- Jon Cuban/Getty Images
playing on the Champions Tour
Jon Cuban/Getty Images
was a winner on the PGA Tour from 1950s into the 1970s, including one major.
was noted as one of the "sweetest-swinging" golfers ever.
: "I just put the ball down and hit."
Gene Littler Biography:
"Gene the Machine" spent more than 20 years racking up wins on the PGA Tour, then, for good measure, won eight more times in the early years of the Champions Tour
was known as a man of few words, but whose few words exhibited quite a wit.
nickname derives from the quality and remarkable consistency of his
first gained notice by winning the 1953 U.S. Amateur, then he
won the 1954 San Diego Open while still an amateur.
turned pro in 1955 and won five times on the PGA Tour.
But the next few years were slim ones as Littler
tinkered with his
The great player and instructor Paul Runyan got Littler
to adjust his
grip, and in 1959 he
was back with five more wins.
Littler's only major was the 1961 U.S. Open, but he
lost playoffs for two other majors.
At the 1970 Masters, Littler
lost an 18-hole playoff to his lifelong friend Billy Casper.
And in 1977, the 47-year-old Littler
took part in the first-ever sudden-death playoff at a major, losing to Lanny Wadkins at the PGA Championship.
was forced to take a break from the Tour early in 1972 after being diagnosed with lymph node cancer.
But following successful surgery, he
was back on Tour within months and winning the St. Louis Chldren's Hospital Classic.
In 1980, Littler joined the Champions Tour.
would win 8 times in the early years of that tour, and continued making appearances there into the 2000s.
was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame