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Paul Runyan

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Paul RunyanConsidered short for golfers, Paul Runyan measured in at 5 feet 7 inches, and while he didn't have a tremendous long game, his short game was just about unparalleled by any of his peers. He is considered today to be one of the most influential short game players of all time and his techniques have been taught to thousands of golfers throughout the years.

 
Paul Runyan won 29 times on the Tour during his illustrious career, winning the PGA Championship twice, in 1934 and again in 1938. He even led the U.S. Open after three rounds in 1951. He won 16 times in two years, between 1933 and 1934 and his 9 wins in 1933 has only been matched or bested by seven golfers throughout history.
 
Paul Runyan was an iron horse of a golfer and taught up to 20 lessons per week well into his nineties. Paul Runyan started his golf career as a caddie and then he became an apprentice at a golf course in his hometown of Hot Springs, Alabama. He turned pro at the age of 17 and went on to become an assistant pro at Forest Hills Golf Course in White Plains, New York. He was the assistant to Craig Wood in 1921 and thirteen years later, in 1934, he defeated Wood in a playoff for the first of his two PGA Championship victories.
 
Paul Runyan defeated Sam Snead 8 and 7 for his second PGA Championship, which is the most lopsided final victory in the Championship ever. Of course, that was when the tournament was still decided on a match play format.
 
Here's a list of his tour wins:
 
1930 (2) North and South Open, New Jersey Open
1931 (2) Metropolitan PGA, Westchester Open
1932 (1) Gasparilla Open Match Play
1933 (9) Agua Caliente Open, Miami Biltmore Open (March), Virginia Beach Cavalier Open, Eastern Open Championship, National Capital Open, Mid-South Pro-Pro (with Willie Macfarlane), Mid-South Open (tie with Willie Macfarlane and Joe Turnesa), Miami International Four-Ball (with Horton Smith), Pasadena Open
1934 (6) St. Petersburg Open, Florida West Coast Open, Tournament of the Gardens Open, The Cavalier Open, Metropolitan Open, PGA Championship
1935 (3) North and South Open, Grand Slam Open, Westchester Open
1936 (2) Westchester Open, Metropolitan PGA
1938 (1) PGA Championship
1939 (1) Westchester Open
1941 (1) Goodall Round Robin
 
Paul Runyan's simple, yet effective advice, has been carried through the years and some of the most successful golfers in the world can be viewed as living by this assessment that Paul made: "Don't let the bad shots get to you. Don't let yourself become angry. The true scramblers are thick-skinned. And they always beat the whiners."
 
His passion for golf wasn't limited to winning tournaments, but to bring golf to the masses. "I want to be remembered as one of the best all-around golf professionals in the business who was equally interested in promoting golf.... I wanted to put something back, and I think I have put something back."
 
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George Knudson, Moe Norman and Henrik Stenson just mentioned in the same breath on Golf Channel. Perhaps some sanity is returning to the golf world.

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