Billy Casper

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Billy Casper
— Golfer —
Billy Casper and Brian Bateman.jpg
The 1958 and 2007 Buick Open champs, Casper (left) and Brian Bateman.
Personal information
Full nameWilliam Earl Casper, Jr.
NicknameBuffalo Bill
Born(1931-06-24) June 24, 1931 (age 83)
San Diego, California
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight195 lb (88 kg; 13.9 st)
Nationality United States
SpouseShirley Casper (m. 1952)
Career
CollegeUniversity of Notre Dame
Turned professional1954
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Champions Tour
Professional wins69
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour51 (7th all time)
European Tour1
Champions Tour9
Other7 (regular)
1 (senior)
Best results in Major Championships
(Wins: 3)
Masters TournamentWon: 1970
U.S. OpenWon: 1959, 1966
The Open Championship4th: 1968
PGA Championship2nd/T2: [1958 PGA Championship
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame1978 (member page)
PGA Player of the Year1966, 1970
PGA Tour
leading money winner
1966, 1968
Vardon Trophy1960, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968
 
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Billy Casper is also the name of the protagonist of A Kestrel for a Knave.
Billy Casper
— Golfer —
Billy Casper and Brian Bateman.jpg
The 1958 and 2007 Buick Open champs, Casper (left) and Brian Bateman.
Personal information
Full nameWilliam Earl Casper, Jr.
NicknameBuffalo Bill
Born(1931-06-24) June 24, 1931 (age 83)
San Diego, California
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight195 lb (88 kg; 13.9 st)
Nationality United States
SpouseShirley Casper (m. 1952)
Career
CollegeUniversity of Notre Dame
Turned professional1954
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Champions Tour
Professional wins69
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour51 (7th all time)
European Tour1
Champions Tour9
Other7 (regular)
1 (senior)
Best results in Major Championships
(Wins: 3)
Masters TournamentWon: 1970
U.S. OpenWon: 1959, 1966
The Open Championship4th: 1968
PGA Championship2nd/T2: [1958 PGA Championship
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame1978 (member page)
PGA Player of the Year1966, 1970
PGA Tour
leading money winner
1966, 1968
Vardon Trophy1960, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968

William Earl Casper, Jr. (born June 24, 1931) is an American professional golfer who was one of the most prolific tournament winners on the PGA Tour from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s.

Early years[edit]

Casper was born in San Diego, California.[1] His father started him in golf at age five.[2] Casper caddied during his youth at San Diego Country Club to earn money for golf, and spent one semester at the University of Notre Dame on a golf scholarship, after graduating from high school. He returned to San Diego to marry his wife Shirley in 1952. Casper competed frequently as an amateur against fellow San Diegan Gene Littler.[3] He turned professional in 1954.[4]

Professional career[edit]

Casper had 51 PGA Tour wins in his career, with his first coming in 1956. This total places him seventh on the all time list. His victories helped him finish third in McCormack's World Golf Rankings in 1968, 1969 and 1970, the first three years they were published. He won three major championships: the 1959 and 1966 U.S. Opens, and the 1970 Masters Tournament.

He was the PGA Tour Money Winner in 1966 and 1968. He was PGA Player of the Year in 1966 and 1970. Casper won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average five times: 1960, 1963, 1965, 1966, and 1968.

Casper was a member of the United States team in the Ryder Cup eight times: 1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, and a non-playing captain in 1979. Casper has scored the most points in the Ryder Cup by an American player.

Casper won at least one PGA Tour event for 16 straight seasons, from 1956 to 1971 inclusive, and this is the third-longest streak, trailing only Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, who each won on Tour in 17 straight years.

On the senior circuit, Casper earned nine Senior PGA Tour (now the Champions Tour) wins from 1982 to 1989, including two senior majors.

