Who's who: Byron Nelson

  • Photo of Byron Nelson
  • usa.png
  • Photo of Byron Nelson
  • usa.png

Who's who: Byron Nelson

  • Name:

    John Byron Nelson Jr
  • Country:

    USA
  • Lived:

    [1912-2006]. Born on Feb 4, 1912 in Waxahachie, Texas. Died on Sept 26, 2006 in Roanoke, Texas, aged 94.
  • Original/Home Club:

    Fort Worth, Texas
  • Occupation:

    Professional golfer, rancher.
  • Turned Pro:

    1932

Roll of Honour

MAJORS (5). Ryder Cup player (1937, '47); Ryder Cup captain (1965). Total professional wins (64), including PGA Tour (52). Other wins included the 1955 French Open. PGA Tour leading money winner (1944, '45). Donald Ross Award (2002, ASGCA). Old Tom Morris Award (1994, GCSAA). World Golf Hall of Fame (inducted in 1974). Congressional Gold Medal (2006).

Did you know?

Byron Nelson, nicknamed Lord Byron, was one of the greatest players and ambassadors of golf in the mid-1900s. Together with Sam Snead and Ben Hogan (all born within seven months of each other in 1912), they formed the great golfing triumverate of the time. Between 1935-51 Nelson accumulated 52 PGA Tour titles, including five major championships. In the 1945 season, he won 18 PGA Tour tiles, including 11 straight wins, an achievement never likely to be repeated. Even allowing for the absence of several players who were still in military service, Nelson's record in 1945 was extraordinary. The 11 back-to-back wins were played with a stroke average of 67.9 per round, more than six shots better than the average of players finishing second. At the age of 34 Nelson retired from full-time professional golf, preferring the life of a rancher in his home state of Texas. When the Dallas Open became the Byron Nelson Classic in 1968, it was the first time a PGA Tour event carried a professional golfer's name.

Top tournaments won by Byron Nelson

Category

Europe

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Score

271

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Open de France. Second-placed Harry Weetman (Eng) finished 2 shots behind Nelson (USA), the second of only a few Americans to have won this title. [Vallée course, Racing Club de France (RCF), La Boulie GC, Versailles, nr Paris].

1951
America
209 (-7)
$2,000
Bing Crosby

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Score

209 (-7)

Prize money

$2,000

Title sponsor

Bing Crosby

Played as the Bing Crosby Pro-Am (Jan 12-14; 54-hole event). Second-placed Cary Middlecoff (USA) finished 3 shots behind Nelson (USA). [Pebble Beach Links, Monterey Peninsula, CA. Earlier rounds also at: Cypress Point Club and Monterey Peninsula CC].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Medinah

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Chicago Victory National Open. [No.3 Course, Medinah CC, Bloomingdale, nr Chicago, IL].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Score

284 (E)

Prize money

$2,666

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Los Angeles Open (Jan 4-7). Second-placed Ben Hogan (USA) finished 5 shots behind Nelson (USA). [Riviera CC, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, CA].

1946
America
River Oaks, TX
274 (-10)
$2,000
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

River Oaks, TX

Score

274 (-10)

Prize money

$2,000

Title sponsor

x

Played as the inaugural Houston Open. Second-placed Ben Hogan (USA) finished 2 shots behind Nelson (USA). [River Oaks CC, Houston, TX].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the San Francisco Open.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Score

277 (-11)

Prize money

$1,500

Title sponsor

x

Played as the New Orleans Open. Second-placed Ben Hogan (USA) finished 5 shots behind defending champion Nelson (USA). [Bayou Oaks at City Park, New Orleans, LA. Played on what was known as City Park's Wisner, No.1 or East course; now part of the South course).

1946
America
Columbus CC
276 (-12)
$2,500
Zooligans

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Columbus CC

Score

276 (-12)

Prize money

$2,500

Title sponsor

Zooligans

Played as the inaugural Columbus $10,000 Invitational (July 5-7). Second-placed Ed "Porky" Oliver (USA) finished 2 shots behind Nelson (USA). [Columbus CC, Columbus, Ohio].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Knoxville Invitational.

1945
Majors
4 & 3
$3,750
PGA of America

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Score

4 & 3

Prize money

$3,750

Title sponsor

PGA of America

The US PGA Championship (27th) (July 9-15). Nelson (USA) beat Sam Byrd (USA) 4 and 3 in the 36-hole final. Byrd held a 2-up lead after the first 18 holes of the final, finished the round with four straight birdies. Nelson rallied in the afternoon on the final day, winning or halving all the remaining holes from the 22nd. [Moraine CC, Dayton, Ohio].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Philadelphia Inquirer.

1945
America
Phoenix CC, AZ
274 (-10)
$1,000
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Phoenix CC, AZ

Score

274 (-10)

Prize money

$1,000

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Phoenix Open (Jan 11-14). Second-placed Denny Shute (USA) finished 2 shots behind Nelson (USA), who recorded the first of his 18 wins in 1945. [Phoenix CC, Phoenix, AZ].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Chicago Victory National Open.

