Doug Ford had a very productive decade on the PGA Tour in the 1950s, capturing most of his victories during those years including his two majors.
Date of birth: Aug. 6, 1922
Place of birth: West Haven, Conn.
Nickname: This isn't about a nickname, it's about the family name. Ford was born "Doug Fortunato," but shortened the Italian family name to "Ford."
• PGA Championship: 1955
• Masters: 1957
Doug Ford Awards and Honors:
• Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
• PGA Player of the Year, 1955
• Member, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961
• Member, Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame
• Member, Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame
Doug Sanders: "Doug Ford had the best short game I ever saw."
Doug Ford: "If you want to be a good tournament player, you've got to learn to handle the heat. The only way to prepare for that is to play for your own dough. You play for an amount you can barely afford to lose."
Doug Ford Trivia:
• His son, Doug Ford Jr., played on the PGA Tour 1974-1977.
• During the period in which the PGA Championship was played at match play, Ford was one of four golfers to capture medalist honors in stroke play qualifying, then go on to win the championship the same year. The others were Walter Hagen, Olin Dutra and Byron Nelson.
Doug Ford Biography:
Doug Ford grew up playing baseball and golf, but eventually chose to concentrate on golf. It might have had something to do with the fact that his father was a club pro at Putnam Country Club in Yonkers, New York, and three of his uncles were also golf professionals.
But no matter the reason, it was a good decision: Ford won 19 times on the PGA Tour, including a pair of major championships.
His golf career really started in earnest once he left service during World War II in the Coast Guard Air Division. Ford turned pro in 1949. He had the game to turn pro earlier, but later told biographers he was making more money in gambling matches than he could have on the PGA Tour.
Ford would be one of the top gamblers - playing Nassaus and such - on the Tour throughout his career.
His first victory on the PGA Tour was at the 1952 Jacksonville Open, and his last was the 1963 Canadian Open. In between, he had three years in which he won three times each on Tour: 1953, 1955 and 1957. He twice finished second on the money list, and was named PGA Player of the Year in 1955.
Ford's first major championship win was at the 1955 PGA Championship, where he defeated Cary Middlecoff in the final. Ford was a fast player, and Middlecoff was among the slowest ever. So in the championship match, Ford had one of his sons carry a chair throughout the round. When he was waiting for Middlecoff to play, Ford would take a seat in the chair, saving his legs in the 36-hole match.
Ford was living in Yonkers at that time, and when he returned home with the trophy he was welcomed with a parade through downtown.
Ford was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2010 as part of the Hall's Class of 2011.