Legacy[edit]

Much has been written in the annals of golf that Casper was the most underrated star in golf history, and the best modern golfer who never received the accolades he deserved. He was not considered one of the "Big Three" – Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player – who are widely credited with popularizing and bringing enormous commercial success to the sport around the world; however, between 1964 and 1970, Casper won 27 tournaments on the PGA Tour – two more than Nicklaus and six more than Palmer and Player combined, during that time period. He is considered the best putter of his era by many.[5]


Casper was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1978. In 2000, he was ranked as the 15th greatest golfer of all time by Golf Digest magazine.[6]

Casper's grandson, Mason Casper, is on the Utah Valley University golf team. Mason qualified for NCAA post-season play in 2012.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Casper is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Casper joined the LDS Church in his early 30s at the height of his golfing career.[8] He and his wife Shirley have 11 children, six of whom are adopted.

Other ventures[edit]

Golf course design and management[edit]

After his professional career, Casper has been a designer for many golf courses such as The Highlands, The Palm and Eagle Crest in Sun City Summerlin, Nevada. His management company Billy Casper Golf is the second largest operator of golf courses in the United States, and currently manages more than 140 golf facilities.[9]

Acting[edit]

Casper had a cameo appearance in the movie, Now You See Him, Now You Don't.

Billy's Kids[edit]

Casper is active in charitable work for children and hosts fundraisers including an annual tournament at San Diego Country Club for "Billy's Kids".

Trivia[edit]

During the Swiss Open at Crans-sur-Sierre in 1971 Casper made a double eagle at the 14th hole. In 2006, when celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Crans Golf Club, a plate to commemorate this was placed next to the 14th tee. A similar plate was put at the 9th hole, where Tadd Fujikawa made a double eagle in 2007.

Professional wins (69)[edit]

PGA Tour wins (51)[edit]