1945
Awards
$63,333
see Score
PGA of America

Category

Awards

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

$63,333

Prize money

see Score

Title sponsor

PGA of America

Nelson (USA) won his second PGA Tour leading money winner title, with 1945 season earnings of $63,333 on the Tour.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Miami Four-Ball.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Score

284 (-4)

Prize money

$1,333

Title sponsor

x

Played as the New Orleans Open. Nelson (USA) beat Harold "Jug" McSpaden (USA) in an 18-hole playoff (Nelson 65, McSpaden 70). [Bayou Oaks at City Park, New Orleans, LA. Played on what was known as City Park's Wisner, No.1 or East course; now part of the South course).

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Seattle Open.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Esmeralda Open.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Durham Open.

1945
America
Starmount Forest
271 (-13)
$1,333
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Starmount Forest

Score

271 (-13)

Prize money

$1,333

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Greater Greensboro Open (March 22-25). Second-placed and defending champion Sam Byrd (USA) finished 8 shots behind Nelson (USA), who recorded his second win in this event. [Starmount Forest CC, Greensboro, NC].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Corpus Christi Open.

1945
America
Thornhill
280 (-8)
$2,000
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Thornhill

Score

280 (-8)

Prize money

$2,000

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Canadian Open. Second-placed Herman Barron (USA) finished 4 shots behind Nelson (USA). [Thornhill G&CC, Vaughan, Toronto, Ont.].

1945
America
Tam O'Shanter CC
269 (-19)
$13,600
George S. May

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Tam O'Shanter CC

Score

269 (-19)

Prize money

$13,600

Title sponsor

George S. May

Played as the All American Open (aka the Tam O'Shanter). Second-placed Lt. Ben Hogan (USA) and Gene Sarazen (USA) finished 11 shots behind defending champion Nelson (USA). [Tam O'Shanter CC, Niles, nr Chicago, IL; now the municipal Tam O'Shanter Golf Course].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Montreal Open.

1945
America
Capital City Club
263 (-13)
$2,000
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Capital City Club

Score

263 (-13)

Prize money

$2,000

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Atlanta Open (April 5-8). Second-placed Sam Byrd (USA) finished 9 shots behind Nelson (USA), who won his fifth straight PGA Tour event in as many weeks, which was part of his incredible streak of 11 wins in a row. [Brookhaven course, Capital City Club, Atlanta, GA].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Charlotte Open.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Minneapolis Four-Ball.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Nashville Open.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the New York Red Cross Tournament.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the San Francisco Open.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the San Francisco Victory Open.

1944
Awards
$37,967
see Score
PGA of America

Category

Awards

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

$37,967

Prize money

see Score

Title sponsor

PGA of America

Nelson (USA) was the PGA Tour 1944 leading money winner, with earnings of $37,967 on the Tour.

1944
America
Tam O'Shanter CC
280 (-8)
$13,462
George S. May

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Tam O'Shanter CC

Score

280 (-8)

Prize money

$13,462

Title sponsor

George S. May

Played as the All American Open (aka the Tam O'Shanter). Second-placed Ed Dudley (USA) finished 5 shots behind Nelson (USA). [Tam O'Shanter CC, Niles, nr Chicago, IL; now the municipal Tam O'Shanter Golf Course].

1944
America
Lakewood CC, TX
276 (-8)
$2,000
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Lakewood CC, TX

Score

276 (-8)

Prize money

$2,000

Title sponsor

x

Played as the inaugural Texas Victory Open (Sept 7-10). Second-placed Harold "Jug" McSpaden (USA) finished 10 shots behind Nelson (USA). [Lakewood CC, Dallas, TX].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Knoxville War Bond Tournament.

1942
Majors
280 (-8)
$1,500
x

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Score

280 (-8)

Prize money

$1,500

Title sponsor

x

The Masters Tournament (9th) (April 9-12). Nelson (USA) beat Ben Hogan (USA) in an 18-hole playoff: Nelson 69 (-3), Hogan 70 (-2). This was Nelson's second Masters title. [Augusta National GC, Augusta, GA].

1942
America
Tam O'Shanter CC
280 (-8)
$2,500
George S. May

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Tam O'Shanter CC

Score

280 (-8)

Prize money

$2,500

Title sponsor

George S. May

Played as the All American Open (aka the Tam O'Shanter). Nelson (USA) beat Clayton Heafner (USA) in an 18-hole playoff (Nelson 67, Heafner 71). [Tam O'Shanter CC, Niles, nr Chicago, IL; now the municipal Tam O'Shanter Golf Course].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Oakland Open.

