Death of Doug Sanders, 20 times colorful winner without major

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Doug Sanders brought a touch of flamboyance to golf before his time, a colorful character known for the 20 times he won on the PGA Tour as the escaped majors.

Sanders died on Sunday morning in Houston, the PGA Tour confirmed through a text from Sanders’ ex-wife Scotty. He was 86 years old.

Sanders was still an amateur when he won his first PGA Tour tournament in 1956 at the Canadian Open in the playoffs against Dow Finsterwald, and his best year was in 1961 when he won five times and finished third on the list. money from the PGA Tour.

But he is best known for his four finalists in major tournaments, the most memorable in St. Andrews at the 1970 British Open. He only needed par in the last hole of the Old Course to beat Jack Nicklaus , and Sanders was 3 feet away. He gave the putt and missed, and Nicklaus beat him the next day in the playoffs.

“If I were a master of the English language, I don’t think I could find the adjectives to describe how I felt when I missed this short,” said Sanders after the playoffs, where Nicklaus took it suddenly beaten. “But it’s golf, and it’s the fascination of the game.”

Sanders also finished behind Nicklaus at the 1966 British Open in Muirfield. He had a one-stroke lead before the 1961 US Open final at Oakland Hills and finished one behind Gene Littler, and he finished behind Bob Rosburg at the 1959 PGA Championship at the Minneapolis Golf Club.

The loss to Nicklaus has taken its place with other near misses in golf, such as Scott Hoch at the 1989 Masters. Sanders once quoted Walter Hagen as saying that no one ever remembered who finished second.

“But they always ask me if I think about that putt I missed to win the 1970 Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I sometimes tell them it doesn’t come to my mind for five minutes.”

But there has never been a mistake on Sanders, known as the “peacock of the fairways” for his collection of Easter egg colors he wore on the golf course, even after finishing the competition.

“The two most common questions on tour were,” What did Arnold Palmer shoot? “And” What is Doug Sanders wearing? “Said Sanders to Golf Digest in 2007.

Tommy Bolt once said about Sanders, “The man looks like a jukebox with feet. “

We also overlooked his 20 wins on the PGA Tour, the latest of which was the 1972 Kemper Open with a shot at Lee Trevino. He has won on some of the biggest spots on tour, like Colonial, the Western Open and Doral. When he won the Canadian Open in 1956, it took another 29 years for another amateur – Scott Verplank – to win the PGA tour.

Sanders played in a Ryder Cup in 1967 in Houston with Ben Hogan captain of what is considered to be one of the best American teams of that era.

He was born in Cedartown, Georgia, and played college golf in Florida.

Sanders remained active after no longer competing, sponsoring the Doug Sanders Celebrity Classic for six years and a junior golf championship in Houston.



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