New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: Golf

Billy Casper

Billy Casper (Golf.  Born, San Diego, CA, June 24, 1931.)  A 28-year-old Billy Casper burst onto the national golf scene with a one-stroke victory in the U.S. Open over the West Course of the Winged Foot Golf Club in 1959.  Casper battled through the final round on a chilly June day with a 4-over-par 74, but still managed to finish ahead of Bob Rosburg, who shot a 283.  Casper had gone to the front with a 71-68-69–208 over the first three rounds.  Casper three-putted only once (on the 10th hole of the final round) and used only 114 putts for the entire tournament.  Oddly, he used a mallet-headed putter that he had never used before and never played with in another Open.  Casper’s career shows 51 P.G.A. Tour titles and two P.G.A. Player of the Year Awards (1966, 1970).  In 1966, he won his second U.S. Open, defeating Arnold Palmer in a playoff at the San Francisco Olympic Club.  He was also a five-time winner of the Vardon Trophy and eight times a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup squad.  Casper joined the P.G.A. Tour in 1955 and his other major titles include the Canadian Open (1967) and the Masters (1970).

Wiffy Cox

Wiffy Cox (Golf.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Oct. 27, 1897; died, Washington, DC, Feb. 20, 1969.)  Tied with Walter Hagen as a runner-up in the 1934 Metropolitan Open, Wilfred Hiram Cox was also a long-time pro at Dyker Beach.  Cox was a fireman aboard the battleship U.S.S. Nevada during World War I but was then drawn to golf.  He became a touring pro, winning tournaments in Florida and Pinehurst, N.C., in 1930.  He made the 1931 Ryder Cup team after finishing fourth in the U.S. Open held at Inverness (Toledo, O.).  He won a half-dozen other pro events in the 1930s and finished fifth in the 1932 U.S. Open.

Bobby Cruickshank

Bobby Cruickshank (Golf.  Born, Grantown-on-Spey, Scotland, Nov. 16, 1894; died, Delray Beach, FL, Aug. 27, 1975.)  Leaving his native Scotland in 1921, Robert Allan Cruickshank came to New Jersey as the pro at Shackamaxon.  Cruickshank was a member of the P.G.A. tour from 1921-50, but some of his best years came late in his career, when he was a top senior player.  He was runner-up in the U.S. Open in 1923, losing a playoff to Bobby Jones at Inwood (L.I.), and tied for second in the Open in 1932, three strokes back of Gene Sarazen at Fresh Meadow in Queens.  Cruickshank was second in the 1927 Metropolitan Open by a stroke and runner-up in the 1923 New Jersey Open.  But the Wee Scot shot his age or better in 12 straight starts in P.G.A. senior and stroke play events for at least a round.  At age 79, he had two 75s and a 79.

Carol Cudone

Carol Cudone (Golf.  Born, Oxford, AL, Sept. 7, 1918; died, Myrtle Beach, SC, Mar. 19, 2009.)  For more than two decades, the most feared player in New Jersey women’s golf was Mrs. Philip Cudone, who from 1955-65 captured the New Jersey Golf Association championship six times.  Carol Cudone also won the Women’s N.J.G.A. stroke play title 11 times in 16 years and captured the women’s Metropolitan Open in 1955, 1961, 1963, 1964, and 1965.  She took the Women’s Eastern tournament championship in 1960.  She also made a major contribution to America’s efforts in women’s international competition, playing on the1956 Curtis Cup team.  She also served as the non-playing captain of the U.S. Curtis Cup team in 1970, when the Americans won 11½-6½.  In 1961, she was the second low amateur in the U.S.G.A. Women’s Open at the Baltusrol Golf Club and, the following winter, won the International Four-Ball Match Play championship.  With William Hyndman II, Mrs. Cudone won the National Scotch Mixed Foursome title three times.  She won major championships in other parts of the country, too, including the prestigious North-South Match Play in 1958 and, after her relocation to South Carolina in 1968, numerous state and regional championships in the Carolinas, including seven straight South Carolina Golf Association medal play state titles from 1970-76.

Jimmy Demaret

Jimmy Demaret (Golf.  Born, Houston, TX, May 10, 1910; died, Houston, TX, Dec. 28, 1983.)  Although his appearances in the northeast were limited mainly to the U.S. Open, James Newton Demaret was a major name in golf thanks to his three victories at the Masters (1940, ’47, ’50).

