Neil Coles

Neil Chapman Coles, MBE (born 26 September 1934) is an English professional golfer. Coles had a successful career in European golf, winning 29 important tournaments between 1956 and 1982. After reaching 50, he won a further 14 important Seniors tournaments between 1985 and 2002, winning his final European Seniors Tour event at the age of 67. He also played in eight Ryder Cup matches between 1961 and 1977.[1]

Neil Coles
MBE
Personal information
Full nameNeil Chapman Coles
Born (1934-09-26) 26 September 1934 (age 85)
London, England
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight182 lb (83 kg; 13.0 st)
Nationality England
ResidenceWalton-on-Thames, England
SpouseAnn
ChildrenKeith, Gary
Career
Turned professional1950
Former tour(s)European Tour
European Seniors Tour
Professional wins50
Number of wins by tour
European Tour7
European Senior Tour9
Other28 (regular)
6 (senior)
Best results in major championships
Masters TournamentWD: 1966
PGA ChampionshipDNP
U.S. OpenDNP
The Open ChampionshipT2: 1973
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame2000 (member page)
Harry Vardon Trophy1963, 1970

Early lifeEdit

Coles was born in London, England, and grew up in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. He started out as a junior golfer at Letchworth Golf Club.[2] A 16-handicapper when he turned professional at age 16, Coles was initially sponsored by his businessman father after a spell as an assistant club professional at Letchworth Golf Club and then at Coombe Hill Golf Club in Kingston, Surrey, under head professional and 1939 Open Champion Dick Burton. Thereafter, he spent all of his time practicing and playing, what he later called "the big turnaround in my life." By age 21 he was winning the Hertfordshire Open, beating, among others, nine-time Ryder Cup player Dai Rees.[3]

Playing careerEdit

While he never became one of the leading stars of global golf, and did not win a major championship, Coles was remarkable for his consistency, and even more for his durability. He was five times a top-ten finisher in the Open Championship, finishing third in 1961 and second in 1973, although arguably his closest chances came in 1970 (when he led after a first-round 65 and was only 3 off the lead going into the final round) and 1975 (where he followed second and third rounds of 69 and 67 with a 74 at Carnoustie, when a 70 would have earned him the Claret Jug). He led the British Order of Merit in both 1963 and 1970, and maintained a top-ten position in the Merit List for almost every year of the 1960s and 1970s. He was ranked 7th in the world on the inaugural Mark McCormack's world golf rankings in December 1968, a position he regained at the end of 1970. In 1982 at the age of 48 he won the Sanyo Open in Spain and held the distinction of being the oldest winner of a European Tour event for nearly 20 years.[1] Even at the peak of his career, he made few appearances in the United States because of his fear of flying.[4]

He accumulated a 5-6-4 singles record in eight Ryder Cup appearances, tied most singles points won in the Ryder Cup history, all his appearances in a winless period of time for the Great Britain/Ireland team, two of Coles' losses coming against Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino. He played in three Ryder Cups in the United States and went by boat to all three because of his fear of flying. During the 1967 matches, he bet Doug Sanders twice in the same day, on the Sanders home ground at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas. Billy Casper is another notable name on Coles' hit list, along with former Masters champion Tommy Aaron.[3]

He finished in the top ten on the European Seniors Tour's Order of Merit eight times between 1992 and 2000. Coles was the winner of the inaugural Senior British Open Championship.[5] In 2002, during which season he turned 68, he finished eleventh. In that year he won the Lawrence Batley Seniors at the age of 67 years and 276 days, beating his own record for the oldest winner of a European Seniors Tour event, set in 2000. He also had a third-place finish in 2003. His final win tally on the Senior Tour was nine. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000.

Coles was, since its inception in the 1980s, until November 2013, the chairman of the PGA European Tour's board of directors, when he was replaced by David Williams.[6] He is also a golf course architect designing courses such as Chartham Park.

