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Lanny Wadkins


Lanny Wadkins at the 1989 Ryder Cup

Lanny Wadkins is fired up after sinking a chip shot during the 1989 Ryder Cup. Wadkins was one of the best American Ryder Cuppers of his generation.

David Cannon/Getty Images

Lanny Wadkins was a force on the PGA Tour from the early 1970s into the 1990s, and starred on numerous American Ryder Cup teams.

Date of birth: December 5, 1949
Place of birth: Richmond, Virginia
Nickname: Lanny is a nickname based on his middle name. His full name is Jerry Lanston Wadkins.

Tour Victories:

PGA Tour: 21
Champions Tour: 1

Major Championships:

Professional - 1
PGA Championship: 1977

Amateur - 1
U.S. Amateur: 1970

Awards and Honors:

• Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
• PGA Player of the Year, 1985
• Captain, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1995
• Member, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1977, 1979, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993
• Member, U.S. Walker Cup team, 1969, 1971

Quote, Unquote:

Lanny Wadkins: "Playing is so much more important than practicing. Young players today all hit the ball great, but they're missing an edge when it comes to scoring and course management. This devotion to the range is like a disease."


• Lanny Wadkins' brother, Bobby Wadkins, was a full-time PGA Tour player himself from 1975-98, and later a winner on the Champions Tour.

• Wadkins' PGA Championship win came in the first sudden-death playoff in that tournament's history (he beat Gene Littler).

• Wadkins and fellow Masters rookie Tom Watson roomed together in the "Crow's Nest," a room atop the Augusta National clubhouse, at their first Masters in 1970.

Lanny Wadkins Biography:

Known as a fierce competitor and as one of the best iron players on tour, Lanny Wadkins compiled an impressive career record topped off by his play in the Ryder Cup.

Wadkins first gained notice by winning the prestigious Southern Amateur, a feat he repeated in 1970. He attended Wake Forest University on a scholarship acquired for him by Arnold Palmer, a Wake Forest alum.

He was a collegiate All-American in 1970 and 1971, and Wadkins won the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1970.

Wadkins turned pro in 1971, and his first full year on the PGA Tour was 1972. That was also the year of his first victory, which came at the Sahara Invitational.

He won multiple times in 1973, and his last season of multiple wins was 1988. Wadkins was co-leader in victories on the PGA Tour in 1983 with two and 1985 with three. He finished second on the money list in 1985, his best showing, and was third on the money list two other times.

Wadkins' final win on the PGA Tour was the 1992 Greater Hartford Open. He won his debut on the Champions Tour in 2000, but did not win again on the senior circuit. His play there was curtailed first by nagging injuries, then by his duties as the lead analyst on CBS' golf broadcasts from 2002-06.

Wadkins' lone major trophy was earned at the 1977 PGA Championship, where he defeated Gene Littler in the first-ever sudden death playoff at that event. He also won the 1979 Players Championship.

Wadkins was a Ryder Cup stalwart for the U.S. side throughout his career. He played on eight teams, tied for the American record, winning 20 matches and 21.5 points, both among the highest totals for Americans. His overall Ryder Cup record was 20-11-3.

Wadkins left CBS' golf telecasts at the end of 2006, but later returned to TV on Golf Channel's Champions Tour telecasts. He designs golf courses through his company, Lanny Wadkins Design Group.

He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2009.

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