Dave Hill (golfer)

James David Hill (May 20, 1937 – September 27, 2011) was an American professional golfer. He was the brother of Mike Hill who was also a professional golfer.

Dave Hill
Golfer Dave Hill 1973.jpg
Hill in 1973
Personal information
Full nameJames David Hill
Born(1937-05-20)May 20, 1937
Jackson, Michigan
DiedSeptember 27, 2011(2011-09-27) (aged 74)
Jackson, Michigan
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight145 lb (66 kg; 10.4 st)
Sporting nationality United States
CollegeUniversity of Detroit
Turned professional1958
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Champions Tour
Professional wins25
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour13
PGA Tour Champions6
Best results in major championships
Masters TournamentT5: 1970
PGA ChampionshipT3: 1974
U.S. Open2nd: 1970
The Open ChampionshipT18: 1973
Achievements and awards
Vardon Trophy1969

Professional careerEdit

Hill was born in Jackson, Michigan. He attended the University of Detroit, where he played on the golf team. Hill won 13 times on the PGA Tour, three of which came during his career year of 1969, when he also won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average. He was a member of the United States Ryder Cup team in 1969, 1973, and 1977.

Hill was known for his quick wit and biting sarcasm, and was sometimes referred to as "the Don Rickles of the golf tour".[1] He frequently led the tour in fines and was once suspended for two months after he deliberately broke his putter on national television.[2] At the 1966 Thunderbird Classic, Hill signed his second round scorecard that included a score of 108 on the 18th hole.[3] Hill played in the acrimonious 1969 Ryder Cup that ended in a 16-16 tie when Jack Nicklaus made his famous "concession" of a short but missable putt to Tony Jacklin on the 18th green in the final match.

In 1970, Hill had his best finish in a major championship. He finished in solo second place at the 1970 U.S. Open played at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota.[4]

In 1987, Hill joined the Senior PGA Tour (now the Champions Tour). He won six tournaments on that tour. Hill had a cameo appearance in the movie, Now You See Him, Now You Don't.


Hill finished runner-up at the 1970 U.S. Open. What gained him the most notoriety, though, was not his excellent play but his criticisms of the golf course. In the middle of the championship, before the third round, Hill was fined $150 by Joe Dey Jr., commissioner of the Tournament Players Division of the PGA of America, for "criticism that tends to ridicule and demean the club".[5]

When first asked what he thought of the golf course, he said "I'm still looking for it". When asked what Hazeltine needed, he retorted, "Hazeltine really did lack only 80 acres of corn and a few cows. They ruined a good farm when they built this course".[1] Hill was far from alone among the pros in his criticism of Hazeltine, which had to be extensively redesigned before getting a chance to host another men's major, again the U.S. Open, in 1991. Afterward, Hill claimed to have paid a farmer cash to borrow his tractor.[6] If he had won the 1970 U.S. Open, Hill planned to ride the tractor out onto the golf course as he hoisted the trophy.

Another controversy involving Hill started in 1971. At the 1971 Colonial National Invitation, Hill shot rounds of 77-85 to miss the cut. On his last hole, Hill threw a ball out of a sand trap.[7] Hill was disqualified but it was for his signing a scorecard with an incorrect score on it.[8] When Hill went to play in his next tournament, the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic, Hill was told he was being fined $500 for conduct unbecoming a professional golfer.[9] Hill was required to pay the fine before teeing it up in the tournament. He did so but less than a week later, Hill filed a one-million dollar anti-trust suit against the PGA Tour.[10] In response, the tour put Hill on probation for one year.[11] Hill then increased the amount of damages he was seeking to three-million dollars.[12] The litigation was resolved out of court in less than a year and Hill was taken off probation.[13]

Late in 1971 Hill played some events in Australia. He had a "series of verbal clashes" with Australian golfer Peter Thomson at the Wills Masters. The following week Hill and Thomson played the Australian Open and were paired together in the first round. The "cold war" between the two players continued as neither offered to shake the other man's hand at the beginning of the round. Through the round both did not communicate much to each other but did occasionally congratulate the other golfer when he hit a good shot.[14]