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1Jul 15, 1956Labatt Open−14 (68-68-67-71=274)2 strokesUnited States Jimmy Demaret
2Feb 3, 1957Phoenix Open Invitational−9 (68-71-65-67=271)3 strokesUnited States Cary Middlecoff, United States Mike Souchak
3Apr 28, 1957Kentucky Derby Open Invitational−7 (68-68-71-70=277)1 strokeAustralia Peter Thomson
4Jan 12, 1958Bing Crosby National Pro-Am
Golf Championship
−11 (71-66-69-71=277)4 strokesUnited States Dave Marr
5Mar 11, 1958Greater New Orleans Open Invitational−10 (69-70-70-69=278)PlayoffUnited States Ken Venturi
6Jun 23, 1958Buick Open Invitational−3 (70-73-71-71=285)1 strokeUnited States Ted Kroll, United States Arnold Palmer
7Jun 13, 1959U.S. Open+2 (71-68-69-74=282)1 strokeUnited States Bob Rosburg
8Oct 4, 1959Portland Centennial Open Invitational−19 (69-64-67-69=269)3 strokesUnited States Bob Duden, United States Dave Ragan
9Nov 15, 1959Lafayette Open Invitational−11 (69-64-71-69=273)4 strokesUnited States George Bayer
10Nov 22, 1959Mobile Sertoma Open Invitational−8 (71-68-68-73=280)2 strokesUnited States Wes Ellis, United States Dave Ragan
11Sep 25, 1960Portland Open Invitational−22 (68-67-66-65=266)2 strokesUnited States Paul Harney
12Oct 3, 1960Hesperia Open Invitational−13 (70-68-67-70=275)5 strokesUnited States Bob Rosburg
13Oct 16, 1960Orange County Open Invitational−8 (70-68-69-69=276)1 strokeUnited States Charlie Sifford
14Sep 24, 1961Portland Open Invitational−15 (68-71-67-67=273)1 strokeUnited States Dave Hill
15Mar 25, 1962Doral C.C. Open Invitational−5 (70-67-75-71=283)1 strokeUnited States Pete Bondeson
16Apr 15, 1962Greater Greensboro Open−5 (69-70-68-68=275)1 strokeUnited States Mike Souchak
17May 27, 1962500 Festival Open Invitation−20 (66-67-67-64=264)1 strokeUnited States George Bayer, United States Jerry Steelsmith
18Oct 14, 1962Bakersfield Open Invitational−16 (69-71-65-67=272)4 strokesUnited States Tony Lema
19Jan 20, 1963Bing Crosby National Pro-Am−3 (73-65-73-74=285)1 strokeUnited States Dave Hill, United States Jack Nicklaus,
South Africa Gary Player, United States Bob Rosburg,
United States Art Wall, Jr.
20Aug 18, 1963Insurance City Open Invitational−13 (67-68-71-65=271)1 strokeUnited States George Bayer
21Mar 22, 1964Doral Open Invitational−11 (70-70-67-70=277)1 strokeUnited States Jack Nicklaus
22May 10, 1964Colonial National Invitation−1 (72-67-70-7=279)4 strokesUnited States Tommy Jacobs
23Sep 27, 1964Greater Seattle Open Invitational−15 (68-67-66-64=265)2 strokesUnited States Mason Rudolph
24Nov 1, 1964Almaden Open Invitational−9 (68-70-73-68=279)PlayoffUnited States Pete Brown, United States Jerry Steelsmith
25Feb 7, 1965Bob Hope Desert Classic−12 (70-70-69-67-72=348)1 strokeUnited States Tommy Aaron, United States Arnold Palmer
26Jul 4, 1965Western Open−14 (70-66-70-64=270)2 strokesUnited States Jack McGowan, United States Chi Chi Rodriguez
27Jul 25, 1965Insurance City Open Invitational−10 (70-72-66-66=274)PlayoffUnited States Johnny Pott
28Oct 23, 1965Sahara Invitational−15 (66-66-68-69=269)3 strokesUnited States Billy Martindale
29Jan 16, 1966San Diego Open Invitational−16 (70-66-68-64=268)4 strokesUnited States Tommy Aaron, United States Tom Weiskopf
30Jun 20, 1966U.S. Open−2 (69-68-73-68=278)PlayoffUnited States Arnold Palmer
31Jun 26, 1966Western Open−1 (69-72-72-70=283)3 strokesUnited States Gay Brewer
32Jul 31, 1966500 Festival Open Invitation−11 (69-70-68-70=277)3 strokesUnited States R. H. Sikes
33Jul 3, 1967Canadian Open−5 (69-70-71-69=279)PlayoffUnited States Art Wall, Jr.
34Sep 4, 1967Carling World Open−3 (74-68-70-69=281)PlayoffUnited States Al Geiberger
35Jan 28, 1968Los Angeles Open−10 (70-67-68-69=274)3 strokesUnited States Arnold Palmer
36Apr 8, 1968Greater Greensboro Open−17 (65-67-69-66=267)4 strokesUnited States George Archer, United States Gene Littler,
United States Bobby Nichols
37May 19, 1968Colonial National Invitation−5 (68-71-68-68=275)5 strokesUnited States Gene Littler
38Jun 9, 1968500 Festival Open Invitation−8 (70-71-69-70=280)1 strokeUnited States Frank Beard, United States Mike Hill
39Sep 8, 1968Greater Hartford Open Invitational−18 (68-65-67-66=266)3 strokesAustralia Bruce Crampton
40Nov 4, 1968Lucky International Open−15 (68-65-70-66=269)4 strokesUnited States Raymond Floyd, United States Don Massengale
41Feb 9, 1969Bob Hope Desert Classic−15 (71-68-71-69-66=345)3 strokesUnited States Dave Hill
42Jun 8, 1969Western Open−8 (72-69-68-67=276)4 strokesUnited States Rocky Thompson
43Sep 28, 1969Alcan Open−12 (70-68-70-66=274)1 strokeUnited States Lee Trevino
44Jan 11, 1970Los Angeles Open−8 (68-68-68-72=276)PlayoffUnited States Hale Irwin
45Apr 12, 1970Masters Tournament−9 (72-68-68-71-69=279)PlayoffUnited States Gene Littler
46Jul 19, 1970IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic−14 (68-67-71-68=274)3 strokesUnited States Terry Wilcox
47Aug 24, 1970AVCO Golf Classic−12 (64-70-71-71=276)1 strokeAustralia Bruce Crampton, United States Tom Weiskopf
48Oct 24, 1971Kaiser International Open Invitational−19 (67-65-69-68=269)4 strokesUnited States Fred Marti
49Jul 1, 1973Western Open−12 (67-69-67-69=272)1 strokeUnited States Larry Hinson, United States Hale Irwin
50Sep 3, 1973Sammy Davis Jr.-Greater Hartford Open−20 (67-65-68-64=264)1 strokeAustralia Bruce Devlin
51May 18, 1975First NBC New Orleans Open−17 (67-68-66-70=271)2 strokesEngland Peter Oosterhuis

