Activities Sports & Athletics Byron Nelson: Profile of the Golf Legend Share PINTEREST Email Print Byron Nelson tees off during the 1937 Ryder Cup. Fox Photos/Getty Images Sports & Athletics Golf Famous Golfers Basics History Gear Golf Courses Golf Tournaments Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Brent Kelley Brent Kelley is an award-winning sports journalist and golf expert with over 30 years in print and online journalism. our editorial process Brent Kelley Updated March 03, 2019 Byron Nelson was one of the best golfers of the 1930s and 1940s who retired early, but remained involved with golf into the 21st Century through the PGA Tour tournament named after him. He is often called the first golfer with a modern swing, and is generally considered among the greatest golfers of all-time. Fast Facts: Byron Nelson Occupation: Professional golferNickname: Lord ByronBorn: February 4, 1912 in Waxahachie, TexasDied: September 26, 2006 in Roanoke, TexasPublished Works: Byron Nelson's Winning Golf (1946), How I Played the Game: An Autobiography (1993)Key Accomplishments: Winner of 52 PGA Tour tournaments, including The Masters twice, PGA Championship twice and U.S. Open once.Fun Fact: In 1927, as 15-year-olds, Nelson defeated Ben Hogan for the caddie championship of Glen Garden Country Club in Fort Worth. Number of Wins By Nelson Nelson won 52 times in golf tournaments that are counted today as official PGA Tour events. That puts Nelson in sixth place on the all-time PGA Tour career wins list. Nelson is one of only seven golfers who've won 50 or more PGA Tour tournaments. Of those wins, five were in major championships. Nelson won The Masters in 1937 and 1942, the U.S. Open in 1939 and the PGA Championship in 1940 and 1945. Awards and Honors for Nelson Member, World Golf Hall of FameAssociated Press Male Athlete of the Year, 1944 and 1945PGA Tour Vardon Trophy winner, 1939PGA Tour leading money winner, 1944, 1945Member, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1937, 1947Captain, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1965 A Brief Biography of Byron Nelson Starting in 1942 and ending in 1946, Byron Nelson finished in the Top 10 in 65 consecutive tournaments. Over that full time period, Nelson finished out of the Top 10 only once, winning 34 times and finishing second 16 more times. Nelson's 1945 season is considered by most the best ever by a male golfer. He won 18 times, including 11 tournaments in a row (see complete record here). He did it with a 68.33 stroke average that was not bested for another 55 years. Nelson was born John Byron Nelson Jr. south of Fort Worth, where he and Ben Hogan became acquainted as children when both caddied at Glen Garden Country Club. The two squared off for the club's caddie championship in 1927, with Nelson winning. Nelson turned pro in 1932 and his swing is considered by many golf historians the first "modern" swing (it served as the model for the mechanical testing robot that came to be known as "Iron Byron"). The World Golf Hall of Fame explains: "Coming of age just as the steel shaft was replacing hickory, Nelson learned that using the big muscles in the hips and legs could be a more reliable, powerful, and effective way to hit a golf ball than the more wristy method that had been employed in the era of hickory. Nelson was particularly noteworthy for the way his swing was more upright and along the target line, employing a full shoulder turn with restricted wrist cock, and for the way he kept his knees flexed in the downswing." Nelson's first major championship victory was the 1937 Masters; he won the Masters again in 1942 by beating Hogan in an 18-hole playoff. Following his amazing 1945 season, Nelson won six more times in 1946 and then, at the age of 34, retired from full-time competitive golf to buy a ranch in Texas. He played tournament golf only sparingly afterward. After his playing days ended, Nelson did some television commentary and also hosted the Byron Nelson Championship on the PGA Tour each year. As an elder statesman of the game, Nelson mentored many young golfers, among them Ken Venturi and Tom Watson. He was one of the honorary starters at The Masters for many years, and also served as host of the Masters' Champions Dinner. Byron Nelson was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974 as part of the inaugural class. Quote, Unquote First, a couple quotes by others about Nelson: Ken Venturi: "You can always argue who was the greatest player, but Byron is the finest gentleman the game has ever known."Arnold Palmer: "Byron Nelson accomplished things on the pro tour that never have been and never will be approached again." These are quotes from Nelson himself: "Every great player has learned the two Cs: how to concentrate and how to maintain composure.""Putting affects the nerves more than anything. I would actually get nauseated over three-footers.""The toughest thing I've ever had to do in golf is hit the ball off that first tee with thousands of people watching and having no idea where the ball was going.""The first step in building a solid, dependable attitude is to be realistic, not only about your inherent capabilities, but also about how well you are playing to those capabilities on any given day.""The only shot you can be sure of are those you've had already.""I'm more proud of my reputation than the fact that I won a lot of tournaments." Byron Nelson's PGA Tour Wins Nelson is credited with 52 wins on the PGA Tour. This is the list of those wins: 1935 New Jersey State Open1936 Metropolitan Open1937 The Masters1937 Belmont Country Club Match Play1938 Thomasville Open1938 Hollywood Open1939 Phoenix Open1939 North and South Open1939 U.S. Open1939 Western Open1940 Texas Open1940 Miami Open1940 PGA Championship1941 Greater Greensboro Open1941 Tam O'Shanter Open1941 Miami Open1942 Oakland Open1942 Masters1942 Tam O'Shanter Open1944 San Francisco Victory Open1944 Knoxville War Bond Tournament1944 New York Red Cross Tourney1944 Minneapolis Four-Ball (partnered Jug McSpaden in team format)1944 Tam O'Shanter Open1944 Nashville Open1944 Texas Victory Open1944 San Francisco Open1945 Phoenix Open1945 Corpus Christi Open1945 New Orleans Open1945 Miami International Four-Ball (partnered Jug McSpaden in team format)1945 Charlotte Open1945 Greater Greensboro Open1945 Durham Open1945 Atlanta Open1945 Montreal Open1945 Philadelphia Inquirer1945 Chicago Victory National Open1945 PGA Championship1945 Tam O'Shanter Open1945 Canadian Open1945 Knoxville Invitational1945 Esmeralda Open1945 Seattle Open1945 Glen Garden Open1946 Los Angeles Open1946 San Francisco Open1946 New Orleans Open1946 Houston Open1946 Columbus Invitational1946 Chicago Victory National Open1951 Bing Crosby Professional-Amateur Nelson also won tournaments that are not, today, counted as PGA Tour wins, plus one tournament — the 1955 French Open — on the loosely organized pro circuit that existed in Europe prior to the establishment of the European Tour. Among his other wins were the Ohio Open in 1940, 1941 and 1942, the Massachusetts Open in 1939, Kentucky Open in 1943, New York Open in 1944 and Texas PGA Championship in 1948.