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George Archer
George Archer 1972.jpg
Archer in 1972
Personal information
Full nameGeorge William Archer
Born(1939-10-01)October 1, 1939
San Francisco, California
DiedSeptember 25, 2005(2005-09-25) (aged 65)
Incline Village, Nevada
Height6 ft 5+12 in (1.97 m)
Weight200 lb (91 kg; 14 st)
Nationality United States
SpouseDonna Garman Archer[1]
Children2 daughters
Turned professional1964
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Champions Tour
Professional wins43
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour13
PGA Tour Champions19
Other7 (regular)
4 (senior)
Best results in major championships
(wins: 1)
Masters TournamentWon: 1969
PGA ChampionshipT4: 1968
U.S. OpenT5: 1971
The Open ChampionshipWD: 1969
George Archer
Allegiance United States
US Department of the Army Seal.png
U.S. Army
Years of serviceearly 1960s[1]
Battles/warsCold War

George William Archer (October 1, 1939 – September 25, 2005) was an American professional golfer who won 13 events on the PGA Tour,[2][3] including one major championship, the Masters in 1969.[4][5][6]

Early years

Born in San Francisco, California, Archer was raised just south in San Mateo. He grew to 6 ft 5+12 in (1.97 m) tall, and as a boy he dreamed of a basketball career, but took up golf at San Mateo High School after working as a caddy at the Peninsula Golf and Country Club near his home. He was kicked off the high school basketball team because he missed too many practices due to golf.[7]

Tour career

Archer turned professional in 1964 and claimed the first of 13 victories on the PGA Tour at the Lucky International Open the following year.

The leading achievement of his career was his win at the Masters in 1969.[8][9] In the first round, he fired a 67, good for second place behind Billy Casper. His subsequent rounds of 73-69-72 earned him a one-stroke victory over runners-up Casper, Tom Weiskopf, and George Knudson.[10][11][12]

Archer's other top-10 finishes in the majors came at the U.S. Open (10th in 1969, fifth in 1971) and the PGA Championship (fourth in 1968).[13]

Archer was hampered by injuries throughout his career and had surgery on his left wrist (1975), back (1979) and left shoulder (1987). In 1996, he had his right hip replaced and two years later became the first man to win on the Senior PGA Tour (now the PGA Tour Champions) after having a hip replacement. He won 19 times on the Senior Tour between 1989 and 2000, although he did not win a senior major. Archer is also the only player in PGA Tour Champions history to win a tournament in each of the first three decades of its existence.

Archer is considered one of the game's all-time great putters,[7] and at one time held the PGA Tour record for fewest putts over four rounds with 94 putts at the Sea Pines Heritage in 1980 (1.3 per hole).[14] The record stood for nine years, until broken by Kenny Knox in 1989.[15]

Archer was known as the "Golfing Cowboy," due to a summer job in his youth at his friend and sponsor, Eugene Selvage's Lucky Hereford Ranch in Gilroy.[1][16]

Archer made Masters history in 1983 when he employed its first female caddy, his 19-year-old daughter Elizabeth, in the first year that outside caddies were allowed at Augusta National.[4] He finished tied for 12th,[17] his third-best at Augusta and final top-20 finish in a major. At the time Liz was a sophomore at Stanford University and had caddied for her father at twenty previous events; a member of the Cardinal track team, she threw the javelin and discus.[18] She started caddying for him on tour in the summer of 1980, prior to her senior year at Gilroy High School.[19]


Archer with wife in 1965
Archer with wife in 1965

Archer died of Burkitt's lymphoma – a lymphatic system malignancy – in Incline Village, Nevada in 2005, several days before his 66th birthday. He was survived by his wife, Donna, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Marilyn.[20] He played his final round of golf with his wife in nearby Truckee on August 25, a month before his death.[3]


Six months after his death, Archer's widow, Donna, revealed in the March/April 2006 issue of Golf For Women magazine that he had suffered his entire life from a severe form of learning impairment. Despite years of effort and the consultation of many experts, he was never able to read more than the simplest sentences and could only write his own name. She reported that they never revealed this truth beyond their family and that Archer lived in constant fear that the secret of his illiteracy would be revealed.[21]