Personal lifeEdit

Coles married Ann Keep, after growing up together in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. They had two sons, Keith and Gary. Ann died in 2015.[7] Gary was also a professional golfer and followed his father by winning the PGA Assistants' Championship in 1985, 29 years after his father.[1][8]

Professional wins (50)Edit

Great Britain and Ireland wins (22)Edit

Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
25 May 1956 Gor-Ray Cup 70-71-68-68=277 4 strokes   Peter Butler
26 May 1960 Coombe Hill Assistants' Tournament 66-70-71-73=280 1 stroke   Lionel Platts
7 Oct 1961 Ballantine Tournament 71-72-69-65=277 5 strokes   Ken Bousfield
22 Sep 1962 Senior Service Tournament 70-69-65-73=277 1 stroke   Denis Hutchinson,   Kel Nagle,
  Peter Thomson
4 May 1963 Martini International 74-74-71-79=298 Shared title with   Christy O'Connor Snr
15 Jun 1963 Daks Tournament 75-68-69-68=280 Shared title with   Peter Alliss
6 Jun 1964 Daks Tournament 67-74-73-68=282 1 stroke   Peter Thomson
30 Jun 1964 Bowmaker Tournament 68-68=136 1 stroke   Peter Alliss
5 Sep 1964 News of the World Match Play 3 & 2   Peter Butler
18 Jul 1965 Carroll's International 68-67-69-65=269 6 strokes   Tommy Horton,   Harry Weetman
5 Sep 1965 News of the World Match Play 19 holes   Lionel Platts
25 Jun 1966 Pringle of Scotland Tournament 69-67-69-68=273 3 strokes   Peter Alliss
17 Sep 1966 Dunlop Masters 70-69-70-69=278 1 stroke   Christy O'Connor Snr,   Peter Thomson
1969 Carlyon Bay Hotel Tournament[9]
6 Apr 1970 Walworth Aloyco Tournament 282 3 strokes   Christy O'Connor Snr,   Brian Huggett
30 May 1970 Daks Tournament 67-70-71-73=281 3 strokes   Peter Wilcock
30 Jun 1970 Bowmaker Tournament 66-66=132 3 strokes   Jimmy Hitchcock
16 Oct 1970 Carlyon Bay Hotel Tournament[10] 72-66-68-65=271 8 strokes   Tony Grubb
8 May 1971 Penfold-Bournemouth Tournament 71-74-69-70=284 4 strokes   Stuart Brown,   Gordon Cunningham,
  Doug Sewell,   Ronnie Shade
5 Jun 1971 Daks Tournament 70-71-70-73=284 Shared title with   Brian Huggett
20 Jun 1971 Carroll's International 69-67-72-68=276 3 strokes   Peter Oosterhuis
15 Oct 1971 Carlyon Bay Hotel Tournament[9] 70-77-67-70=284 6 strokes   John Garner

Continental Europe wins (3)Edit

Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
24 Aug 1963 Engadine Open 276 2 strokes   Stewart Davies,   Abdel Halim Kahoul
29 Mar 1970 Italian BP Open 69-73-72-68=282 3 strokes   Valentín Barrios
25 Jul 1971 German Open 69-71-71-68=279 4 strokes   Peter Thomson

European Tour wins (7)Edit

Legend
Penfold PGA Championships (1)
Other European Tour (6)
No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 1 Jul 1972 Sunbeam Electric Scottish Open −5 (72-72-70-69=283) Playoff   Brian Huggett
2 14 Apr 1973 Spanish Open −6 (67-71-72-72=282) 3 strokes   Tienie Britz,   Craig Defoy
3 26 May 1973 Benson & Hedges Match Play Championship 2 up   Doug McClelland
4 21 Sep 1974 W.D. & H.O. Wills Tournament −5 (68-69-73-73=283) 1 stroke   Jack Newton
5 31 May 1976 Penfold PGA Championship E (70-69-71-70=280) Playoff   Eamonn Darcy,   Gary Player
6 10 Sep 1977 Tournament Players Championship −4 (76-70-73-69=288) 1 stroke   Peter Dawson
7 10 Oct 1982 Sanyo Open −14 (71-67-64-64=266) 1 stroke   Gary Cullen

European Tour playoff record (2–1)

No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1972 Sunbeam Electric Scottish Open   Brian Huggett Won on second extra hole
2 1976 Penfold PGA Championship   Eamonn Darcy,   Gary Player Won with par on third extra hole
Player eliminated by par on first hole
3 1978 Benson & Hedges International Open   Noel Ratcliffe,   Lee Trevino Trevino won with par on fourth extra hole
Ratcliffe eliminated by par on first hole

