PGA Tour legend Billy Casper dies at 83

News & Tour

The prolific PGA Tour winner has died of a heart attack

Billy Casper, one of the most prolific PGA Tour players of his era, has died of a heart attack aged 83 at his Springview home. 

The 51 time PGA Tour winner was overshadowed only by by the “Big Three” of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.

Born in San Diego, California, on June 24, 1931, he turned professional in 1954 and won his first PGA Tour title two years later, at the Labatt Open in Canada.

An eight-time US Ryder Cup member, Casper won his first seven Ryder Cup matches and collected at total of 23 1/2 points in total – which remains as a Ryder Cup record. 

He amassed a 20-10-7 record in Ryder Cup competition with a 6-2-2 record in singles’ play.

Casper won his first Major championship at the 1959 US Open at the Winged Foot Golf Club, New York. Before winning his second US Open title in one of the most unlikely victories in 1966.

He trailed Arnold Palmer by seven shots with nine holes to play but forced a playoff, eventually beating Palmer in the extra 18-hole session the next day. 

In his autobiography, ‘The Big Three and Me’, Casper said he stood on the 10th hole tee on his final round and said: “I’d like to finish second.” Casper said Palmer replied: “I’ll do everything I can to help you.”

From 1962 to 1970, Casper and Nicklaus won 33 times on the PGA Tour. Palmer won 30 times. 

Casper’s winning rate of 9.2 percent trails only Nicklaus (12 percent) and Woods (26 percent) of all golfers who began their careers after 1950. 

Casper was a genius with the short game, considered one of the best putters in golf.

Casper won the PGA Tour money title twice and was player of the year in 1966 and 1970. HE finished his career with three majors winning the US Open title in 1959 and 1966 and the Masters title in 1970.

He won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average five times.

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