In 2008, Donna created the George Archer Memorial Foundation for Literacy, a 501(c)(3) organization located in Incline Village, Nevada. The Foundation's mission is to raise funds to identify reading deficiencies, diagnose causes and effective treatments for learning disabilities, improve systems for training teachers, tutors and other educators in literacy issues, provide grants, stipends and scholarships for deserving students, and assist in the development of tools and techniques for the effective teaching of reading and writing skills. The Foundation's primary fundraiser is the George Archer Memorial Stroke of Genius Pro-Am golf tournament held every October since 2008 at the Peninsula Golf and Country Club, in San Mateo, California – the club at which Archer began his golf career.[22]


  • "One thing about golf is you don't know why you play bad and why you play good."
  • "When I joined the tour in 1964, I told my wife I wanted to play five years. Instead, I've played five careers."
  • "If it weren't for golf, I'd probably be a caddie today."[23]

Amateur wins

Professional wins (43)

PGA Tour wins (13)

Major championships (1)
Other PGA Tour (12)
No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin of
1 Jan 31, 1965 Lucky International Open 68-73-69-68=278 −6 Playoff New Zealand Bob Charles
2 Apr 2, 1967 Greater Greensboro Open 67-64-68-68=267 −17 2 strokes United States Doug Sanders
3 Mar 25, 1968 Pensacola Open Invitational 66-68-69-65=268 −20 1 stroke England Tony Jacklin, United States Dave Marr
4 May 12, 1968 Greater New Orleans Open Invitational 69-65-70-67=271 −17 2 strokes United States Bert Yancey
5 Sep 22, 1968 PGA National Team Championship
(with United States Bobby Nichols)
65-66-69-65=265 −22 2 strokes United States Monty Kaser and United States Rives McBee
6 Jan 27, 1969 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am 72-68-72-71=283 −5 1 stroke United States Bob Dickson, United States Dale Douglass,
United States Howie Johnson
7 Apr 13, 1969 Masters Tournament 67-73-69-72=281 −7 1 stroke United States Billy Casper, Canada George Knudson,
United States Tom Weiskopf
8 Jan 31, 1971 Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational 67-72-68-65=272 −16 3 strokes United States Dave Eichelberger
9 Sep 6, 1971 Greater Hartford Open Invitational 68-66-68-66=268 −16 Playoff United States Lou Graham, United States J. C. Snead
10 Jan 9, 1972 Glen Campbell-Los Angeles Open 66-69-69-66=270 −14 Playoff United States Tommy Aaron, United States Dave Hill
11 Apr 2, 1972 Greater Greensboro Open (2) 70-68-66-68=272 −12 Playoff United States Tommy Aaron
12 Oct 3, 1976 Sahara Invitational 67-66-69-69=271 −13 2 strokes United States Dave Hill, United States Don January
13 Sep 9, 1984 Bank of Boston Classic 69-66-70-65=270 −14 6 strokes United States Frank Conner, United States Joey Sindelar

PGA Tour playoff record (4–3)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1965 Lucky International Open New Zealand Bob Charles Won with birdie on second extra hole
2 1969 Kaiser International Open Invitational United States Billy Casper, United States Don January,
United States Jack Nicklaus
Nicklaus won with birdie on second extra hole
January eliminated by birdie on first hole
3 1970 Robinson Open Golf Classic Canada George Knudson Lost to par on fourth extra hole
4 1971 Greater Hartford Open Invitational United States Lou Graham, United States J. C. Snead Won with birdie on first extra hole
5 1972 Glen Campbell-Los Angeles Open United States Tommy Aaron, United States Dave Hill Won 18-hole playoff;
Archer: −5 (66),
Aaron: −3 (68),
Hill: −3 (68)
6 1972 Dean Martin Tucson Open United States Miller Barber Lost to birdie on third extra hole after 18-hole playoff;
Archer: E (72),
Barber: E (72)
7 1972 Greater Greensboro Open United States Tommy Aaron Won with par on second extra hole

