Thomas Oliver Kite Jr. (born December 9, 1949) is an American professional golfer and golf course architect. He spent 175 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking between 1989 and 1994.
|Full name||Thomas Oliver Kite Jr.|
|Born||December 9, 1949|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight||170 lb (77 kg; 12 st)|
|College||University of Texas|
|Current tour(s)||PGA Tour Champions|
|Former tour(s)||PGA Tour|
|Number of wins by tour|
|PGA Tour Champions||10|
|Best results in major championships|
|Masters Tournament||2nd/T2: 1983, 1986, 1997|
|U.S. Open||Won: 1992|
|The Open Championship||T2: 1978|
|PGA Championship||T4: 1981, 1988|
|Achievements and awards|
|World Golf Hall of Fame||2004 (member page)|
leading money winner
|PGA Player of the Year||1989|
Player of the Year
|Vardon Trophy||1981, 1982|
|Byron Nelson Trophy||1981, 1982|
|Bob Jones Award||1979|
Kite was born in McKinney, Texas. He began playing golf at age six, and won his first tournament at age 11. Kite attended the University of Texas on a golf scholarship and was coached by Harvey Penick. He turned professional in 1972 and has been a consistent money winner ever since. Known for his innovation, he was the first to add a third wedge to his bag, one of the first players to use a sports psychologist, and one of the first to emphasize physical fitness for game improvement. He also underwent laser eye surgery, due to his partial blindness, in a bid to improve his game late in his career.
He has 19 PGA Tour victories, including the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He competed on seven Ryder Cup squads (1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1993) and served as the 1997 captain. Kite holds a unique record of making the cut for the first four U.S. Opens held at Pebble Beach: 1972, 1982, 1992, and 2000. Kite also shares the distinction (with Gene Littler) of playing in the most Masters Tournaments without a win.
In 1989 he was named PGA of America Player of the Year; in 1981 the Golf Writers Association Player of the Year, the Vardon Trophy winner in 1981 and 1982, Bob Jones Award recipient in 1979 and Golf Digest Rookie of the Year in 1973.
Kite was the first in Tour history to reach $6 million, $7 million, $8 million, and $9 million in career earnings. He was the Tour's leading money-winner in 1981 and 1989. In his prime Kite had few peers with the short irons. In 1993, Johnny Miller referred to Kite as "the greatest short-iron player the game has seen."
In 2005 he led the PGA Tour's Booz Allen Classic by one shot going into the final round at the age of 55. If he had been able to stay ahead he would have beaten Sam Snead's record as the oldest winner on the PGA Tour by three years, but he fell away to finish tied 13th, seven shots behind Sergio García.
Kite currently plays the over 50s Champions Tour, where he has ten victories including one senior major, The Countrywide Tradition. At the 2012 U.S. Senior Open, Kite shot a front nine 28 (seven under par) in the first round. This was the lowest nine-hole score ever recorded in any USGA championship. He finished the tournament tied for 12th.
Kite has added golf course designer to his résumé and has successfully completed several golf courses in collaboration with Bob Cupp, Randy Russell and Roy Bechtol. Completed golf courses include Coco Beach Resort in Puerto Rico (home of the Puerto Rico Open); Liberty National in Jersey City, New Jersey; Comanche Trace in Kerrville, Texas; Somersett Country Club in Reno, Nevada; Gaillardia Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and the Legends on LBJ in Kingsland, Texas.
