Don January, who won the 1967 PGA Championship and was one of the early stars of golf’s Senior Tour, winning 22 events in his first decade, died Sunday at his home in Dallas. he was 93 years old.
His death was announced by the PGA Tour.
“I’m just a damn pro from Dallas, Texas. I’ve been lucky enough to swing for a while,” January told Sports Illustrated in 1998, the year before he retired.
January, who turned pro in 1955, won 10 PGA Tour events in 10 years, most notably the 1967 PGA Championship, where he beat fellow Texan Don Masengale in the playoffs at the Columbine Country Club near Denver. defeated by two strokes. Six years ago, he lost to Jerry Barber in the PGA Championship playoffs.
Won in January at age 46 Verdon Trophy In 1976, he averaged the lowest PGA Tour scoring average of 70.56, the same year he won the Tournament of Champions. He played for his team in his 1965 and his 1977 winning Ryder Cup.
The idea for the Senior Tour came in 1979 when Roberto De Vicenzo teamed up with Julius Boros to defeat Tommy Bolt, Artwall Jr. At the 6th hole of the Legends of Golf playoff.
“I was playing on the New Orleans regular tour, but I didn’t see the show,” recalled January in a 1985 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “But all I heard about the rest of 1979 on tour was how sensational it was.”
In January 1980, January joined fellow professionals Gardner Dickinson, Sam Snead, Bob Goalby, Dan Sykes Boros helped the PGA Tour lay the groundwork for creating the Senior Tour.
As January recalled, his small group of professionals “decided there might be a market for modest tours” but “didn’t expect it to grow like this”.
In January, he won the first event of the Senior Tour, the Atlantic City Seniors, with 50 professional golfers aged 50 and over and 12 amateurs. Although he earned just $20,000 in prize money (equivalent to about $73,000 today) in his June 1980 tournament, the senior event, now part of the Champions Tour, was for those over 50. has proven to be a lucrative showcase for many of the major players in
January won the PGA Senior Championship on the Tour in 1982, and three years later became the first player to win $1 million in prize money as a senior (approximately $2.8 million in today’s money). He won his 22nd and final senior championship in 1987.
Donald Ray January was born in Plainview, Texas on November 29, 1929, the son of a roofer. He moved to Dallas with his family when he was a child and began hitting golf balls on municipal courses at the age of eight.
January played for the NCAA championship team at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) in Denton and served in the Air Force before turning pro. His first PGA Tour victory came in 1956 at the Dallas Centennial Open. After his four losses in the playoffs, in 1967 he defeated Massengale in an 18-hole playoff for the PGA Championship.
Jan quit the PGA Tour in 1972 to design golf courses, but the business failed financially and he returned two years later. His last regular win on the tour in 1976 was the MONY Tournament of Champions (now the Sentry Tournament of Champions, held in Maui, Hawaii in his early January). senior player.
He has a daughter, Shelley DePuy. He has two sons, Tim and Richard. six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
hello Texas Sports Hall of Fame 1979.
Over the years, January sponsored the Don January Golf Classic in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to fund scholarships for the University of North Texas.
At 6 feet 1 inches and 165 pounds, January was an unflappable figure as he walked the course with his shirt collar pulled up. As he told his Dallas Morning His News in 1999, “People thought I was a cool cat from East Dallas. All I had to do was keep my back from getting sunburnt and be able to sleep on it.”
His cool wit was evident when asked about his approach to golf after winning the PGA Championship. “Just tee up and hit,” he said.