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Ben Crenshaw
Ben Crenshaw 2008 Senior Players Championship.jpg
Crenshaw in 2008
Personal information
Full nameBen Daniel Crenshaw
NicknameGentle Ben
Born (1952-01-11) January 11, 1952 (age 69)
Austin, Texas, U.S.
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight157 lb (71 kg; 11.2 st)
Nationality United States
ResidenceAustin, Texas, U.S.
SpouseJulie (m. 1985−present)
Polly (m. 1976−1985)
ChildrenClaire Susan, Anna Riley, Katherine Vail
CollegeUniversity of Texas
Turned professional1973
Current tour(s)Champions Tour
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Professional wins30
Highest ranking5 (May 22, 1988)[1]
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour19
European Tour3
Other9 (regular)
1 (senior)
Best results in major championships
(wins: 2)
Masters TournamentWon: 1984, 1995
PGA Championship2nd: 1979
U.S. OpenT3: 1975
The Open ChampionshipT2: 1978, 1979
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame2002 (member page)
Haskins Award1971, 1972, 1973
Bob Jones Award1991
Old Tom Morris Award1997
Payne Stewart Award2001

Ben Daniel Crenshaw (born January 11, 1952) is a retired American professional golfer who has won 19 events on the PGA Tour, including two major championships: the Masters Tournament in 1984 and 1995. He is nicknamed Gentle Ben.[2]

Professional career

Ben Crenshaw with wife Polly after winning 1976 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Ben Crenshaw with wife Polly after winning 1976 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Born in Austin, Texas, Crenshaw attended and played golf at Austin High School and the University of Texas, where he won three NCAA Championships from 1971 to 1973. He was also a member of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity. He turned professional in 1973.

In 1973, Crenshaw became the second player in Tour history to win the first event of his career; this accomplishment was achieved earlier by Marty Fleckman (1967) and later repeated by Jim Benepe (1988), Robert Gamez (1990), Garrett Willis (2001), and Russell Henley (2013). Together with his teammate George Burns, he won the 1979 Walt Disney World National Team Championship in Orlando.

Following five runner-up finishes in major championships without a victory, including losing a sudden-death playoff for the 1979 PGA Championship, he won the Masters Tournament in 1984. In the mid-1980s, he suffered from Graves' disease, a disease of the thyroid, but he continued to accumulate victories, finishing with 19 on the PGA Tour, including an emotional second Masters victory in 1995, which came a week after the death of his mentor Harvey Penick.

In 1999, he was selected as captain of the United States Ryder Cup team for the matches at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was criticized from some quarters for his captaincy over the first two days as his team slipped to a 10-6 deficit; however, he was ultimately credited for providing the inspiration behind his side's remarkable turnaround in the Sunday singles, as the U.S. won 812 of the final day's 12 points to regain the Cup.

Crenshaw won several professional events outside the PGA Tour, including individual and team titles in the World Cup of Golf in 1988. He was among the top ten on McCormack's World Golf Rankings from 1976 to 1981 inclusive, and returned to spend 80 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking from 1987 to 1989.[3] In 1987, he became one of the few players in history to finish in the top ten of all four major championships in the same season without winning any of them.

Despite playing mainly in the United States, Crenshaw had a number of top performances in international events in his career. He won the 1976 Irish Open and then finished runner-up to compatriot Hubert Green the next year. He also finished runner-up at two events on the Australasian Tour, at the 1978 Australian Open and the 1982 Australian PGA Championship. And he famously had two runner-ups at The Open Championship, losing to Jack Nicklaus at the 1978 event and Seve Ballesteros the following year.

Crenshaw is widely regarded as one of the best putters in golf history. His instructor growing up, Harvey Penick, taught him a smooth, effortless stroke on the greens, which allowed him to master even the speediest of greens–including those at Augusta National Golf Club. In winning the Masters in 1995, "Gentle Ben" did not record a single three-putt during the tournament.

Since 1986, Crenshaw has been a partner with Bill Coore in Coore & Crenshaw, a golf course design firm.