1941
America
276 (-6)
$1,200
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Score

276 (-6)

Prize money

$1,200

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Greater Greensboro Open (March 20-23). Second-placed Vic Ghezzi (USA) finished 2 shots behind Nelson (USA). [Sedgefield CC and Starmount Forest CC, Greensboro, NC].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Miami Open

1941
America
Tam O'Shanter CC
278 (-10)
$2,000
George S. May

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Tam O'Shanter CC

Score

278 (-10)

Prize money

$2,000

Title sponsor

George S. May

Played as the inaugural All American Open (aka the Tam O'Shanter). Second-placed Ben Hogan (USA) and Leonard Dodson (USA) finished 1 shot behind Nelson (USA). [Tam O'Shanter CC, Niles, nr Chicago, IL; now the municipal Tam O'Shanter Golf Course].

1940
America
271 (-13)
$1,500
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Score

271 (-13)

Prize money

$1,500

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Texas Open. Nelson (USA) beat Ben Hogan (USA) in an 18-hole playoff: Nelson 70 (-1), Hogan 71 (E). [Brackenridge Park GC, San Antonio, TX].

1940
Majors
1 hole
$1,100
PGA of America

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Score

1 hole

Prize money

$1,100

Title sponsor

PGA of America

The US PGA Championship (23rd) (Aug 26-Sep 2). Nelson (USA) beat Sam Snead (USA) 1-up in the 36-hole final. [West course, Hershey CC, Hershey, PA].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Miami Open

1939
Awards
473 pts
n/a
PGA of America

Category

Awards

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

473 pts

Prize money

n/a

Title sponsor

PGA of America

Nelson (USA) won the PGA of America Vardon Trophy, based on a season-long points accumulation.

1939
America
Phoenix CC, AZ
198 (-15)
$700
x

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Phoenix CC, AZ

Score

198 (-15)

Prize money

$700

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Phoenix Open (Feb 3-5; 54-hole tournament; last played in 1935). Second-placed Ben Hogan (USA) finished 12 shots behind Nelson (USA). [Phoenix CC, Phoenix, AZ].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Medinah

Score

281

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Western Open. Lloyd Mangrum (USA) finished in second place behind Nelson (USA). [No.3 Course, Medinah CC, Bloomingdale, nr Chicago, IL].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the North & South Open.

1939
Majors
Philadelphia CC
284 (+8)
$1,000
USGA

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Philadelphia CC

Score

284 (+8)

Prize money

$1,000

Title sponsor

USGA

The US Open (43rd) (June 8-12). Nelson (USA) beat Craig Wood (USA) in the second of two 18-hole playoffs. First playoff: Nelson 68 (-1), Wood 68 (-1), Denny Shute 76 (+7; eliminated). Second playoff: Nelson 70 (+1), Wood 73 (+4). [Spring Mill course, Philadelphia CC, Gladwyne, nr Philadelphia, PA].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Thomasville Open.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Hollywood Open.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Belmont Country Club Match Play.

1937
Majors
283 (-5)
$1,500
x

Category

Majors

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Score

283 (-5)

Prize money

$1,500

Title sponsor

x

The Masters Tournament (4th) (April 1-4; played as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament). Second-placed Ralph Guldahl (USA) finished 2 shots behind Nelson (USA), who recorded the first of his two Masters wins. [Augusta National GC, Augusta, GA].

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the Metropolitan Open.

Category

America

Winner (holder)

Nelson, Byron

Venue

Score

Prize money

Title sponsor

x

Played as the New Jersey State Open

Find a course

Or

Where2Golf Spotlight

Tournaments:
PGA Championship: the first men’s major of the year will be contested at TPC Harding Park, without spectators being present (Aug 6-9).
European Senior (Staysure) Tour: the Europe-based over-50s tour for men has taken the reluctant step of cancelling the entire 2020 season, based on the additional coronavirus risk associated with the age demographic of the players.

Who's Who:
Daniel Berger: the first significant Tour event to pave the way out of golf’s Coronavirus lockdown brought Daniel Berger his third PGA Tour title.
Webb Simpson: claims his second win of 2020 with a one-shot victory over Mexico’s Abraham Ancer in The Heritage tournament at Harbour Town.

Latest Golf Course Reviews

Traigh Golf Course (pronounced "try", and meaning "beach" in Gaelic): You'll find this nine-hole seaside gem on the scenic coast road (as opposed to the more inland and quicker A830) between Arisaig and Morar. Although not on the well-beaten path of Scotland's "trophy" courses, if you are passing through this area, it's a must play.
Read More...

Cullen Links Golf Club: "immensely scenic", "quirky as golf can get", "short!", "hugely enjoyable" ... Cullen Links attracts as wide a variety of comments as it lays down golfing challenges. Shoehorned into this 4,600 yard treasure trove are ten par-3s, seven par-4s and a good-length par-5. Here you'll find all the seaside scenery a golfer could ask for, and a lot more besides. Read More...

Travel

Discover the world's finest heathland courses located in Surrey / Berkshire

Popular videos

You can subscribe to the Where2Golf channel on YT if you like to see more video content. You'll find a "Subscribe" button on any of our YouTube videos. Or if you want a quick and direct access subscribe here. Once done, any new published videos will show up in your Subscriptions feed.

Top Golf Courses in the Americas

Top Golf Courses in Australia

Top Golf Courses in Ireland