Leo Harvey Diegel (April 20, 1899 – May 5, 1951) was an American professional golfer of the 1920s and early 1930s. He captured consecutive PGA Championships, played on the first four Ryder Cup teams, and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
|Full name||Leo Harvey Diegel|
|Born||April 20, 1899|
Wayne County, Michigan
|Died||May 5, 1951 (aged 52)|
North Hollywood, California
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight||164 lb (74 kg; 11.7 st)|
|Spouse||Violet Bird Diegel|
(m.1934–1951, his death)
|Former tour(s)||PGA Tour|
|Number of wins by tour|
|Best results in major championships|
|Masters Tournament||T16: 1934|
|PGA Championship||Won: 1928, 1929|
|U.S. Open||T2: 1920|
|The Open Championship||T2: 1930|
|Achievements and awards|
Diegel was a runner-up in his first U.S. Open in 1920, one stroke behind champion Ted Ray. He won 28 PGA circuit events, and was a four-time winner of the Canadian Open (1924–25, 1928–29); a record for that event. In 1925, Diegel outperformed over 100 competitors to win the Florida Open (billed as the "Greatest Field Of Golfers Ever to Play in Florida") at the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club.
Diegel was selected for the first four Ryder Cup teams in 1927, 1929, 1931, and 1933. His greatest season was 1928, with wins at the Canadian Open and the match play PGA Championship, where he stopped the four-year winning streak of Walter Hagen. Diegel defeated him in the quarterfinal to avenge earlier defeats in the 1925 quarterfinal and the 1926 final. Diegel achieved the rare feat of defending both titles successfully in 1929, this time defeating Hagen in the semifinals of the PGA. Diegel was a runner-up to Bobby Jones at the British Open in 1930.
Diegel was an excellent ball-striker, but struggled with his putting after joining the tour. After extensive experimentation, he eventually developed an unusual putting style where he pointed both elbows outwards; this was referred to as 'Diegeling'. He was a tour winner from 1920 to 1934, but dropped out of regular contention when he reached his mid-30s; a playful wrestling incident in Australia in late 1934 with friend Harry Cooper caused nerve damage to his right shoulder and effectively ended his tour career.
Diagnosed with throat and lung cancer in 1947, Diegel died at home in North Hollywood, California in 1951 at age 52; he had taken a position there as a club professional after scaling back his Tour play. He was buried in Michigan at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Detroit.
Diegel was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.
Professional wins (36)Edit
PGA Tour wins (28)Edit
- 1920 (1) Pinehurst Fall Pro-Am Bestball (with Tommy Armour)
- 1921 (1) Coronado Beach Open
- 1922 (1) Shreveport Open
- 1923 (1) District of Columbia Open Championship
- 1924 (3) Shawnee Open, Canadian Open, Illinois Open
- 1925 (5) Florida Open, Canadian Open, Middle Atlantic Open, Mid South All Pro
- 1926 (1) Middle Atlantic Open
- 1927 (2) Middle Atlantic Open, San Diego Open
- 1928 (4) Long Beach Open (January; tie with Bill Mehlhorn), Canadian Open, PGA Championship, Massachusetts Open
- 1929 (4) San Diego Open, Miami International Four-Ball (with Walter Hagen), Canadian Open, PGA Championship
- 1930 (3) Pacific Southwest Pro, Oregon Open, San Francisco National Match Play Open
- 1933 (1) California Open
- 1934 (2) Rochester Open, New England PGA
Major championships are shown in bold.
Note: The PGA Tour and World Golf Hall of Fame list Diegel with 28 official wins. The PGA Tour book History of the PGA Tour lists 29 wins, and includes the 1925 Mid-Southern Amateur-Professional listed below.
Other wins (8)Edit
Note: This list may be incomplete.
|1928||PGA Championship||6 & 5||Al Espinosa|
|1929||PGA Championship||6 & 4||Johnny Farrell|
|The Open Championship||T25||3|
|The Open Championship||T2||T3|
NYF = Tournament not yet founded
DNQ = Did not qualify for match play portion
CUT = missed the half-way cut
R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in PGA Championship match play
"T" indicates a tie for a place
|The Open Championship||0||1||2||3||3||4||4||4|
- Most consecutive cuts made – 31 (1920 U.S. Open – 1935 Masters)
- Longest streak of top-10s – 4 (twice)
- "Golfer Leo Diegel dies after lingering illness". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. May 9, 1951. p. 6-part 2.
- "Another prize for golf pro". Florence Times. Alabama. February 22, 1934. p. 6.
- Trenham, Peter C. "The Leaders and The Legends: 1930 to 1939" (PDF). PGA: Philadelphia Section. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
- "Michigan, Births, 1867–1902". familysearch.org.
- "Local golfer wins from New Yorker". Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. Associated Press. September 27, 1926. p. 8.
- Rawles, Wallace N. (January 13, 1936). "Wrestling injury forces Leo Diegel to quit pro golf". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah. INS. p. 9.
- "Leo Diegel dies of long illness". Miami Daily News. Associated Press. May 9, 1951. p. 13-A. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
- "Most career wins (top 50)". PGA Tour. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
- "World Golf Hall of Fame profile". Retrieved June 16, 2014.
- Barkow, Al (1989). The History of the PGA Tour. Doubleday. p. 276. ISBN 0-385-26145-4.
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