Ben Daniel Crenshaw (born January 11, 1952) is a retired American professional golfer….who has won 19 events on the PGA Tour….including two Masters Tournament in 1984 and 1995. He is nicknamed Gentle Ben.
Born in Austin, Texas, Crenshaw attended and played golf at Austin High School and the University of Texas…..where along with teammate Tom Kite, their team won three NCAA Championships from 1971 to 1973. He turned professional in 1973….only to become only the second player in PGA Tour history to win the first event of his career….an accomplishment which was achieved earlier by Marty Fleckman in 1967…. and later repeated by Jim Benepe in 1988, Robert Gamez in 1990, Garrett Willis in 2001….and Russell Henley in 2013. Following five runner-up finishes in major championships without a victory….including losing a sudden-death playoff for the 1979 PGA Championship….in 1984 he won The Masters….as seen in this battle against his college teammate, Tom Kite herewith. In the 1986, Gentle Ben suffered from Graves’ disease….which attacks the thyroid….but he continued to accumulate victories….while finishing with 19 on the PGA Tour….including an emotional 2nd Masters victory in 1995….which came a week after the death of his mentor and Austin golf legend Harvey Penick.
In 1999, he was selected as captain of the United States Ryder Cup team for the matches at The Country Club, Brookline, Massachusetts….where 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. Team won 8 ½ of the final day’s 12 points to regain the Cup.
Ben Crenshaw won several professional events outside the PGA Tour….including individual and team titles in the World Cup of Golf in 1988…..plus, he was among the top ten on McCormack’s World Golf Rankings from 1976 to 1981 inclusive….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.
Gentle Ben is widely regarded as one of the best putters in golf history. His instructor growing up, Harvey Penick, taught him a smooth, effortless stroke on the greens….which allowed him to master even the speediest of greens….including those at Augusta National Golf Club…..where the Masters is played. In winning the Masters in 1995, Gentle Ben did not record a single three-putt during the tournament.
Because Ben Crenshaw is a home boy….whom our Bone Daddy, the original Sportsphile, knew personally ….and because he is truly one of Austin’s own sports legends…..we here at ImaSportsphile are “tickled pink” to have this vintage video showing Crenshaw’s career and highlights of his 1984 Masters victory in our treasure chest of vintage memories….for to us , this is “pure gold”.