At the 1991 Transamerica Senior Golf Championship, Hill got into a fight on the driving range with J. C. Snead.[15] Snead was hitting shots across the range, the balls rolling near a spot where Hill was practicing. Hill yelled at Snead, then grabbed a club and came after his much bigger adversary. After punching and wrestling their way to the ground, they were separated by other players and caddies.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Hill died on September 27, 2011 in Jackson, Michigan after spending the last few years of his life battling emphysema.[16][17]

Professional wins (24)Edit

PGA Tour wins (13)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 Feb 19, 1961 Home of the Sun Open −11 (69-66-69-65=269) Playoff   Tommy Bolt,   Bud Sullivan
2 Sep 10, 1961 Denver Open Invitational −21 (63-64-67-69=263) 6 strokes   Bob Goalby,   Art Wall Jr.
3 Jul 14, 1963 Hot Springs Open Invitational −11 (69-70-70-68=277) Playoff   Mike Souchak
4 Jun 4, 1967 Memphis Open Invitational −8 (65-66-68-73=272) 2 strokes   Johnny Pott
5 Jun 1, 1969 Memphis Open Invitational (2) −15 (67-67-66-65=265) 2 strokes   Lee Elder
6 Jul 6, 1969 Buick Open Invitational −11 (68-68-71-70=277) 2 strokes   Frank Beard
7 Jul 20, 1969 IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic −9 (71-71-68-69=279) Playoff   Gay Brewer,   Tommy Jacobs,
  R. H. Sikes
8 May 31, 1970 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic (3) −13 (63-69-67-68=267) 3 strokes   Frank Beard,   Homero Blancas,
  Bob Charles
9 Apr 16, 1972 Monsanto Open −13 (64-68-68-71=271) 1 stroke   Jerry Heard
10 May 20, 1973 Danny Thomas Memphis Classic (4) −5 (68-69-74-72=283) 1 stroke   Allen Miller,   Lee Trevino
11 May 12, 1974 Houston Open −12 (70-67-74-65=276) 1 stroke   Rod Curl,   Steve Melnyk,
  Andy North
12 Sep 28, 1975 Sahara Invitational −14 (68-66-67-69=270) Playoff   Rik Massengale
13 Jul 4, 1976 Greater Milwaukee Open −18 (66-67-68-69=270) 3 strokes   John Jacobs

PGA Tour playoff record (4–2)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1961 Home of the Sun Open   Tommy Bolt,   Bud Sullivan Won with birdie on third extra hole
2 1963 Hot Springs Open Invitational   Mike Souchak Won with par on second extra hole
3 1969 IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic   Gay Brewer,   Tommy Jacobs,
  R. H. Sikes
Won with birdie on first extra hole
4 1969 Greater Hartford Open   Bob Lunn Lost to birdie on fourth extra hole
5 1972 Glen Campbell-Los Angeles Open   Tommy Aaron,   George Archer Archer won 18-hole playoff;
Archer: −5 (66),
Aaron: −3 (68),
Hill: −3 (68)
6 1975 Sahara Invitational   Rik Massengale Won with par on first extra hole

Other wins (5)Edit

this list may be incomplete

Senior PGA Tour wins (6)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 Nov 22, 1987 Fairfield Barnett Senior Classic −14 (68-66-68=202) 5 strokes   Lee Elder,   Al Geiberger
2 Jan 17, 1988 MONY Senior Tournament of Champions −5 (68-72-71=211)* 1 stroke   Miller Barber,   Al Geiberger
3 Aug 14, 1988 MONY Syracuse Senior Classic −16 (68-64-68=206) 5 strokes   Butch Baird,   Bobby Nichols
4 Sep 25, 1988 PaineWebber Invitational −10 (68-68-70=206) 1 stroke   Bruce Crampton
5 May 14, 1989 Bell Atlantic/St. Christopher's Classic −4 (72-68-66=206) Playoff   Chi-Chi Rodríguez
6 Aug 13, 1989 Rancho Murieta Senior Gold Rush −11 (69-70-68=207) 1 stroke   Orville Moody

*Note: The 1988 MONY Senior Tournament of Champions was shortened to 54 holes due to weather.

