Orville Moody (December 9, 1933 – August 8, 2008) was an American professional golfer….who won numerous tournaments in his career….including the 1969 U.S. Open….as he was the last champion in the 20th century to win through local and sectional qualifying. Moody gave up his military career in favor of a trial run at the PGA Tour in 1967…..thereby his nickname on the Tour being “Sarge” because he rose to the rank of sergeant in the Army.
Moody had limited success on the PGA Tour prior to 1969….when in April, he took part in a four-way playoff at the Greater Greensboro Open….which was eventually won by Gene Littler…..after which the 1969 U.S. Open was played in June at the Cypress Creek Course of the Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas…..as defending champion Lee Trevino picked Moody to win, saying, “He’s one helluva player.”….when Moody won by one stroke over Deane Beman, Al Geiberger and Bob Rosburg….with a 72-hole score of 281. Orville Moody was named PGA Player of the Year for 1969.
The U.S. Open win was the only PGA Tour victory for Moody in 266 career events….although he earned five second-place finishes. He also toured Japan….while playing in a few tournaments and eventually took a club pro job in Sulphur Springs, Texas.
His career on the Senior PGA Tour (now known as the Champions Tour) was dramatically different. After turning 50, he won three of his first five tournaments and finished fifth on the money list on his way to a total of 11 Senior PGA Tour victories. In 1989, he became only the fourth man to win both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Senior Open…..as Moody went to a long putter after becoming a senior golfer….and this method improved his putting significantly. Moody had triple bypass heart surgery prior to the 1995 season, but still managed to play in 29 events.