|Full Name||John Byron Nelson Jr.|
|Nickname (s)||Lord Byron|
|Profession (s)||Golf Player|
|Date of Birth||February 4, 1912|
|Day of Birth||Sunday|
|Place Of Birth||Waxahachie, Texas, U.S.|
|Died||September 26, 2006|
|Spouse||Louise Shofner Nelson|
Lesser known facts about Byron Nelson
- John Byron Nelson was born on February 4, 1912, in Waxahachie.
- He took up golf while caddying at Glen Garden Country Club in Fort Worth. He won against Hogan for the club caddy title in 1927.
- Nelson became a pro in 1932 and taught at country clubs for 12 years. His first-year winnings had been something to the tune of $100.
- He is credited with inventing the double-size umbrella and popularising the modern golf swing. He was one of the first golfers to change from hickory-shaft clubs to steel.
- He won 52 professional golf tournaments and was a dominant golf player during World War II.
- Nelson won 18 events—including eleven straights—in 1945 and then abruptly retired the following year at age 34.
- In the first of his two Masters titles, in 1937, Nelson gambled using a 3-wood to shoot over a creek onto the 13th green. He made a 20-foot putt for an eagle (two under par for a hole) and won the event.
- Two years later, Nelson used a 1-iron, considered the most difficult to master, to win the U.S. Open on a risky 220-yard shot. The World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida, displays the ball and club.
- Nelson bagged his second master in the year 1942. He won eight tournaments in 1944 and so was named as the Male Athlete of the year by the Associated Press.
- The very next year, he exploded the sports of golf with a success that others can only dream of. He made eleven consecutive victories covered a four-and-a-half-month span. The string of wins started when he beat Snead in a playoff in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- He suffered from bouts of blood disorder hemophilia and as a result, received an exemption from the military during World War II.
- Nelson aced his game against many top golfers in the service. He played against Ben Hogan and Sam Snead very frequently.
- In addition to his 18 titles, he finished seven other times. His worst finish was ninth.
- He dedicated his 1945 winnings of $63,000 in war bonds and purchased a 740-acre ranch near Roanoke, Texas, outside Dallas.
- During his later years, Nelson became a golf teacher, broadcaster, and diplomat for the sport. A Professional Golf Association tournament is named after him.
- As per the information was given by a family friend, Byron Nelson died on September 26, 2006, at his home in Roanoke, Texas home around noon.
- For the great gentleman that Nelson was, he was often referred to as “Lord Byron”, after the English poet by that name. This name was given to him by Atlanta sports journalist O.B. Keeler in recognition of his gentlemanly conduct.
- He also served as a successful golf commentator on television. He played a significant role in the making Tom Watson a top-notch player during the 1970s. Under the aegis of Nelson, Ken Venturi also went on to become a rising star in the 1950s.
- In 2000, the Golf Digest Magazine ranked him as the fifth greatest golfer of all the time. Jack Nicklaus topped the list at first position, followed by Ben Hogan and Sam Snead at second and third respectively, and Bobby Jones was fourth.
- A Sports Illustrated panel listed him as the seventh greatest golfer after Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Jones, Hogan, Snead, and Arnold Palmer.
- An electromechanical machine created by the Battelle Memorial Institute and True Temper Sports was named after Nelson and called as “Iron Byron” for the consistency of his swing. The machine was used by the United States Golf Association and golf manufacturers to compare and test clubs and balls for conformity to standards.
- Jack Nicklaus’s 1978 book On and Off the Fairway describes Nelson as the straightest golfer he ever saw.
Other Unknown facts about Byron Nelson
- The State Highway 114 Business through Roanoke, Texas is named Byron Nelson Boulevard, in honor of his residence.
- The street he lived on was renamed as Eleven Straight Lane in the memory of his 1945 record.
- In Irving, Texas a street where the renowned HP Byron Nelson Championship is played is called as Byron Nelson Lane.
- On October 16, 2006, President George W. Bush approved H.R. 4902 and thereby awarded Byron Nelson with the Congressional Gold Medal. The medal is the highest award which is bestowed by the Legislative Branch of the US government.
- On April 23, 2007, the Northwest Independent School District named their second-high school Byron Nelson High School which is located in Trophy Club, Texas, near Nelson’s hometown of Roanoke.
- He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974 as part of the inaugural class. The World Golf Hall of Fame explains:
“Coming of age just as the steel shaft was replacing hickory, Nelson learned that using the big muscles in the hips and legs could be a more reliable, powerful, and effective way to hit a golf ball than the more wristy method that had been employed in the era of hickory. Nelson was particularly noteworthy for the way his swing was more upright and along the target line, employing a full shoulder turn with restricted wrist cock, and for the way he kept his knees flexed in the downswing.”
Byron Nelson Quotes
- “One way to break up any kind of tension is good deep breathing.”
- “Every great player has learned the two Cs: how to concentrate and how to maintain composure.”
- “Out-of-control emotions can make smart people stupid.”