Other wins (6)Edit

this list is incomplete

Senior Circuit wins (5)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner-up
1 28 Jul 1985 Trusthouse Forte PGA Seniors Championship −4 (72-67-70-75=284) 2 strokes   Christy O'Connor Snr
2 3 Aug 1986 Trusthouse Forte PGA Seniors Championship −4 (71-70-67-68=276) 1 stroke   Peter Butler
3 21 Jun 1987 Trusthouse Forte PGA Seniors Championship −13 (66-73-67-73=206) 4 strokes   Peter Thomson
4 26 Jul 1987 Seniors British Open −1 (66-73-67-73=279) 1 stroke   Bob Charles
5 18 Jun 1989 Trusthouse Forte PGA Seniors Championship +1 (71-66-72-68=277) 4 strokes   Peter Butler

European Senior Tour wins (9)Edit

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
1 4 Oct 1992 Collingtree Homes Seniors Classic +2 (72-72-74=218) 3 strokes   John Fourie,   Hugh Jackson
2 23 May 1993 Gary Player Seniors Classic E (76-66-71=213) 2 strokes   George Will
3 26 Aug 1995 Collingtree Seniors (2) −5 (71-72-68=211) 4 strokes   Brian Barnes
4 22 Jun 1997 Ryder Collingtree Seniors Classic (3) −8 (68-71-69=208) 7 strokes   Antonio Garrido,   Brian Waites
5 31 May 1998 Philips PFA Golf Classic −13 (67-69-67=203) Playoff   David Jones
6 1 Aug 1999 Energis Senior Masters −11 (68-69-68=205) 1 stroke   David Huish
7 22 Aug 1999 Dalmahoy Scottish Seniors Open −10 (69-68-69=206) 1 stroke   Jerry Bruner,   Jay Dolan
8 4 Jun 2000 Microlease Jersey Seniors Open −9 (66-71-70=207) 3 strokes   Jerry Bruner
9 29 Jun 2002 Lawrence Batley Seniors −4 (72-67-70=209) Playoff   David Creamer,   Steve Stull

Other senior wins (1)Edit

  • 1991 Léman International Senior Trophy

Results in major championshipsEdit

Tournament 1956 1957 1958 1959
Masters Tournament
The Open Championship CUT CUT T21
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament WD
The Open Championship CUT T3 T20 CUT T12 CUT T36 T6 T11
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament
The Open Championship T6 T22 CUT T2 T13 7 T28 T41 T48 WD
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985
Masters Tournament
The Open Championship T29 T39 T42 CUT CUT CUT

Note: Coles only played in the Masters Tournament and The Open Championship.

  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut (3rd round cut in 1972, 1983 and 1984 Open Championships)
WD = Withdrew
"T" indicates a tie for a place

SummaryEdit

Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
The Open Championship 0 1 1 2 5 11 27 18
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 0 1 1 2 5 11 28 18
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 6 (1973 Open Championship – 1978 Open Championship)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 1 (five times)

Team appearancesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "About us - Neil Coles MBE". Neil Coles and Associates. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Golf History". Letchworth Golf Club.
  3. ^ a b Huggan, John (25 September 2019). "The greatest golfer Americans have never heard of". Golf Digest.
  4. ^ "Old King Coles is a merry old soul". The Scotsman. 27 May 2007.
  5. ^ "Coles wins by one". The Vindicator. Associated Press. 27 July 1987. p. 14.
  6. ^ Carter, Iain (2 December 2013). "European Tour appoints first non-professional chairman". BBC Sport.
  7. ^ "Ann Coles: obituary". European Tour. 30 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Gary a chip off old Coles block". The Glasgow Herald. 17 August 1985. p. 19.
  9. ^ a b Ryde, Peter (18 October 1971). "Top prize to Coles for third time". The Times. p. 9. Retrieved 21 April 2020 – via The Times Digital Archive.
  10. ^ "Coles wins by 8 strokes". The Glasgow Herald. 19 October 1970. p. 5. Retrieved 21 April 2020 – via Google News Archive.

External linksEdit