Byron Nelson was born in 1912, he died in 2006. He lived a total of 94 years and yet one year stands out. 1945 was an incredible year for Byron Nelson and an incredible year for sport. Read on to find out why Tiger Woods has referred to it as “one of the greatest years in the history of sport”
1945 was wartime. Many able-bodied men were fighting in world war two and so to call this year a momentous occasion for sport seems strange. To many, it was a weak year as top players were away. However, in at least one sport this was not the case. Byron Nelson was one of the top pros at the time. Due to a strange blood condition he was excused from any military duty and continued to play golf, the other top players at the time Sam Snead and Ben Hogan also featured numerous times in that year.
In that year Byron Nelson set two records that have yet to be broken and may never be, he won 18 out of a total 35 PGA championships, including 11 in a row. Both records still remain undefeated. He also finished second 7 times that year showing just how much he dominated.
If you still think it was a lack of competition that allowed Nelson to reach such records then let’s look a little deeper at his stats. Nelson set a record for the scoring average on 18 holes at 68.33 that was only broken by Tiger Woods in 2000. He had a record score of 62 on one 18 hole course and a record 259 on a 72 hole course. The year is now known, without dispute, as the single greatest year of any player on the PGA tour with Arnold Palmer suggesting it will never be beaten.
Nelson was recently ranked as the fifth-greatest golfer of all time and would surely have been higher if he didn’t decide to retire early. Sam Snead and Ben Hogan were second and third respectively illustrating that if anything, Nelson was playing against the toughest competition of any golfer. His 1945 year was a standout among an illustrious career. The player was often known as Lord Byron in relation to the English poet and the incredible sportsmanship that he displayed on the fairways. An incredible athlete, an incredible man, and an incredible legacy. Byron died at the age of 94 and left the world wondering how it was all possible.