- “The only shots you can be sure of are those you’ve had already.”
- “The only thing you should force in a golf swing is the club back in the bag.”
- “To control your nerves, you must have a positive thought in your mind.”
- “Golf is a lot like life. When you make a decision, stick with it.”
- “I played the British Open in 1937. It took a week to get there and a week to get home. I was the low American; finished fourth or fifth. And what it came down to was, I lost a good part of my summer, won $185, and spent $1,000 on boat fare alone.”
- “Golf is a percentage game, and I play the percentages.”
- “No golfer ever gets so consistently good that he can’t use some constructive advice. No matter how many trophies he may win, he can’t analyze and remedy his own faults.”
- “The first step in building a solid, dependable attitude is to be realistic, not only about your inherent capabilities but also about how well you are playing to those capabilities on any given day.”
- “Putting affects the nerves more than anything. I would actually get nauseated over three-footers.”
- “Winners are different. They’re a different breed of cat.”
- “In my day we simply didn’t believe that it was possible to play as well as these young fellows do. We thought that strength denied touch and that you could not consistently hit the ball both long and straight. It’s been proven that you can.”
- “Arnold Palmer has what I call an ‘Eisenhower smile’. Those two men, they’d smile and their whole faces would look so pleasant; it was like they were smiling all over.”
- “I’ve been fortunate all my life. I was born into a Christian family and able to stay out of jail. I’ve been more blessed than anybody I know in golf.”
- “Sam Snead did to the tee-shot what Roger Bannister did to the four-minute mile.”
- “I played with him in a tournament in Ontario, Canada. I was leading going into the last round. He was about 45 minutes late. You could do that in those days, especially name players. He did things you’d get disqualified for now. He’d call and say, ‘I’ll be late, but I’ll be there.’ Anything to draw the people and his name drew people. He was a top showman. He was always a jolly sort of a guy. I don’t know anybody who didn’t like him.”
- “It shows you how important one stroke really is in golf, … One shot doesn’t sound like much, but I won eight times in 1944, improved one-third of a shot in ’45 and won 18 times.”
- “One of the things I’m most proud of looking back in my little black book is that my career had a lot of consistency.”
- “It was so much different in those days. People ran their tournaments pretty much to suit themselves.”
Awards and Honours
Byron Nelson’s PGA Tour Wins
Byron Nelson bagged 52 wins on the PGA Tour. Below is the list of those wins:
- 1935 New Jersey State Open
- 1936 Metropolitan Open
- 1937 The Masters
- 1937 Belmont Country Club Match Play
- 1938 Thomasville Open
- 1938 Hollywood Open
- 1939 Phoenix Open
- 1939 North and South Open
- 1939 U.S. Open
- 1939 Western Open
- 1940 Texas Open
- 1940 Miami Open
- 1940 PGA Championship
- 1941 Greater Greensboro Open
- 1941 Tam O’Shanter Open
- 1941 Miami Open
- 1942 Oakland Open
- 1942 Masters
- 1942 Tam O’Shanter Open
- 1944 San Francisco Victory Open
- 1944 Knoxville War Bond Tournament
- 1944 New York Red Cross Tourney
- 1944 Minneapolis Four-Ball (partnered Jug McSpaden in team format)
- 1944 Tam O’Shanter Open
- 1944 Nashville Open
- 1944 Texas Victory Open
- 1944 San Francisco Open
- 1945 Phoenix Open
- 1945 Corpus Christi Open
- 1945 New Orleans Open
- 1945 Miami International Four-Ball (partnered Jug McSpaden in team format)
- 1945 Charlotte Open
- 1945 Greater Greensboro Open
- 1945 Durham Open
- 1945 Atlanta Open
- 1945 Montreal Open
- 1945 Philadelphia Inquirer
- 1945 Chicago Victory National Open
- 1945 PGA Championship
- 1945 Tam O’Shanter Open
- 1945 Canadian Open
- 1945 Knoxville Invitational
- 1945 Esmeralda Open
- 1945 Seattle Open
- 1945 Glen Garden Open
- 1946 Los Angeles Open
- 1946 San Francisco Open
- 1946 New Orleans Open
- 1946 Houston Open
- 1946 Columbus Invitational
- 1946 Chicago Victory National Open
- 1951 Bing Crosby Professional-Amateur
Other wins (12)
- 1937 Central Pennsylvania Open
- 1939 Massachusetts Open
- 1940 Ohio Open
- 1941 Ohio Open, Seminole Pro-Am
- 1942 Toledo Open, Ohio Open
- 1943 Kentucky Open
- 1944 New York State Open, Beverly Hills Open
- 1948 Texas PGA Championship
- 1955 French Open
Other Achievements and awards
- World Golf Hall of Fame – 1974
- Vardon Trophy – 1939
- PGA Tour leading money winner – 1944, 1945
- Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year – 1944, 1945
- Bob Jones Award – 1974
- PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award – 1997
- Payne Stewart Award – 2000
- Congressional Gold Medal – 2006