Joe Dey

Joe Dey (Golf.  Born, Norfolk, VA, Nov. 17, 1907; died, Locust Valley, NY, Mar. 4, 1991.)  Known universally as “Mr. Golf,” Joseph C. Dey, Jr., was executive director of the U.S. Golf Association for 34 years (1934-68).  Dey then made one of the most surprising moves in the political history of golf when, at the age of 61, he left the U.S.G.A. to become head of the Tournament Players division of the P.G.A. (1969-74), which had been engaged in an ongoing feud with the U.S.G.A.  He was also an influential international voice for American golf, serving as captain of the Royal and Ancient St. Andrews Club in Scotland, headquarters of British golf.

Leo Diegel

Leo Diegel (Golf.  Born, Detroit, MI, Apr. 27, 1899; died, North Hollywood, CA, May 8, 1951.)  First coming to fame at Lochmoor in Michigan, Leo Diegel eventually settled in Agua Caliente, in California, as his home course, but in between played out of New York and New Jersey.  Capable of great shot-making, Diegel was always a threat at major events and was the P.G.A. champion in 1928 and 1929, ending a four-year run by Walter Hagen.  He was four-time Canadian Open winner (1924-25, 1928-29) and was also on four U.S. Ryder Cup teams from 1927-33.

Olin Dutra

Olin Dutra (Golf.  Born, Monterrey, CA, Jan. 17, 1901; died, Newman, CA, May 5, 1983.)  A touring pro in the 1930s, Olin Dutra won many major tournaments, including the Metropolitan Open and P.G.A. championship in 1932 and the U.S. Open in 1934.

Johnny Farrell

Johnny Farrell (Golf.  Born, White Plains, NY, Apr. 1, 1901; died, Boynton Beach, FL, June 14, 1988.)  After a career that lasted some 15 years as a touring pro, Johnny Farrell achieved additional fame as the home pro at the fabled Baltrusol club in Springfield, N.J., for 38 years.  Farrell first hit the touring circuit as a teenager in 1919 and registered some of his most important victories in the New York area including the Westchester Open in 1926.  At one stage, Farrell won nine straight tournaments on the tour, a record that was eclipsed by Byron Nelson in 1945.  In 1928, Farrell gained national acclaim when he defeated the legendary Bobby Jones in a playoff to win the U.S. Open a year after he had won the Metropolitan Open at Wykagyl.  His Met Open victory came by the narrowest of margins, 296-297, over Bobby Cruickshank.  Following his U.S. Open triumph, Farrell was hired as a golf columnist by the New York Evening Journal, a post he held for several years.  Although he went off the pro tour in the mid-1930s, he continued to play the major events in the New York area and won another title in an exciting finish in 1936.  That year he defeated Vic Ghezzi to win the New Jersey Open when both tied at 286 after four rounds but Farrell won the 18-hole playoff, 71-75.  Eventually, he settled in as the club pro at Baltusrol. He brought years of experience to the task, having finished second in two U.S. Opens, two P.G.A. Championships and the British Open.

Ed Furgol

Ed Furgol (Golf.  Born, New York Mills, NY, Mar. 27, 1919; died, Miami Shores, FL, Mar. 6, 1997.)  For sheer determination, there has rarely been a professional golfer who equaled Edward B. Furgol.  Furgol played touring pro with a crooked left arm as the result of a childhood accident. Yet, he challenged for most of the sport’s major titles and, in 1954, won the U.S. Open at Baltrusol with a 71-70-71-72-284.  Furgol’s left arm was shortened and stiff at the elbow as well as crooked but, despite the handicap, he captured titles at the Phoenix, the Miller (with a 265), the Caliente and the Rubber City Opens.  He was also a semifinalist in the PGA championship in 1956 and was voted Golfer of the Year in 1954.  However, his victory at the U.S. Open was the crowning achievement of his career.  He didn’t begin that auspiciously, being in a three-way tie for fifth after the first round on the Baltrusol lower course.  He gradually worked his way to the front of the pack over the next three days and won the tournament by a single stroke over Gene Littler.  Furgol nearly lost his chance on the final day when his drive on the long 18th hole hooked among a stand of trees near a ditch. Unable to play down the fairway without losing considerable distance, he hit through an opening onto the fairway of the upper course, hit the green on the lower with his third shot and finished with a par 5. It was just good enough.  While few thought he could be a serious contender on the tour with the handicap that forced him to hit mostly with his right arm, Furgol first began to attract attention in 1947 when he tied with George Fazio for first in the Bing Crosby.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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