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Billy Casper


Billy Casper in 1966

Billy Casper lines up a putt during a 1966 tournament.

Evening Standard/Getty Images

Billy Casper was one of the winningest golfers in PGA Tour history during his career that stretched from the 1950s into the 1970s. He also carries the reputation as one of golf's greatest putters.

Date of birth: June 24, 1931
Place of birth: San Diego, California
Nickname: Buffalo Bill

Tour Victories:

• PGA Tour: 51
• Champions Tour: 8

Major Championships:

• 1959 U.S. Open
• 1966 U.S. Open
• 1970 Masters

Awards and Honors:

• Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
• PGA Tour Player of the Year, 1966 and 1970
• Vardon Trophy (low scoring average) winner, 1960, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968
• PGA Tour money leader, 1966 and 1968
• Member, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975
• Ryder Cup captain, 1979

Quote, Unquote:

Lee Trevino: "When I came up, I focused on Casper. I figured he was twice as good as me, so I watched how he practiced and decided I would practice three times as much as him."

Johnny Miller: "Billy has the greatest pair of hands God ever gave a human being."

Chi Chi Rodriguez: "(Casper) was the greatest putter I ever saw ... When golf balls used to leave the factory, they prayed they would get to be putted by Billy."

• Billy Casper: "Oh, I used to make 'em once in a while."


• In 1968, Billy Casper became the first PGA Tour player to win more than $200,000 in a single season.

• Casper and his wife have 11 children, six of them adopted.

• Casper's "Buffalo Bill" nickname, and the buffalo logo that his golf company uses, derive from his diet of buffalo meat and organic vegetables that helped him drop a lot of weight early in his career.

Billy Casper Biography:

Is Billy Casper the most underrated golfer of all-time? Casper wasn't the biggest name on Tour even in his prime, when he was overshadowed by the "Big 3": Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.

Yet, according to the World Golf Hall of Fame, from 1964 through 1970 Casper won 27 times on the PGA Tour - four more wins than Nicklaus during that period, and eight more wins than Palmer and Player combined in that time frame. Casper won the Vardon Trophy for low scoring average five of the 10 years in the 1960s; he led the money list twice and was Player of the Year in 1966 and 1970.

Casper played on eight U.S. Ryder Cup teams, winning more points than any other American player.

And he won 51 times on the PGA Tour in his career. Only six other golfers in tour history have won more tournaments (see list of PGA Tour golfers with most career wins).

So why is Billy Casper often a forgotten man in discussions of golf's greatest players? He was quiet, both in personality and temperament, and he was the antithesis of flashy on the golf course. Also, he won "only" three majors.

One of those majors, however, was legendary. At the 1966 U.S. Open, Casper came from seven shots back over the final nine holes to tie Palmer, then beat Arnie in an 18-hole playoff the following day. But even this accomplishment is remembered more for Palmer's collapse than Casper's charge.

Many of Casper's contemporaries would agree with the "most underrated" label for him. And many of them would agree if you suggested Billy Casper was the greatest putter of all-time.

"Billy Casper," Chi Chi Rodriguez once said, "could make a 40-foot putt just by winking at it." When putting, the World Golf Hall of Fame said about Casper's style, he would take "a pigeon-toed stance and gave the ball a brisk, wristy pop."

Casper's final PGA Tour win came in 1975, and he went on to win eight more times on the Senior Tour. Casper's post playing career has included designing many golf courses through his company, Billy Casper Golf.

Billy Casper was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1978.

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