Senior PGA Tour playoff record (1–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1989 GTE Suncoast Classic   Bob Charles,   Jim Ferree,
  Harold Henning
Charles won with birdie on third extra hole
Hill and Ferree eliminated by birdie on first hole
2 1989 Bell Atlantic/St. Christopher's Classic   Chi-Chi Rodríguez Won with par on third extra hole

Other senior wins (1)Edit

Results in major championshipsEdit

Tournament 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament T50 T24
U.S. Open T51 WD CUT T22 T18 T16 T13
The Open Championship
PGA Championship CUT T17 CUT T11 T17 T15
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament T5 T27 CUT T37 T11 7 T15 T39 T45 CUT
U.S. Open 2 CUT T29 CUT CUT
The Open Championship T18
PGA Championship T68 T6 WD CUT T3 T7 T22 T48 T50
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut (3rd round cut in 1964 PGA Championship)
WD = withdrew
"T" indicates a tie for a place


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 1 2 5 12 10
U.S. Open 0 1 0 1 1 5 12 7
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
PGA Championship 0 0 1 1 3 8 15 11
Totals 0 1 1 3 6 19 40 29
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 1 (1966 U.S. Open – 1971 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 3 (1974 PGA – 1975 PGA)

Team appearancesEdit


  1. ^ a b Mulvoy, Mark (August 10, 1970). "Plain Words At Westchester". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  2. ^ Cope, Myron (May 10, 1971). "Often Bloody, But Uncowed". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  3. ^ "Hill's card reads 108 shots for 18th". St. Joseph News-Press. St. Joseph, Missouri. AP. August 13, 1966. p. 1B.
  4. ^ "Golf Major Championships".
  5. ^ a b Achenbach, James (October 24, 2011). "Dave Hill was unrestrained, true". Golfweek. Retrieved March 7, 2015.
  6. ^ Hill, Dave; Seitz, Nick (1977). Teed Off. Prentice-Hall. p. 108. ISBN 978-0139022470.
  7. ^ "Dave Hill Carries Squabble To Court". Florence Times–Tri-Cities Daily. Florence, Alabama. AP. May 29, 1971. p. 3.
  8. ^ "Hill disqualified". Wilmington Morning Star. Wilmington, North Carolina. UPI. May 22, 1971. p. 19.
  9. ^ "Hill pays fine, in Memphis field". Wilmington Morning Star. Wilmington, North Carolina. UPI. May 27, 1971. p. 3D.
  10. ^ "Dave Hill files $1 million damage suit". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Daytona Beach, Florida. AP. May 29, 1971. p. 17.
  11. ^ Green, Bob (June 3, 1971). "Hill Draws Year Probation". The Portsmouth Times. Portsmouth, Ohio. AP. p. 19.
  12. ^ "Courts, Etc". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. June 29, 1971. p. 3C.
  13. ^ "Hill: Tour Too Much So He's Making Few Tourneys". The Ledger. Lakeland, Florida. AP. January 16, 1972. p. 6B.
  14. ^ "Aussie Golf Lead Shared By Nicklaus". The Times Recorder. 1971-10-29. p. 12. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  15. ^ "Fists 'n' Fairways". Sports Illustrated. November 13, 2000.
  16. ^ "PGA Tour winner Dave Hill dies at 74". ESPN. AP. September 28, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  17. ^ Kalahar, Gary (September 28, 2011). "Jackson's PGA Tour star Dave Hill dies at age 74". Jackson Citizen Patriot. Jackson, Michigan. Retrieved September 29, 2011.

External linksEdit