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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 20:17 GMT 21:17 UK
American golf legend Nelson dies
Byron Nelson
Nelson's feats are still revered by professional golfers
Byron Nelson, one of American golf's greatest players, has died at the age of 94 in his native Texas.

The five-time major winner is renowned for clinching 18 tour titles in 1945, including a record 11 events in a row.

Known as "Lord Byron" for his elegant swing and gentle manner, Nelson won 31 of the 54 tournaments he played in between 1944 and 1945.

He won 52 PGA Tour titles but stopped playing full time after the 1946 season to spend more time on his Texas ranch.

"When I was playing regularly, I had a goal," Nelson recalled years later.

"I could see the prize money going into the ranch, buying a tractor, or a cow. It gave me an incentive."

He was a legend who transcended generations and was loved and respected by everyone who knew him

PGA commissioner Tim Finchem on Byron Nelson

That goal pushed Nelson to become one of the best players of his era against the likes of Ben Hogan and Sam Snead.

He won the Masters in 1937 and 1942, the US Open in 1939 and the USPGA Championship in 1940 and 1945.

He also finished second once in the US Open, twice in the Masters and three times in the USPGA.

Nelson played in the Open Championship only twice, finishing fifth in 1937.

His second Open was in 1955 when he was no longer a serious competitor, although he managed to win the French Open on the same trip.

Nelson won the Ryder Cup with the US in 1937 and 1947, and also captained the victorious American team in 1965

Born on 4 February, 1912, on the family farm in Texas, he began caddying at the age of 10 at Glen Garden Country Club in Fort Worth.

He once won the club's caddies' title by defeating Hogan - also destined to be a golfing legend - in a play-off.

Nelson turned professional in 1932. His stroke average of 68.33 for the 1945 season is still the PGA Tour record.

His 52 Tour wins place him sixth on the all-time list behind Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods.

In 1968, the Dallas stop on the PGA Tour was renamed the Byron Nelson Classic and is now played as the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving.

Nelson's death - but not its cause - was confirmed by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office in Dallas.



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