Source[10]

PGA Tour playoff record (8–8)

No.YearTournamentOpponent(s)Result
11958Greater New Orleans Open InvitationalUnited States Ken VenturiWon with eagle on second extra hole
21961Buick OpenUnited States Jack Burke, Jr., United States Johnny PottLost an 18-hole playoff (Burke:71, Casper:74, Pott:74)
31964Almaden Open InvitationalUnited States Pete Brown, United States Jerry SteelsmithWon with birdie on third sudden death playoff hole
Steelsmith eliminated in 18-hole playoff (Casper:68, Brown:68, Steelsmith:73)
41965San Diego Open InvitationalUnited States Wes EllisLost on first extra hole
51965Insurance City Open InvitationalUnited States Johnny PottWon with birdie on first extra hole
61966U.S. OpenUnited States Arnold PalmerWon an 18-hole playoff (Casper:69, Palmer:73)
71967Canadian OpenUnited States Art Wall, Jr.Won an 18-hole playoff (Casper:65, Wall, Jr.:69)
81967Carling World OpenUnited States Al GeibergerWon with par on first extra hole
91967Hawaiian OpenUnited States Dudley WysongLost to par on first extra hole
101968Bing Crosby National Pro-AmAustralia Bruce Devlin, United States Johnny PottPott won with birdie on first extra hole
111969Kaiser International Open InvitationalUnited States George Archer, United States Don January, United States Jack NicklausNicklaus won with birdie on second extra hole
January eliminated with par on first hole
121970Los Angeles OpenUnited States Hale IrwinWon with birdie on first extra hole
131970Masters TournamentUnited States Gene LittlerWon an 18-hole playoff (Casper:69, Littler:74)
141971Glen Campbell-Los Angeles OpenUnited States Bob LunnLost to birdie on fourth extra hole
151972Byron Nelson Golf ClassicUnited States Chi Chi RodriguezLost to birdie on first extra hole
161975World Open Golf ChampionshipUnited States Jack NicklausLost to par on first extra hole

European Tour wins (1)[edit]

Other wins (7)[edit]

This list is incomplete.

Senior PGA Tour wins (9)[edit]

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreMargin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1Aug 28, 1982Shootout at Jeremy Ranch−9 (74-71-69-65=279)1 strokeUnited States Miller Barber, United States Don January
2Sep 19, 1982Merrill Lynch/Golf Digest Commemorative Pro-Am−10 (68-7-68=206)PlayoffUnited States Bob Toski
3Jul 25, 1983U.S. Senior Open+4 (73-73-69-73=288)PlayoffUnited States Rod Funseth
4Apr 22, 1984Senior PGA Tour Roundup−14 (68-69-65=202)2 strokesUnited States Bob Stone
5Mar 15, 1987Del E. Webb Arizona Classic−15 (68-65-68=201)5 strokesNew Zealand Bob Charles, United States Dale Douglass
6Jun 28, 1987Greater Grand Rapids Open−13 (69-68-63=200)3 strokesUnited States Miller Barber
7May 8, 1988Vantage at The Dominion−14 (70-68-67=205)1 strokeUnited States Chi-Chi Rodríguez
8Jun 12, 1988Mazda Senior Tournament Players Championship−10 (69-68-74-67=278)2 strokesUnited States Al Geiberger
9Oct 22, 1989Transamerica Senior Golf Championship−9 (69-70-68=207)3 strokesUnited States Al Geiberger

Senior PGA Tour playoff record (2–3)

No.YearTournamentOpponent(s)Result
11981U.S. Senior OpenUnited States Arnold Palmer, United States Bob StoneLost 18-hole playoff (Palmer 70, Stone:74, Casper:77)
21982Merrill Lynch/Golf Digest Commemorative Pro-AmUnited States Bob ToskiWon with birdie on fourth extra hole
31983Gatlin Brothers Seniors Golf ClassicUnited States Don JanuaryLost to par on fifth extra hole
41983U.S. Senior OpenUnited States Rod FunsethWon with birdie on first extra hole after 18-hole playoff (Casper:75, Funseth:75)
51988United Hospitals ClassicAustralia Bruce CramptonLost to birdie on first extra hole

Senior major championships are shown in bold.

