Horton Smith

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Horton Smith
— Golfer —
Smith (right) with Walter Hagen
Personal information
Nickname The Joplin Ghost
Born (1908-05-22)May 22, 1908
Springfield, Missouri
Died October 15, 1963(1963-10-15) (aged 55)
Detroit, Michigan
Nationality  United States
College State Teacher's College (Springfield, Missouri)
Turned professional 1926
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
Professional wins 36
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 32
Other 4
Best results in major championships
(wins: 2)
Masters Tournament Won: 1934, 1936
U.S. Open 3rd: 1930, 1940
The Open Championship T4: 1930
PGA Championship T3: 1928
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 1990 (member page)
PGA Tour
leading money winner
Bob Jones Award 1962

Horton Smith (May 22, 1908 – October 15, 1963) was an American professional golfer, best known as the winner of the first and third Masters Tournaments.

Tournament career

Born in Springfield, Missouri, Smith turned professional in 1926 and won his first tournament, the Oklahoma City Open in 1928. In 1929 he won eight titles. This was an era of expansion and reorganization for professional golf. The PGA Tour was founded in 1934, and Smith was one of the leading players of the early years of the tour, topping the money list in 1936. He accumulated 32 PGA Tour titles in total, the last of them in 1941, and his two major championships came at the Masters, at the inaugural tournament in 1934 and again in 1936.[1][2] Smith was a member of five Ryder Cup teams: 1929, 1931, 1933, 1935, and 1937. His career Ryder Cup record was 3–0–1, his only blemish a halved singles match against Bill Cox in 1935 at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey. Smith was the only golfer to defeat Bobby Jones during the latter's Grand Slam year of 1930, at the stroke play Savannah Open in February.[1][3] He played in every Masters through 1963, the year of his death.[4]

Post-playing career

Smith served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II,[5] served in the special services division coordinating athletics,[6] and was discharged as a captain.[7] After the war, he became the club pro at Detroit Golf Club in Michigan in 1946, where he remained until his death.[8] He was president of the PGA of America from 1952 to 1954, during which time he conspired to prevent the inclusion of black golfers into PGA events.[9] When he resigned as head professional of Oak Park Country Club in River Grove, Illinois, in 1936, his older brother Renshaw (1906–1971) replaced him at the club.


Smith died in 1963 at age 55 of Hodgkin's Disease in Detroit. He had lost a lung to cancer six years earlier,[4] and is buried in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri.

Awards and honors

  • Smith was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1990.
  • In 1960, awarded the Ben Hogan Award by the golf writers for overcoming a physical handicap and continued active participation in golf.[10]
  • In 1962, he was voted the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
  • The PGA of America annually grants the Horton Smith Award to a PGA professional who has made "outstanding and continuing contributions to PGA education."[11]
  • A municipal golf course in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri, is named for him.[12]
  • A golf tournament at the Detroit Golf Club is named for him.[13]
  • He is attributed with being the first professional golfer to study putting as a means to beat his opponents.[14]
  • In September 2013, Horton's green jacket, awarded in 1949 for his Masters wins in 1934 and 1936, sold at auction for over $682,000; the highest price ever paid for a piece of golf memorabilia.[15][16] It had been in the possession of his brother Ren's stepsons for decades.[17]

Professional wins

PGA Tour wins (32)

(missing two wins)

Major championships are shown in bold.


Other wins

this list is probably incomplete

Major championships

Wins (2)

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1934 Masters Tournament 1 shot lead −4 (70-72-70-72=284) 1 stroke United States Craig Wood
1936 Masters Tournament (2) 3 shot deficit −3 (74-71-68-72=285) 1 stroke United States Harry Cooper

Results timeline

Tournament 1927 1928 1929
Masters Tournament NYF NYF NYF
U.S. Open T44 T28 10
The Open Championship DNP DNP T24
PGA Championship DNP SF R32
Tournament 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
Masters Tournament NYF NYF NYF NYF 1 T19 1 T19 T22 T26
U.S. Open 3 T27 T55 T24 T17 T6 T22 T36 T19 15
The Open Championship T4 T12 DNP T12 DNP DNP DNP 10 DNP DNP
PGA Championship QF QF R32 R32 DNP QF QF R16 QF QF
Tournament 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
Masters Tournament T47 T19 5 NT NT NT T21 T22 34 T23
U.S. Open 3 T13 NT NT NT NT CUT WD CUT T23
The Open Championship NT NT NT NT NT NT DNP DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship R64 R16 DNP NT DNP DNP DNP DNP R64 R32
Tournament 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
Masters Tournament T12 T32 T30 T46 T38 T59 76 CUT CUT CUT
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963
Masters Tournament CUT CUT CUT CUT
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP

NYF = Tournament not yet founded
NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
WD = Withdrew
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
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 2 0 0 3 3 11 27 20
U.S. Open 0 0 2 2 4 12 23 17
The Open Championship 0 0 0 1 2 5 5 5
PGA Championship 0 0 1 7 10 14 17 17
Totals 2 0 3 13 19 42 72 59
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 43 (1927 U.S. Open – 1946 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 3 (twice)

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "1934: Horton Smith wins first Masters Tournament". Augusta.com. March 21, 2012. Retrieved April 17, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Gould, Alan (April 7, 1936). "Horton Smith wins Augusta golf title". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. p. 10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Erwin, Robert A. (February 23, 1930). "Horton Smith beats Bobby Jones by one stroke in tourney". Palm Beach News. United Press. p. 5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Ex-Masters king Horton Smith dies". Palm Beach Post. Associated Press. October 16, 1963. p. 15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Martin, Whitney (December 28, 1942). "Horton Smith now hears putt-putt instead of putt". St. Petersburg Times. Associated Press. p. 10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Lt. Horton Smith given army athletic posts". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. November 6, 1944. p. 6, part 2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "No Ryder Cup match until '47, says Smith". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. November 13, 1945. p. 2, final.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Hall of fame golfer, Horton Smith, dies at 55". Miami News. Associated Press. October 15, 1963. p. 2B.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Yahoo Eurosport. "On This Day in 1961: PGA lifts ban on non-white players". Yahoo News. https://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/bunker-mentality/day-1961-pga-lifts-ban-non-white-players-074304010.html
  10. "Horton Smith wins Ben Hogan Award". Ludington (MI) Daily News. Associated Press. December 28, 1960. p. 7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Horton Smith Award". PGA of America. Retrieved April 17, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Horton Smith Municipal Golf Course". Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Retrieved April 17, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Horton Smith". Detroit Golf Club. Retrieved April 17, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Mickelson, Paul (June 7, 1934). "Secret of touch in putting given by Horton Smith". St. Petersburg Independent. Associated Press. p. 4A.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Harig, Bob (September 9, 2013). "Green jacket nets $682K at auction". ESPN. Retrieved September 15, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "1934 & 1936 Masters Champion Horton Smith's Green Jacket". Green Jacket Auctions. Retrieved April 17, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Kindred, Dave (August 2013). "The case of the missing green jacket". Golf Digest. Retrieved April 17, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Barkow, Al (1989). The History of the PGA TOUR. Copyright PGA Tour. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-26145-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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