The 2015 Masters Tournament was the 44th and final for Crenshaw.[4]

Crenshaw has the worst playoff record in PGA Tour history at 0–8.[5]

Personal life

Crenshaw married his second wife Julie in 1985.[6] All three of his daughters were presented to high society as debutantes at the International Debutante Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.[7]

Politically, Crenshaw is a Republican, and has donated money to multiple Republican candidates.[8]

Amateur wins (13)

Professional wins (30)

PGA Tour wins (19)

Major championships (2)
Other PGA Tour (17)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 Nov 4, 1973 San Antonio Texas Open −14 (65-72-66-67=270) 2 strokes United States Orville Moody
2 Jan 25, 1976 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am −7 (75-67-70-69=281) 2 strokes United States Mike Morley
3 Feb 1, 1976 Hawaiian Open −18 (70-69-65-66=270) 4 strokes United States Hale Irwin, United States Larry Nelson
4 Sep 19, 1976 Ohio Kings Island Open −9 (69-69-67-66=271) 1 stroke United States Andy North
5 May 15, 1977 Colonial National Invitation −8 (65-70-68-69=272) 1 stroke United States John Schroeder
6 Jan 22, 1979 Phoenix Open −14 (67-61-71=199)* 1 stroke United States Jay Haas
7 Oct 28, 1979 Walt Disney World National Team Championship
(with United States George Burns)
−33 (62-66-62-65=255) 3 strokes United States Scott Bess and Canada Dan Halldorson,
United States Jeff Hewes and United States Sammy Rachels,
United States Peter Jacobsen and United States D. A. Weibring
8 Sep 28, 1980 Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic −16 (66-67-68-71=272) 4 strokes United States Jack Renner
9 May 1, 1983 Byron Nelson Golf Classic −7 (71-69-67-66=273) 1 stroke United States Brad Bryant, United States Hal Sutton
10 Apr 15, 1984 Masters Tournament −11 (67-72-70-68=277) 2 strokes United States Tom Watson
11 Jul 27, 1986 Buick Open −18 (69-67-66-68=270) 1 stroke United States J. C. Snead, United States Doug Tewell
12 Oct 26, 1986 Vantage Championship −14 (65-67-64=196)* 1 stroke United States Payne Stewart
13 Mar 22, 1987 USF&G Classic −20 (66-68-67-67=268) 3 strokes United States Curtis Strange
14 Mar 6, 1988 Doral-Ryder Open −14 (70-69-69-66=274) 1 stroke United States Chip Beck, United States Mark McCumber
15 May 20, 1990 Southwestern Bell Colonial (2) −8 (69-65-72-66=272) 3 strokes United States John Mahaffey, United States Corey Pavin,
Zimbabwe Nick Price
16 Jul 5, 1992 Centel Western Open −12 (70-72-65-69=276) 1 stroke Australia Greg Norman
17 Mar 21, 1993 Nestle Invitational −8 (71-70-69-70=280) 2 strokes United States Davis Love III, United States Rocco Mediate,
Fiji Vijay Singh
18 Apr 3, 1994 Freeport-McMoRan Classic −15 (69-68-68-68=273) 3 strokes Spain José María Olazábal
19 Apr 9, 1995 Masters Tournament (2) −14 (70-67-69-68=274) 1 stroke United States Davis Love III

*Note: Tournament shortened to 54 holes due to rain.

PGA Tour playoff record (0–8)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1978 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am United States Tom Watson Lost to par on second extra hole
2 1979 Western Open United States Larry Nelson Lost to birdie on first extra hole
3 1979 PGA Championship Australia David Graham Lost to birdie on third extra hole
4 1981 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am United States Bobby Clampett, United States John Cook,
United States Hale Irwin, United States Barney Thompson
Cook won with par on third extra hole
Clampett, Crenshaw and Thompson eliminated by birdie on first hole
5 1981 Texas Open United States Bill Rogers Lost to birdie on first extra hole
6 1987 Los Angeles Open Taiwan Chen Tze-chung Lost to par on first extra hole
7 1989 NEC World Series of Golf South Africa David Frost Lost to par on second extra hole
8 1992 GTE Byron Nelson Classic United States Billy Ray Brown, United States Raymond Floyd,
United States Bruce Lietzke
Brown won with birdie on first extra hole

European Tour wins (3)