Other senior wins (1)[edit]

Major championships[edit]

Wins (3)[edit]

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner-up
1959U.S. Open3 shot lead−2 (71-68-69-74=282)1 strokeUnited States Bob Rosburg
1966U.S. Open (2)3 shot deficit−2 (69-68-73-68=278)Playoff 1United States Arnold Palmer
1970Masters Tournament1 shot lead−9 (72-68-68-71=279)Playoff 2United States Gene Littler

1 Defeated Palmer in an 18-hole playoff: Casper 69 (−1), Palmer 73 (+3).
2 Defeated Littler in an 18-hole playoff: Casper 69 (−3), Littler 74 (+2).

Results timeline[edit]

Tournament1956195719581959
Masters TournamentDNPT16T20CUT
U.S. OpenT14CUTT131
The Open ChampionshipDNPDNPDNPDNP
PGA ChampionshipDNPDNP2T17
Tournament1960196119621963196419651966196719681969
Masters Tournament4T7T15T11T5T35T10T24T16T2
U.S. OpenT12T17CUTDNP4T1714T9T40
The Open ChampionshipDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNP4T25
PGA ChampionshipT24T15T51DNPT9T2T319T6T35
Tournament1970197119721973197419751976197719781979
Masters Tournament1T13T17T17T3768T14CUT43
U.S. OpenT8CUTT11CUTCUTDNPCUTDNPT30DNP
The Open ChampionshipT17T7T40DNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNP
PGA ChampionshipT182T4T35T63T5T51T31CUTCUT
Tournament1980198119821983198419851986198719881989
Masters TournamentCUTCUTCUTCUTCUTT57CUTT50CUTCUT
U.S. OpenDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNP
The Open ChampionshipDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNP
PGA ChampionshipCUTDNPT67CUTDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNP
Tournament1990199119921993199419951996199719981999
Masters TournamentCUTCUTDNPCUTCUTCUTCUTCUTCUTWD
U.S. OpenDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNP
The Open ChampionshipDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNP
PGA ChampionshipDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNP
Tournament200020012002200320042005
Masters TournamentWDCUTDNPDNPDNPWD
U.S. OpenDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNP
The Open ChampionshipDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNP
PGA ChampionshipDNPDNPDNPDNPDNPDNP

DNP = Did not play
WD = Withdrew
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10

Summary[edit]

TournamentWins2nd3rdTop-5Top-10Top-25EventsCuts made
Masters Tournament11048184523
U.S. Open20046122014
The Open Championship00012455
PGA Championship03168132420
Totals3411524479462

Champions Tour major championships[edit]

Wins (2)[edit]

YearChampionshipWinning scoreMarginRunner-up
1983U.S. Senior Open+4 (73-69-73-73=288)Playoff1United States Rod Funseth
1988Mazda Senior Tournament Players Championship−10 (69-68-74-67=278)2 strokesUnited States Al Geiberger

1 18-hole playoff finished in a tie, Casper (75) to Funseth (75), Casper won with a birdie on the first sudden-death hole.

U.S. national team appearances[edit]

Professional

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "PGA Tour profile – Billy Casper". PGA Tour. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ "PGA Tour Media Guide – Billy Casper". Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ Peery, Paul D. (1969). Billy Casper: Winner. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 978-0130762818. 
  4. ^ "Casper Tops Million Mark". The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). UPI. January 12, 1970. p. 62. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Billy Casper profile". World Golf Hall of Fame. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  6. ^ Yocom, Guy (July 2000). "50 Greatest Golfers of All Time: And What They Taught Us". Golf Digest. Retrieved December 5, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Golf: Utah Valley golfer receives NCAA Tournament bid". The Salt Lake Tribune. May 7, 2012. 
  8. ^ Haws, J. B. (2013). The Mormon Image in the American Mind: Fifty Years of Public Perception. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-19-989764-3. 
  9. ^ "Billy Casper Golf". Retrieved August 15, 2011. 
  10. ^ Barkow, Al (1989). The History of the PGA TOUR. Doubleday. pp. 262–3. ISBN 0-385-26145-4. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]