|Full name||Ralph J. Guldahl|
|Born||November 22, 1911|
|Died||June 11, 1987 75) (aged|
Sherman Oaks, California
|Height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight||175 lb (79 kg; 12.5 st)|
|Former tour(s)||PGA Tour|
|Number of wins by tour|
|Best results in major championships|
|Masters Tournament||Won: 1939|
|PGA Championship||T3: 1940|
|U.S. Open||Won: 1937, 1938|
|The Open Championship||T11: 1937|
|Achievements and awards|
Ralph J. Guldahl (November 22, 1911 – June 11, 1987) was an American professional golfer, one of the top five players in the sport from 1936 to 1940.He won sixteen PGA Tour-sanctioned tournaments, including three majors (two U.S. Opens and one Masters).
Born in Dallas, Texas, Guhldahl was a 1930 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School.
Guldahl started playing on the professional tournament circuit in 1931, and won an event in his rookie season before turning 20 years of age, setting a record that would not be matched until 2013, when Jordan Spieth won the John Deere Classic. In 1933, at the age of 21, Guldahl went into the last hole of the U.S. Open tied for the lead with Johnny Goodman. A par would have taken him into a playoff, but he made bogey and finished second. After further frustrating failures, Guldahl quit the sport temporarily in 1935 and became a car salesman.
Guldahl made a comeback part way through the next PGA Tour season in 1936, won the prestigious Western Open and finished second on the money list. He won the Western Open in 1937 and 1938 as well. That tournament was recognized as one of the world's most important events at the time, on the level of a major championship or close to it.
Guldahl's manner of play was relaxed: "He paused to comb his hair before every hole, and would forestall any suspense by announcing exactly where he intended to plant the ball."
Guldahl won three major championships. He claimed the U.S. Open title in 1937, with a then-record score of 281. He successfully defended the national title with his win in 1938, and was the last to win the U.S. Open while wearing a necktie during play in 1938.Guldahl was runner-up at the Masters in both 1937 and 1938, before taking that title in 1939. He played on his only Ryder Cup team in 1937, the last before a decade hiatus due to World War II.
Guldahl reached the top in golf ahead of more famous players of his generation, including Sam Snead and fellow Texans Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and Jimmy Demaret, who all went on to build much longer and more productive pro careers. Guldahl's 16 PGA Tour wins all came in a ten-year span between 1931 and 1940. Guldahl put together five straight seasons -- from 1936 to 1940 -- with multiple PGA Tour titles.
Guldahl was offered a book contract for a guide to golf, taking two months to complete Groove Your Golf, a book that used high-speed photographs of Guldahl on each page to create "flip-book" movies. After completing the book in 1939, he returned to the PGA Tour. His last two wins came in 1940. Two-time PGA champion Paul Runyan commented, "It's the most ridiculous thing, really. Guldahl went from being temporarily the best player in the world to one who couldn't play at all."His son, Ralph, claimed that his father over-analyzed his swing and it fell apart. According to his wife, Laverne: "When he sat down to write that book, that's when he lost his game."
In an interview with the New York Times in 1979, Guldahl himself offered a different explanation for the slump in his game. When asked about destroying his talent by practicing in front of a mirror while writing the book, he responded: "Nonsense. No such thing ever happened."During the interview, he offered several reasons for retiring: he was tired of life on the road; he wanted more time with his family; and the wartime slowdown in tournaments caused his game to grow rusty and he had little inclination to train. "I never did have a tremendous desire to win."
Paul Collins summed up Guldahl's decision to retire with these words: "Guldahl's fate had little to do with overthinking his game, and much to do with the untutored Dallas boy who once loved to play abandoned courses and baseball diamonds alone. Far more than fame, what Ralph Guldahl wanted was a nice, quiet game of golf."Guldahl played occasionally in the 1940s but then quit tournament golf for good, except for several seasons in the 1960s, when he played in the Masters, as an eligible past champion, without notable success.
He spent the rest of his working life as a club professional. In 1961, he became the club pro at the new Braemar Country Club in Tarzana, California, where he was an instructor until his death.Among his students was billionaire Howard Hughes.
Guldahl was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 1980.Guldahl was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1981. He died in Sherman Oaks, California, in 1987 at age 75.
