Ben Crenshaw (1952 - )

Born Texas, USA, Crenshaw is rememberedBen Crenshaw as one of the outstanding American golfers of the modern era.

Crenshaw was introduced to golf by his scratch player father at the age of 6. From an early age he showed great talent with several wins as a junior amateur. He attended the University of Texas on a golf scholarship reading business administration and won the North American College Championship three times in a row from 1971. Inspired by those victories, he turned professional in 1973. Remarkably he won his first professional tournament, the San Antonio Texas Open. In 1974, he was voted Rookie of the Year. However, his early career was progressive than dynamic.

By 1976, Crenshaw achieved financial security by coming second on the money list. He made his Ryder Cup debut in 1981 and was selected a further three times. However, a professional must win a Major before he can claim to be a top class golfer. He was runner up in the Open in 1978 and 1979 and was a top finisher in the other Majors. This earned him the reputation of a man who loses it when victory in within his grasp. He eventually answered his critics by winning the US Masters in 1984.

His real ambition is to win the Open at St Andrews. He is a keen collector of golf memorabilia and a passionate golf historian. With his Masters victory, it seemed that he had finally arrived and shaken off his bad luck. Unfortunately in 1984, he had to deal with the emotional trauma of a divorce. The following year he was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid gland and spent the following year under treatment. He eventually recovered and has since reinstated himself as a consistent winner and top money earner.

Crenshaw is acknowledged as one of the finest putters in the history of the game. However, his form is not always consistent. One minute he is brilliant and the next terrible. He is the epitome of good behaviour and 'Gentle Ben' has endeared himself to golf fans everywhere. While he is a gentleman to everyone else, he is not shy about uttering a few expletives to himself under his breath after a poor performance.

He won his second Major, the US Masters, in 1995. It seems that his ambition to win the Open will forever remain beyond his grasp. Although still very active as a golfer, he is devoting more and more time to course design. However, he has been selected as non-playing captain of the 1999 US Ryder Cup squad.

Crenshaw personifies the best in professional golfers and will always be remembered for the gusto and passion which he brought to the game.

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