As I have said on many occasions….every now and then a really special video rolls up in the queue to be posted that brings back awesome memories of days gone by….and this to those of us responsible for this ImaSportsphile site….and this is one of those….cuz this one is not only special because Ben Crenshaw is one of Austin’s very own….but also because Bone Daddy and Gentle Ben were both at the University of Texas in Austin at the same time…..as Crenshaw was a freshman….and BD was in his last semester as a 5th year senior.
Ben Crenshaw is a retired American professional golfer….who has won 19 events on the PGA Tour…. which included two major championships….with the Masters Tournament in 1984 and 1995…..which this video herewith salutes to theman nicknamed Gentle Ben.
Born in Austin, Texas, Crenshaw attended and played golf at Austin High School and the University of Texas….where he won three NCAA Championships from 1971 to 1973….as he was also a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity….and since Bone Daddy was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity….the two met on the intramural fields several times during 1971….as the Delts and Kappa Alphas were heavily involved in intramural sports….so, Bone Daddy followed Crenshaw’s PGA career from the start in 1973 to his retirement from the sport in 1995.
In 1973, Crenshaw became the 2nd player in Tour history to win the first event of his career….as this accomplishment was achieved earlier by Marty Fleckman (1967)….and later repeated by Jim Benepe (1988), Robert Gamez (1990), Garrett Willis (2001) and Russell Henley (2013). Following five runner-up finishes in major championships without a victory….including losing a sudden-death playoff for the 1979 PGA Championship….Gentle Ben won the 1984 Masters….when in 1985, he suffered from Graves’ disease, a disease of the thyroid….but he continued to accumulate victories….while finishing an outstanding career with 19 PGA Tour victories….including an emotional second Masters victory in 1995…. which came a week after the death of his mentor Harvey Penick.
In 1999, Ben Crenshaw was selected as captain of the United States Ryder Cup team for the matches at The Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts….when he was criticized from some quarters for his captaincy over the first two days as his team slipped to a 10-6 deficit….however, he was ultimately credited for providing the inspiration behind his side’s remarkable turnaround in the Sunday singles….as the U.S. won 8 ½ of the final day’s 12 points to regain the Cup.
Crenshaw won several professional events outside the PGA Tour….which included individual and team titles in the World Cup of Golf in 1988…..as he was among the top ten on McCormack’s World Golf Rankings from 1976 to 1981….and returned to spend 80 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking from 1987 to 1989. In 1987, he became one of the few players in history to finish in the top ten of all four major championships in the same season without winning any of them.
Crenshaw is widely regarded as one of the best putters in golf history….as his golf instructor and mentor while growing up, Harvey Penick, taught him a smooth, effortless stroke on the greens….which allowed him to master even the speediest of greens….especially those at Augusta National Golf Club….for when winning the Masters in 1995…“Gentle Ben” did not record a single three-putt during the tournament. The 2015 Masters was the 44th and final for Crenshaw.
To Bone Daddy and the rest of our ImaSportsphile crew…Gentle Ben Crenshaw is at the top of the heap of Austin and University of Texas sports icons along with Earl Campbell, Kevin Durant, Roger Clemens, Ricky Williams, Jill Sterkle, Tom Kite, Aaron Piersol, Jordan Speith, Rick Carey, T J Ford, Mary Lou Retton et al….for Ben Crenshaw is a beloved sports figure of the highest order in a place where super talent runs rampant.