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Featured Memorial | Byron Nelson

Byron Nelson Obituary


DALLAS (AP) - Byron Nelson, who had the greatest year in the history of professional golf when he won 18 tournaments in 1945, including a record 11 in a row, died Tuesday. He was 94.

His death was confirmed by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office. No cause of death was listed on its Web site.

Known as Lord Byron for his elegant swing and gentle manner, Nelson won 31 of 54 tournaments in 1944-45. Then, at age 34, he retired after the 1946 season to spend more time on his Texas ranch.

"When I was playing regularly, I had a goal," Nelson recalled years later. "I could see the prize money going into the ranch, buying a tractor, or a cow. It gave me incentive."

That incentive pushed Nelson to become one of the best players of his era. He won the Masters in 1937 and '42, the U.S. Open in 1939 and the PGA Championship in 1940 and '45.

He also finished second once in the U.S. Open, twice in the Masters and three times in the PGA. Nelson played in British Open only twice, finishing fifth in 1937.

Nelson's long, fluid swing is considered the model of the modern way to strike a golf ball and his kind, caring style with fans and competitors made him one of the most well-liked people in sports.

"I don't know very much," Nelson said in a 1997 interview with The Associated Press. "I know a little bit about golf. I know how to make a stew. And I know how to be a decent man."

His second British Open was in 1955, when he was no longer a serious competitor, although he did win the French Open on that trip for his last professional victory. His prize money, however, was not enough to pay the hotel bill.

"I had to put up another $200," he told the AP with a huge smile.

Nelson was born Feb. 4, 1912, on the family farm and started in golf in 1922 as a caddie at Glen Garden Country Club in Fort Worth. One year, he won the caddies' championship, defeating Ben Hogan in a playoff.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press


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Published in Star-Telegram on September 26, 2006
Golf legend Byron Nelson died about 1 p.m. today at his home in Roanoke, according to an announcement on the Tarrant County medical examiner's web site. He was 94. Nelson won 52 events... Read Obituary
Published in Star-Telegram from September 28 to September 29, 2006
Byron Nelson, 94, died Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2006, at his residence. Funeral: 1:30 p.m. Friday at Richland Hills Church of Christ, 6300 N.E. Loop 820, North Richland Hills, with Mr. Rick Atchley... Read Obituary
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