Gary Koch

Gary D. Koch (born November 21, 1952) is an American professional golfer, sportscaster and golf course designer, who formerly played on the PGA Tour, Nationwide Tour and Champions Tour.

Gary Koch
Personal information
Full nameGary D. Koch
Born (1952-11-21) November 21, 1952 (age 67)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight170 lb (77 kg; 12 st)
Nationality United States
ResidenceTampa, Florida
CollegeUniversity of Florida
Turned professional1975
Current tour(s)Champions Tour
Former tour(s)PGA Tour
Professional wins10
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour6
Best results in major championships
Masters TournamentT16: 1985, 1986
PGA ChampionshipT10: 1979
U.S. OpenT6: 1982
The Open ChampionshipT4: 1988

Early yearsEdit

Koch was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1952, and raised in Florida. He won the Florida Open in 1969 as an amateur at the age of 16. He won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 1970.[1] He attended C. Leon King High School in Tampa, Florida. The 1969 King High golf team consisting of Koch, Eddie Pearce, Brian Hawke and Phil Reid won the Florida high school title setting a scoring record that stood for thirty years.

College careerEdit

Koch accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he became a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity (Florida Upsilon Chapter). While he was an undergraduate, Koch played for coach Buster Bishop's Florida Gators men's golf team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition from 1971 to 1974.[2] As a Gator golfer, he was a four-time first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection, and a three-time All-American.[2][3] He was also a member of the Gators teams that won SEC championships in 1973 and 1974 and an NCAA Championship in 1973.[4] Individually, he was a two-time medalist in the SEC tournament (1973, 1974), and the runner-up behind Ben Crenshaw at the 1973 NCAA championship tournament.[2] His Gators teammates included fellow future PGA Tour professionals Woody Blackburn, Andy Bean, Phil Hancock and Andy North.[2] Koch graduated from Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1976, and was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 1978.[5][6]

Professional careerEdit

Koch turned professional in 1975, and won six events as a professional on the PGA Tour during the 1970s and 1980s. His career year in professional golf came in 1984 when he finished seventeenth on the money list and captured two titles: the Isuzu-Andy Williams San Diego Open and the Bay Hill Classic.

In preparation for play on the Champions Tour, Koch played some on the Nationwide Tour in his late 40s. After turning 50 in November 2002, he began play on the Champions Tour. His best finish in this venue was a tie for second at both the ACE Group Classic and Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf in 2004.

Post-professional careerEdit

Koch's career as a sportscaster began in 1990 with ESPN working Champions Tour telecasts. Before the end of the decade, he joined NBC Sports. A long-time member of the NBC Sports announcing team (1996–present), he is mostly known for his "Better than Most"[7] call in the third round of the 2001 Players Championship at the TPC at Sawgrass. Three down from leader Jerry Kelly, Tiger Woods was facing a long, triple-breaking, fringe putt for birdie on the 17th hole's famous Island Green. Koch's call of that putt has gone down as one of the most famous in golf history as it was during the height of Tiger's dominance, on an iconic hole of a well-known course, on the way to an inevitable, yet routine Woods comeback to win the tournament.

Koch also maintains an interest in golf course design and helped design the front nine of "The Forest" course at The Eagles Golf Course in Odessa, Florida. Koch was inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.[8] Koch currently resides in Tampa, Florida.

Amateur winsEdit

this list may be incomplete

Professional wins (10)Edit

PGA Tour wins (6)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score To par Margin of
1 Apr 18, 1976 Tallahassee Open 71-69-67-70=277 −11 1 stroke   John Mahaffey
2 Mar 7, 1977 Florida Citrus Open 70-69-65-70=274 −14 2 strokes   Dale Hayes,   Joe Inman
3 Feb 27, 1983 Doral-Eastern Open 69-67-65-70=271 −17 5 strokes   Ed Fiori
4 Jan 29, 1984 Isuzu-Andy Williams San Diego Open 68-70-69-65=272 −16 Playoff   Gary Hallberg
5 Mar 18, 1984 Bay Hill Classic 69-68-72-63=272 −12 Playoff   George Burns
6 May 8, 1988 Panasonic Las Vegas Invitational 68-73-66-67=274* −14 1 stroke   Peter Jacobsen,   Mark O'Meara

*Note: The 1988 Panasonic Las Vegas Invitational was shortened to 72 holes due to weather.

PGA Tour playoff record (2–0)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 1984 Isuzu-Andy Williams San Diego Open   Gary Hallberg Won with birdie on second extra hole
2 1984 Bay Hill Classic   George Burns Won with birdie on second extra hole

Other wins (1)Edit

Senior wins (3)Edit

Playoff recordEdit

Japan Golf Tour playoff record (0–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent Result
1 1984 Casio World Open   Sandy Lyle Lost to birdie on first extra hole

Champions Tour playoff record (0–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponents Result
1 2004 Vintage ARCO Invitational   Craig Stadler,   Tom Watson Stadler won with birdie on first extra hole

Results in major championshipsEdit

Tournament 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament CUT CUT T42
U.S. Open 57 CUT CUT CUT
The Open Championship CUT
PGA Championship CUT CUT T64 T10
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
Masters Tournament CUT T35 T16 T16 T22 T25 CUT
The Open Championship T14 T60 T11 T6 T4 T30
PGA Championship T46 CUT T54 CUT 66 T31 T61
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Masters Tournament
The Open Championship
PGA Championship
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut
"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 0 0 4 10 6
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 1 3 16 5
The Open Championship 0 0 0 1 2 4 7 6
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 1 1 11 7
Totals 0 0 0 1 4 12 44 24
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 5 (twice)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 1 (four times)

U.S. national team appearancesEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Associated Press, "Koch Ousts Champ in Junior Amateur," St. Petersburg Times, p. 2C (August 1, 1970). Retrieved April 20, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Florida Men's Golf 2011 Media Supplement Archived April 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 34, 35, 37, 39, 41 (2010). Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  3. ^ 2008–09 Florida Gators Men's Golf Media Guide Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, p. 36 (2008). Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  4. ^ Robbie Andreu, "Top 25 Gator teams: #8 1973 Men's golf," Gainesville Sun (June 18, 2009). Retrieved April 20, 2010.
  5. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
  6. ^ "Bean And Koch Inducted," The Ledger, p. 1D (March 30, 1978). Retrieved June 23, 2010.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Cozart, Koch among 2012 Florida sports hall inductees". January 24, 2012. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2012.

External linksEdit