Major championships (2)
Other European Tour (1)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 Aug 29, 1976 Carroll's Irish Open −4 (73-69-69-73=284) 2 strokes Scotland Brian Barnes, United States Billy Casper,
England Martin Foster
2 Apr 15, 1984 Masters Tournament −11 (67-72-70-68=277) 2 strokes United States Tom Watson
3 Apr 9, 1995 Masters Tournament (2) −14 (70-67-69-68=274) 1 stroke United States Davis Love III

European Tour playoff record (0–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 1979 PGA Championship Australia David Graham Lost to birdie on third extra hole

Other wins (9)

Senior wins (1)

Major championships

Crenshaw at the 2009 Senior Players Championship
Crenshaw at the 2009 Senior Players Championship

Wins (2)

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1984 Masters Tournament 2 shot deficit −11 (67-72-70-68=277) 2 strokes United States Tom Watson
1995 Masters Tournament (2) Tied for lead −14 (70-67-69-68=274) 1 stroke United States Davis Love III

Results timeline

Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament T19 LA T24 LA T22 T30 2 T8 T37 CUT
U.S. Open T36 LA T27 CUT CUT T3 T8 T49 CUT T11
The Open Championship T28 T5 T2 T2
PGA Championship T63 T10 T8 T16 2
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament T6 T8 T24 T2 1 T57 T16 T4 4 T3
U.S. Open T32 T11 T19 CUT CUT CUT T6 T4 T12 CUT
The Open Championship 3 T8 T15 CUT T22 T35 T21 T4 T16 T52
PGA Championship T41 CUT CUT T9 CUT T59 T11 T7 T17 T17
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Masters Tournament T14 T3 46 CUT T18 1 CUT 45 CUT CUT
U.S. Open CUT T33 T71 CUT T65 CUT CUT
The Open Championship T31 T80 CUT T77 T15 T27 CUT
PGA Championship T31 WD T73 T61 T9 T44 T69 CUT CUT CUT
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Masters Tournament CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT 47 T55 CUT CUT
U.S. Open
The Open Championship
PGA Championship WD
Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Masters Tournament CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT
U.S. Open
The Open Championship
PGA Championship
  Top 10
  Did not play

LA = Low amateur
CUT = missed the halfway cut
WD = withdrew
"T" indicates a tie for a place.


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 2 2 2 8 11 18 44 25
U.S. Open 0 0 1 2 4 8 26 15
The Open Championship 0 2 1 5 6 11 21 18
PGA Championship 0 1 0 1 6 10 26 18
Totals 2 5 4 16 27 47 117 76
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 13 (twice)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 6 (1975 U.S. Open – 1977 Masters)

Results in The Players Championship

Tournament 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
The Players Championship T39 T55 T70 CUT T4 CUT
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
The Players Championship 2 T63 CUT T10 T26 T33 T54 T9 T11 T11
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
The Players Championship CUT CUT T29 CUT T19 CUT T73 CUT CUT CUT
Tournament 2000 2001
The Players Championship CUT CUT
  Top 10

CUT = missed the halfway cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place


U.S. national team appearances



See also


  1. ^ "Week 21 1988 Ending 22 May 1988" (pdf). OWGR. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  2. ^ Jenkins, Dan (February 11, 1974). "Gentle Ben Is Very Tough". Sports Illustrated.
  3. ^ "69 Players Who Have Reached The Top-10 In World Ranking" (PDF). Official World Golf Ranking. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  4. ^ "Old master Ben Crenshaw soaks up the last ovation as folklore reigns". The Guardian. April 11, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
  5. ^ "Kevin Kisner's latest playoff loss has him closing in on a PGA Tour record he'd rather avoid". Retrieved 2021-01-30.
  6. ^ "Biography: Ben Crenshaw". Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  7. ^ Valentine, Uhovski (December 31, 2010). "At Waldorf, a Ball With Belles and Whistles". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  8. ^ Search results for ben crenshaw. OpenSecrets. Retrieved on 2018-06-11.
  9. ^ "1997 Nitro Texas State Open". Archived from the original on February 6, 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  10. ^ Apfelbaum, Jim, ed. (2007). The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60239-014-0.

External links

This page was last edited on 12 July 2021, at 19:38
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