Other wins (7)

Senior PGA Tour wins (19)

No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin of
1 Oct 15, 1989 Gatlin Brothers Southwest Senior Classic 69-72-68=209 −7 Playoff United States Orville Moody, United States Jimmy Powell
2 Jan 7, 1990 MONY Senior Tournament of Champions 73-69-67-74=283 −5 7 strokes Australia Bruce Crampton
3 Jul 8, 1990 Northville Long Island Classic 69-67-72=208 −16 1 stroke United States Frank Beard, United States Charles Coody
4 Aug 26, 1990 GTE Northwest Classic 69-66-70=205 −15 2 strokes Australia Bruce Crampton
5 Oct 28, 1990 Rancho Murieta Senior Gold Rush 70-68-66=204 −12 1 stroke United States Dale Douglass
6 Aug 4, 1991 Northville Long Island Classic (2) 68-67-69=204 −12 2 strokes United States Jim Colbert, United States Larry Laoretti
7 Sep 1, 1991 GTE North Classic 66-66-67=199 −17 1 stroke United States Dale Douglass
8 Oct 13, 1991 Raley's Senior Gold Rush (2) 67-71-68=206 −10 1 stroke South Africa Simon Hobday
9 May 10, 1992 Murata Reunion Pro-Am 66-72-73=211 −5 Playoff United States Tommy Aaron
10 Aug 2, 1992 Northville Long Island Classic (3) 70-67-68=205 −9 2 strokes United States Jim Albus
11 Aug 16, 1992 Bruno's Memorial Classic 66-68-74=208 −8 1 stroke United States Jack Kiefer, United States Rocky Thompson
12 Jul 18, 1993 Ameritech Senior Open 67-66=133* −11 1 stroke United States Jim Colbert, South Africa Simon Hobday,
United States Dick Rhyan
13 Jul 25, 1993 First of America Classic 67-69-63=199 −14 Playoff United States Jim Colbert, United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez
14 Oct 17, 1993 Raley's Senior Gold Rush (3) 68-66-68=202 −14 1 stroke New Zealand Bob Charles, United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez
15 Oct 31, 1993 PING Kaanapali Classic 67-69-63=199 −14 Playoff United States Dave Stockton, United States Lee Trevino
16 Feb 20, 1995 Toshiba Senior Classic 67-68-64=199 −11 1 stroke United States Dave Stockton, United States Tom Wargo
17 May 14, 1995 Cadillac NFL Golf Classic 69-66-70=205 −11 1 stroke United States Raymond Floyd, United States Bob Murphy
18 Aug 16, 1998 First of America Classic 68-67-64=199 −17 5 strokes United States Jim Dent
19 Jan 23, 2000 MasterCard Championship (2) 67-71-69=207 −9 2 strokes United States Hale Irwin, Australia Graham Marsh,
United States Dana Quigley, United States Lee Trevino

*Note: The 1993 Ameritech Senior Open was shortened to 36 holes due to lightning.

Senior PGA Tour Tour playoff record (4–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1989 Gatlin Brothers Southwest Senior Classic United States Orville Moody, United States Jimmy Powell Won with par on second extra hole
2 1991 Security Pacific Senior Classic United States John Brodie, United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez Brodie won with birdie on first extra hole
3 1992 GTE Suncoast Classic United States Jim Colbert Lost to birdie on fourth extra hole
4 1992 Murata Reunion Pro-Am United States Tommy Aaron Won with birdie on third extra hole
5 1993 First of America Classic United States Jim Colbert, United States Chi-Chi Rodríguez Won with par on third extra hole
Rodríguez eliminated by par on first hole
6 1993 PING Kaanapali Classic United States Dave Stockton, United States Lee Trevino Won with birdie on first extra hole

Other senior wins (4)

  • 1990 Sports Shinko Cup, Princeville Classic
  • 1991 Sports Shinko Cup
  • 1994 Chrysler Cup (individual)

Major championships

Wins (1)

