- ^ "Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Members". Archived from the original on May 9, 2012.
- ^ "Horton Smith wins Ben Hogan Award". Ludington Daily News. Michigan. Associated Press. December 28, 1960. p. 7.
- ^ a b "PGA of America renames Horton Smith Award". Golf Channel. July 2, 2020. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
- ^ "Horton Smith Municipal Golf Course". Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Archived from the original on April 19, 2014. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- ^ "Horton Smith". Detroit Golf Club. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- ^ Mickelson, Paul (June 7, 1934). "Secret of touch in putting given by Horton Smith". St. Petersburg Independent. Florida. Associated Press. p. 4A.
- ^ Harig, Bob (September 9, 2013). "Green jacket nets $682K at auction". ESPN. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- ^ "1934 & 1936 Masters Champion Horton Smith's Green Jacket". Green Jacket Auctions. Archived from the original on September 13, 2013. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- ^ Kindred, Dave (August 2013). "The case of the missing green jacket". Golf Digest. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- ^ Barkow, Al (1989). The History of the PGA TOUR. Copyright PGA Tour. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-26145-4.
- Horton Smith at the World Golf Hall of Fame
- PGA of America Hall of Fame
- Horton Smith at golf.about.com at the Wayback Machine (archived February 19, 2014)
- Horton Smith at Find a Grave
- American male golfers
- PGA Tour golfers
- Ryder Cup competitors for the United States
- Winners of men's major golf championships
- World Golf Hall of Fame inductees
- Golfers from Missouri
- Golfers from Detroit
- Sportspeople from Springfield, Missouri
- Deaths from cancer in Michigan
- Deaths from Hodgkin lymphoma
- Burials at Springfield National Cemetery
- 1908 births
- 1963 deaths