Miller Barber was the most prolific golfer of his era, setting a record for most combined tournaments played on the US PGA and Champions Tours. He played tournament golf from the 1950s into the 2000s.
Date of birth: March 31, 1931
Place of birth: Shreveport, Louisiana
Date of death: June 11, 2013
Nickname: Mr. X
PGA Tour: 11
Champions Tour: 24
(Barber won five tournaments counted as "senior majors" on the Champions Tour.)
Awards and Honors:
• Member, U.S. Ryder Cup team, 1969, 1971
• Champions Tour money leader, 1981, 1982
• Champions Tour scoring leader, 1981
• Miller Barber: "There's a lot to be said for taking a shag bag into an open field, alone, and learning on your own. ... You pay attention to every shot because you don't want to walk all over picking them up. When you're retrieving the balls you have time to think about your swing."
• Miller Barber: "Jackie Burke says my swing looks like an octopus falling out of a tree, and others say I look like a man opening an umbrella in the wind."
Miller Barber holds the record for most combined starts on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. Barber teed off in 1,297 tournaments total between the two tours.
Miller Barber Biography:
Miller Barber was born in Louisiana and attended college in Arkansas, and in-between taught himself to golf before beginning more formal lessons at age 13. By that time, he had already developed an unorthodox, loopy swing that always stayed with him.
After graduating college with a business degree, Miller joined the Air Force. Upon release from military duty, he turn pro in 1958 and joined the PGA Tour in 1959.
Barber was known as a carouser in his bachelor days on the tour (he married at age 39), and his propensity for disappearing at night to go bar-hopping or visit a girlfriend earned him the nickname "The Mysterious Mr. X," which was eventually shortened to just "Mr. X."
He earned his first victory in 1964, and from 1967 through 1974 he won every year - but only once per year. Barber finished in the Top 10 on the PGA Tour money list four times (1968, 1971, 1973 and 1977).
He eventually recorded 11 total wins on the PGA Tour. He never won a major and rarely contended. Barber recorded just seven Top 10s in majors. And while he earned places on two Ryder Cup teams (1969 and 1971), Barber posted one of the worst winning percentages (1-4-2, .286) among Americans who played at least five Ryder Cup matches.
Still, Barber had a very solid and productive, if unspectacular, PGA Tour career. He took things up a notch, however, after turning 50 - which happened just after the founding of what is now known as the Champions Tour.
On the senior circuit, Barber was a beast. He posted multiple victories every year but one from 1981 through 1989, led the tour in wins three times, and won five senior majors: 1981 Senior PGA Championship, 1982 U.S. Senior Open, 1983 Senior Players Championship (the first one played), 1984 U.S. Senior Open and 1985 U.S. Senior Open. At the time of his death Barber was still the only golfer to win the U.S. Senior Open three times.
Barber eventually won 24 times on the Champions Tour, and while none of those victories happened after 1989, he continued playing full-time through the 2001 season.
Longevity and consistency were the hallmarks of Barber's golf career. All told, he started 694 tournaments on the PGA Tour and 603 on the Champions Tour.