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score To par Margin Runners-up
1969 Masters Tournament 1 shot deficit 67-73-69-72=281 −7 1 stroke United States Billy Casper, Canada George Knudson,
United States Tom Weiskopf

Results timeline

Tournament 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament T16 T22 1
U.S. Open T39 T17 WD T16 T10
The Open Championship WD
PGA Championship T61 T55 T4 T69
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament T31 35 T12 T43 WD CUT CUT T19 WD
U.S. Open T30 T5 T65 T34 T27 CUT
The Open Championship
PGA Championship T61 T34 T36 T51 T19 61
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament CUT T11 T30 T12 T25 T53 CUT CUT T43
U.S. Open T58
The Open Championship
PGA Championship T17 CUT T34 T67 T47
Tournament 1990 1991 1992
Masters Tournament 49 WD 51
U.S. Open
The Open Championship
PGA Championship
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut
WD = withdrew
"T" = tied


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 1 0 0 1 1 8 24 16
U.S. Open 0 0 0 1 2 4 12 10
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
PGA Championship 0 0 0 1 1 3 15 14
Totals 1 0 0 3 4 15 52 40
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 13 (1969 PGA – 1973 PGA)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 3 (1968 PGA – 1969 U.S. Open)

See also


  1. ^ a b c Herskowitz, Mickey (April 13, 1964). "Home on the range or the greens". Sports Illustrated. p. E9.
  2. ^ FitzGerald, Tom (September 28, 2005). "George Archer: 1939-2005: Fellow golfers praise '69 Masters champ / 'He was a consummate pro,' Johnny Miller says". SF Gate. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Litsky, Frank (September 27, 2005). "George Archer, 65, winner of golf's Masters in 1969, dies". New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Masters champ Archer dies at 65". St. Petersburg Times. (Florida). September 27, 2005. p. 2C.
  5. ^ "Archer wins Masters by 1; trio shares 2nd". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. April 14, 1969. p. 1, part 2.
  6. ^ Green, Bob (April 14, 1969). "Masters success won't spoil George Archer". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. p. 20.
  7. ^ a b Litsky, Frank (September 28, 2005). "1969 Masters golf champ Archer noted for putting prowess". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. E5.
  8. ^ Jenkins, Dan (April 21, 1969). "Sorry, Billy". Sports Illustrated. p. 24.
  9. ^ "1969 Masters leaderboard". Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  10. ^ Husar, John (April 14, 1969). "Archer's 281 wins Masters by 1 shot". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, sec. 3.
  11. ^ "George the Giant keeps his cool, wins with 281 in tense Masters". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. April 14, 1969. p. 12.
  12. ^ Historic Leaderboard: 1969 Masters. Retrieved on 2018-06-09.
  13. ^ "Golf Major Championships". Retrieved June 1, 2011.
  14. ^ "'I'm still in a state of shock,' Tewell says". Williamson Daily News. West Virginia. April 2, 1980. p. 19.
  15. ^ "Good start for Stewart means win". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. April 17, 1989. p. 2B.
  16. ^ "Golf: Archer Makes His Bow". Time. April 25, 1969. Archived from the original on December 14, 2008. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  17. ^ "1983 Masters leaderboard". Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  18. ^ Greenday, Joe (April 11, 1983). "Elizabeth Archer enjoying a first in golf at Masters". Boca Raton News. Florida. Knight Ridder Newspapers. p. 1D.
  19. ^ "Pro Archer has daughter carry bag". News and Courier. Charleston, South Carolina. Associated Press. August 17, 1980. p. 8B.
  20. ^ "Masters winner George Archer dies". USA Today. Associated Press. September 26, 2005. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  21. ^ "Former Masters Champion George Archer Battled Secret Life-long Illiteracy; Moving First-Person Account Written by Archer's Wife Appears in the March/April Issue of Golf For Women". Business Wire. February 14, 2006. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  22. ^ "The George Archer Memorial Foundation for Literacy". Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  23. ^ Apfelbaum, Jim, ed. (2007). The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60239-014-0.

External links

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