In 1989, Guldahl was inducted into the Woodrow Wilson High School Hall of Fame when it was created during the celebration of the school's 60th Anniversary. He is a member of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
Major championships are shown in bold.
|Year||Championship||54 holes||Winning score||Margin||Runner-up|
|1937||U.S. Open||1 shot deficit||−7 (71-69-72-69=281)||2 strokes|
|1938||U.S. Open (2)||4 shot deficit||E (74-70-71-69=284)||6 strokes|
|1939||Masters Tournament||1 shot lead||−9 (72-68-70-69=279)||1 stroke|
|The Open Championship||T11|
|The Open Championship||NT||NT||NT||NT||NT||NT|
|The Open Championship|
|The Open Championship|
|The Open Championship|
NYF = tournament not yet founded
NT = no tournament
CUT = missed the half-way cut
R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in PGA Championship match play
"T" indicates a tie for a place
|The Open Championship||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||1|
Samuel Jackson Snead was an American professional golfer who was one of the top players in the world for the better part of four decades and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. Snead was awarded a record 94 gold medallions, for wins in PGA of America Tour events and later credited with winning a record 82 PGA Tour events, including seven majors. He never won the U.S. Open, though he was runner-up four times. Snead was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.
John Joseph Burke Jr. is an American professional golfer who was most prominent in the 1950s. The son of a professional golfer, Jack Burke Sr., he won two major titles, both in 1956, the Masters and PGA Championship, and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
James Newton Demaret was an American professional golfer. He won 31 PGA Tour events in a long career between 1935 and 1957, and was the first three-time winner of the Masters, with titles in 1940, 1947, and 1950.
John Byron Nelson Jr. was an American professional golfer between 1935 and 1946, widely considered one of the greatest golfers of all time.
Arthur D'Arcy "Bobby" Locke was a South African professional golfer. He won four Open Championships, nine South African Opens, seven South African PGA Championships and 15 PGA Tour events. He was a prolific tournament winner in his native country, eventually accumulating 38 wins on the Southern Africa Tour.
Lloyd Eugene Mangrum was an American professional golfer. He was known for his smooth swing and his relaxed demeanour on the course, which earned him the nickname "Mr. Icicle."
James Bennett Elliott Ferrier was an Australian professional golfer from Manly, New South Wales. After compiling a fine record as an amateur golfer in Australia during the 1930s, he moved to the United States in 1940, turned professional in 1941, and joined the U.S. PGA Tour. He won the PGA Championship in 1947, among his 18 Tour titles, and was the first Australian and first golfer from the southern hemisphere to win a professional golf major title. Ferrier became an American citizen in 1944.
Paul Scott Runyan was an American professional golfer. Among the world's best players in the mid-1930s, he won two PGA Championships, and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Runyan was also a golf instructor.
Harold Lee "Jug" McSpaden was an American professional golfer, and golf course architect.
Lewis Elmer Worsham, Jr. was an American professional golfer, the U.S. Open champion in 1947.
Craig Ralph Wood was an American professional golfer in the 1930s and 1940s, the winner of 21 PGA Tour titles including two major championships and a member of three Ryder Cup teams (1931, 1933, 1935).
Henry Gilford Picard was an American professional golfer.
Jesse Carlyle "J. C." Snead is an American professional golfer who has won many tournaments on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. Snead is the nephew of the legendary Sam Snead.
William Lawson Little Jr. was an American professional golfer who also had a distinguished amateur career.
Macdonald "Mac" Smith was one of the top professional golfers in the world from about 1910 into the mid-1930s. He was a member of a famous Scottish golfing family. Smith is regarded, based on his results, as one of the best golfers of all time who never won a major championship. He won 25 official events on the PGA Tour, and placed in the top ten of major championships a total of 17 times.
Douglas Michael Ford Sr. was an American professional golfer and two-time major golf champion. Ford turned professional in 1949, later going on to win the 1955 PGA Championship and the 1957 Masters Tournament. He was also a member of four Ryder Cup teams and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
John F. Revolta was an American professional golfer who played on the PGA Tour in the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s. He won a major title, the 1935 PGA Championship, and had 18 career wins on tour.
Edgar Mason Rudolph was an American professional golfer who won five times on the PGA Tour.
Stan Leonard was a Canadian professional golfer who played on the PGA Tour in the 1950s and 1960s. Leonard won three PGA Tour events, eight Canadian PGA Championships, and 16 other events on the Canadian Tour. He is a member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
The 1937 U.S. Open was the 41st U.S. Open, held June 10–12 at the South Course of Oakland Hills Country Club in Birmingham, Michigan, a suburb northwest of Detroit. Ralph Guldahl won the first of his two consecutive U.S. Opens, two strokes ahead of runner-up Sam Snead, making his U.S. Open debut.