Emmett Cary Middlecoff (January 6, 1921 – September 1, 1998) was an American professional golfer on the PGA Tour from 1947 to 1961. His 40 Tour wins place him tenth all-time, and he won three major championships. Middlecoff graduated as a dentist, but gave up his practice at age 26 to become a full-time Tour golfer.
|Full name||Emmett Cary Middlecoff|
|Born||January 6, 1921|
|Died||September 1, 1998 (aged 77)|
|Spouse||Edith Buck (m. 1947)|
|College||University of Mississippi|
University of Tennessee College of Dentistry
|Former tour(s)||PGA Tour|
|Number of wins by tour|
|PGA Tour||40 (10th all time)|
|Best results in major championships|
|Masters Tournament||Won: 1955|
|PGA Championship||2nd: 1955|
|U.S. Open||Won: 1949, 1956|
|The Open Championship||14th: 1957|
|Achievements and awards|
|World Golf Hall of Fame||1986 (member page)|
Early life and educationEdit
Middlecoff was born in Halls, Tennessee. He graduated from Christian Brothers High School. He played collegiate golf at the University of Mississippi, becoming that school's first golf All-American in 1939. First as an undergraduate and active member of Kappa Alpha Order, then as a dental student at the University of Tennessee, Middlecoff won the Tennessee State Amateur Championship for four straight years (1940–1943). After obtaining his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree in 1944, he entered the United States Army Dental Corps during World War II. He won a PGA Tour tournament as an amateur in 1945, and then turned professional in 1947. He was selected for the 1947 Walker Cup team but immediately withdrew as he intended turning professional.
PGA Tour careerEdit
Middlecoff played on three Ryder Cup teams: 1953, 1955, and 1959 – the U.S. teams won all three times. He was ineligible for the 1957 Ryder Cup because he failed to play in the PGA Championship that year. Middlecoff was disappointed to lose a playoff in the 1957 U.S. Open to Dick Mayer, and played very few events following that event. The U.S. lost the Cup in 1957, for the first time since 1933.
Middlecoff's three best seasons were 1949, 1951 and 1956, as he won six tour titles in each of those years. He won at least one tour tournament in 13 of his 15 seasons, missing only in 1957 and 1960.
During the decade of the 1950s, Middlecoff won 28 tour titles, more than any other player during that span. A tall player with plenty of power and very good accuracy, Middlecoff during his best years was also a superb putter. He was known for often taking excessive time to play his shots.
Back problems and struggles with his nerves during competition ended his career in the early 1960s, when he was only in his early 40s, although he continued to play occasionally, competing in the Masters until 1971, as a past champion.
Middlecoff became a top player despite having one leg slightly shorter than the other.
Movies, television and writingEdit
Middlecoff later developed a reputation as one of the best of the early golf television commentators. After retiring from the tour, he spent 18 years as a golf analyst for television. He appeared in two motion pictures as himself (Follow the Sun (1951, about the life and career of Ben Hogan) and The Bellboy (1960)). He wrote a newspaper column, "The Golf Doctor." He also appeared in a short biographical sports documentary Golf Doctor (1947).
Professional wins (41)Edit
PGA Tour wins (40)Edit
- 1945 (1) North and South Open (as an amateur)
- 1947 (1) Charlotte Open
- 1948 (2) Hawaiian Open, Miami International Four-Ball (with Jim Ferrier)
- 1949 (6) Rio Grande Valley Open, Jacksonville Open, U.S. Open, Motor City Open (co-winner with Lloyd Mangrum), Reading Open, Miami International Four-Ball (with Jim Ferrier)
- 1950 (3) Houston Open, Jacksonville Open, St. Louis Open
- 1951 (6) Lakewood Park Open, Colonial National Invitation, All American Open, Eastern Open, St. Louis Open, Kansas City Open
- 1952 (4) El Paso Open, Motor City Open, St. Paul Open, Kansas City Open
- 1953 (3) Houston Open, Palm Beach Round Robin, Carling Open
- 1954 (1) Motor City Open
- 1955 (6) Bing Crosby Pro-Am Invitational, St. Petersburg Open, Masters Tournament, Western Open, Miller High Life Open, Cavalcade Of Golf
- 1956 (3) Bing Crosby National Pro-Am Golf Championship, Phoenix Open, U.S. Open
- 1958 (1) Miller Open Invitational
- 1959 (1) St. Petersburg Open Invitational
- 1961 (1) Memphis Open Invitational
Major championships are shown in bold.
Other wins (1)Edit
this list is probably incomplete
- 1949 Greenbrier Pro-Am
|Year||Championship||54 holes||Winning score||Margin||Runner(s)-up|
|1949||U.S. Open||1 shot lead||+2 (75-67-69-75=286)||1 stroke||Clayton Heafner, Sam Snead|
|1955||Masters Tournament||4 shot lead||−9 (72-65-72-70=279)||7 strokes||Ben Hogan|
|1956||U.S. Open||1 shot lead||+1 (71-70-70-70=281)||1 stroke||Julius Boros, Ben Hogan|
|Masters Tournament||T12 LA||T29||2||T23|
|The Open Championship|
|The Open Championship||14|
|The Open Championship|
|The Open Championship|
LA = Low amateur
CUT = missed the half-way cut
WD = withdrew
R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in PGA Championship match play
"T" = tied
|The Open Championship||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||1|
- Most consecutive cuts made – 12 (1948 Masters – 1953 Masters)
- Longest streak of top-10s – 3 (twice)
U.S. national team appearancesEdit
- "Twelve Names in U.S. Walker Cup Selection". Glasgow Herald. January 13, 1947. p. 2.
- "U.S. Walker Cup Team Change". Glasgow Herald. January 20, 1947. p. 2.
- "All-Time Records - Top 50 All-Time PGA Tour Winners". PGA TOUR 2007 Guide. PGA Tour. 2006. pp. 6–12.
- "U.S. Ryder Cup side named". The Bulletin. July 30, 1957. p. 10. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- Sommers, Robert (1996). The U.S. Open: Golf's Ultimate Challenge (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195100495.
- Litsky, Frank (September 3, 1998). "Cary Middlecoff, 77, Dentist Who Became Top Pro Golfer". The New York Times.
- Barkow, Al (November 1989). The History of the PGA TOUR. Copyright PGA Tour. Doubleday. p. 265. ISBN 0-385-26145-4.