Amateur wins (1)Edit
Professional wins (37)Edit
PGA Tour wins (19)Edit
|Major championships (1)|
|Players Championships (1)|
|Tour Championship (1)|
|Other PGA Tour (16)|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||Margin of
|1||Jun 6, 1976||IVB-Bicentennial Golf Classic||−7 (71-70-70-66=277)||Playoff||Terry Diehl|
|2||Sep 4, 1978||B.C. Open||−17 (66-65-68-68=267)||5 strokes||Mark Hayes|
|3||Mar 8, 1981||American Motors Inverrary Classic||−14 (69-68-68-69=274)||1 stroke||Jack Nicklaus|
|4||Mar 7, 1982||Bay Hill Classic||−6 (69-70-70-69=278)||Playoff||Jack Nicklaus, Denis Watson|
|5||Feb 6, 1983||Bing Crosby National Pro-Am||−12 (69-72-62-73=276)||2 strokes||Rex Caldwell, Calvin Peete|
|6||Mar 11, 1984||Doral-Eastern Open||−16 (68-69-70-65=272)||2 strokes||Jack Nicklaus|
|7||Jun 24, 1984||Georgia-Pacific Atlanta Golf Classic||−19 (69-67-66-67=269)||5 strokes||Don Pooley|
|8||May 5, 1985||MONY Tournament of Champions||−13 (64-72-70-69=275)||6 strokes||Mark McCumber|
|9||Aug 3, 1986||Western Open||−2 (70-75-73-68=286)||Playoff|| Fred Couples, David Frost,|
|10||Jun 7, 1987||Kemper Open||−14 (64-69-68-69=270)||7 strokes||Chris Perry, Howard Twitty|
|11||Mar 12, 1989||Nestle Invitational||−6 (68-72-67-71=278)||Playoff||Davis Love III|
|12||Mar 19, 1989||The Players Championship||−9 (69-70-69-71=279)||1 stroke||Chip Beck|
|13||Oct 29, 1989||Nabisco Championship||−8 (69-65-74-68=276)||Playoff||Payne Stewart|
|14||Aug 5, 1990||Federal Express St. Jude Classic||−15 (72-68-62-67=269)||Playoff||John Cook|
|15||Jan 6, 1991||Infiniti Tournament of Champions||−16 (68-67-68-69=272)||1 stroke||Lanny Wadkins|
|16||May 10, 1992||BellSouth Classic||−16 (70-65-72-65=272)||3 strokes||Jay Don Blake|
|17||Jun 21, 1992||U.S. Open||−3 (71-72-70-72=285)||2 strokes||Jeff Sluman|
|18||Feb 14, 1993||Bob Hope Chrysler Classic||−35 (67-67-64-65-62=325)||6 strokes||Rick Fehr|
|19||Feb 28, 1993||Nissan Los Angeles Open||−7 (73-66-67=206)||3 strokes|| Dave Barr, Fred Couples,|
Donnie Hammond, Payne Stewart
PGA Tour playoff record (6–4)
|1||1976||IVB-Bicentennial Golf Classic||Terry Diehl||Won with par on fifth extra hole|
|2||1982||Bob Hope Desert Classic||Ed Fiori||Lost to birdie on second extra hole|
|3||1982||Bay Hill Classic||Jack Nicklaus, Denis Watson||Won with birdie on first extra hole|
|4||1986||Western Open||Fred Couples, David Frost, Nick Price||Won with birdie on first extra hole|
|5||1988||Kemper Open||Morris Hatalsky||Lost to par on second extra hole|
|6||1988||Nabisco Championship||Curtis Strange||Lost to birdie on second extra hole|
|7||1989||Nestle Invitational||Davis Love III||Won with par on second extra hole|
|8||1989||Nabisco Championship||Payne Stewart||Won with par on second extra hole|
|9||1990||Federal Express St. Jude Classic||John Cook||Won with birdie on first extra hole|
|10||1992||Bob Hope Chrysler Classic|| John Cook, Rick Fehr,
Mark O'Meara, Gene Sauers
|Cook won with eagle on fourth extra hole|
Fehr eliminated with birdie on second hole
Kite and O'Meara eliminated with birdie on first hole
European Tour wins (2)Edit
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||Margin of
|1||Sep 7, 1980||European Open||−8 (71-67-71-75=284)||1 stroke||Lon Hinkle, Leonard Thompson|
|2||Oct 13, 1996||Oki Pro-Am||−15 (71-68-64-70=273)||1 stroke||Ángel Cabrera|
Other wins (6)Edit
- 1974 City of Auckland Classic
- 1981 JCPenney Mixed Team Classic (with Beth Daniel)
- 1987 Kirin Cup (individual)
- 1992 Fred Meyer Challenge (with Billy Andrade), Franklin Funds Shark Shootout (with Davis Love III)
- 1996 Franklin Templeton Shark Shootout (with Jay Haas)
Champions Tour wins (10)Edit
|Champions Tour major championships (1)|
|Other Champions Tour (9)|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||Margin of
|1||Apr 2, 2000||The Countrywide Tradition||−8 (68-70-71-71=280)||Playoff||Larry Nelson, Tom Watson|
|2||Jun 11, 2000||SBC Senior Open||−9 (71-68-68=207)||2 strokes||Bruce Fleisher|
|3||Sep 30, 2001||Gold Rush Classic||−22 (65-62-67=194)||1 stroke||Allen Doyle|
|4||Jan 20, 2002||MasterCard Championship||−17 (63-69-67=199)||6 strokes||John Jacobs|
|5||Mar 3, 2002||SBC Senior Classic||−4 (74-69-69=212)||Playoff||Tom Watson|
|6||Oct 13, 2002||Napa Valley Championship||−12 (66-66-72=204)||1 stroke||Bruce Fleisher, Fred Gibson|
|7||Aug 8, 2004||3M Championship||−13 (65-69-69=203)||1 stroke||Craig Stadler|
|8||Mar 12, 2006||AT&T Classic||−12 (70-64-70=204)||5 strokes||Gil Morgan|
|9||Aug 20, 2006||Boeing Greater Seattle Classic||−15 (71-64-66=201)||Playoff||Keith Fergus|
|10||Aug 24, 2008||Boeing Classic||−14 (69-67-66=202)||2 strokes||Scott Simpson|
Champions Tour playoff record (3–2)
|1||2000||The Countrywide Tradition||Larry Nelson, Tom Watson||Won with birdie on sixth extra hole|
Nelson eliminated with par on second hole
|2||2002||SBC Senior Classic||Tom Watson||Won with par on second extra hole|
|3||2006||Boeing Greater Seattle Classic||Keith Fergus||Won with birdie on first extra hole|
|4||2007||Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf||Jay Haas||Lost to par on first extra hole|
|5||2008||ACE Group Classic||Brad Bryant, Scott Hoch, Tom Jenkins||Hoch won with birdie on first extra hole|
|Year||Championship||54 holes||Winning score||Margin||Runner-up|
|1992||U.S. Open||1 shot deficit||−3 (71-72-70-72=285)||2 strokes||Jeff Sluman|
|The Open Championship||T5||T2||T30|
|The Open Championship||T27||CUT||T29||T22||T8||CUT||T72||T20||T19|
|The Open Championship||CUT||T44||T19||T14||T8||T58||T27||T10||T38|
|The Open Championship||T70|
CUT = missed the halfway cut (3rd round cut in 1982 Open Championship)
"T" indicates a tie for a place.
|The Open Championship||0||1||0||2||5||10||22||19|
- Most consecutive cuts made – 15 (1986 PGA – 1990 U.S. Open)
- Longest streak of top-10s – 2 (four times)
Senior major championshipsEdit
|2000||The Countrywide Tradition||−8 (66-71-71-72=280)||Playoff1||Larry Nelson, Tom Watson|
1Kite won with birdie on sixth extra hole; Nelson eliminated with par on second hole
Results not in chronological order before 2017.
|Senior PGA Championship||T2||T23||T15||T10||T121||T10||T40||T7||T13||T14|
|U.S. Senior Open||3||15||3||T12||T3||T37||T55||T22||T12||CUT|
|Senior Players Championship||6||T10||T10||T2||T7||T39||T9||T25||T21||T47|
|Senior British Open Championship||–||–||–||4||T2||CUT||T10||T10||T16||T8|
|Senior PGA Championship||T29||CUT||CUT||T28||CUT||CUT||CUT||CUT||CUT|
|U.S. Senior Open||T8||T29||T12||T44||T14||CUT||CUT|
|Senior Players Championship||T16||T17||52||T27||79||WD||74||76|
|Senior British Open Championship||T49||T24||T14|
Note: The Senior British Open was not a Champions Tour major until 2003.
CUT = missed the halfway cut
WD = withdrew
"T" indicates a tie for a place
U.S. national team appearancesEdit
- Ryder Cup: 1979 (winners), 1981 (winners), 1983 (winners), 1985, 1987, 1989 (tie), 1993 (winners), 1997 (captain)
- World Cup: 1984, 1985
- Four Tours World Championship: 1987 (winners), 1989 (winners)
- Dunhill Cup: 1989 (winners), 1990, 1992, 1994
- Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge (representing Champions Tour): 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006
- UBS Cup: 2002 (winners), 2004 (winners)
- "69 Players Who Have Reached The Top-10 In World Ranking" (PDF). Official World Golf Ranking. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
- "Surgery has opened up a whole new world to Kite". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on October 10, 2011.
- "Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of the Master's". MSNBC. Associated Press. April 3, 2009. Archived from the original on October 11, 2012.
- "Short-iron specialist Kite surges past the $8m mark". The Herald. March 1, 1993. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Kupelian, Vartan (July 12, 2012). "Kite rewrites USGA record books with front-nine 28". PGA Tour. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
- "2012 USGA Media Guide: USGA Superlatives" (PDF). USGA. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 21, 2013. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- "Which players will reach the HOF?". ESPN. April 18, 2007.
- Arkush, Michael (April 3, 2000). "Kite Wins in 6th Hole of Playoff". The New York Times.