Kel Nagle (1 Open. )

1920 - 2015

Kelvin David George Nagle AM (21 December 1920 – 29 January 2015) was an Australian professional golfer best known for winning The Open Championship in 1960.[1] He won at least one tournament each year from 1949 to 1975.

Nagle was born in North Sydney. Because of five-and-a-half years of World War II military service (1939–45), Nagle got a late start on pro golf, as he played no golf between ages 19 and 24, and turned pro at age 25 (1946). He made up for lost time by winning at least one tournament each year from 1949 to 1975. During his early career, he had a long swing and was regarded as the longest hitter on the Australasia tour, as evidenced by the Australian press dubbing him as "the Pymble Crusher".[2] By age 39 (in 1960, when he won The Open Championship), Nagle had shortened his swing and become a straight hitter with what Gary Player described as "the best short game out here".[citation needed]

Although he had won over 30 tournaments in Australia, and had won the Canada Cup for Australia in partnership with five-time Open champion Peter Thomson in 1954 and 1959, Nagle was a shock winner of The Open, as he was 39 years old but had never finished in the top-10 at a major championship before. Thomson told Nagle a few weeks prior to the 1960 Open championship that he "had the game" to win and that "you can beat me". He beat the rising star of American golf Arnold Palmer into second place, and it was Palmer who deprived him of his title in 1961. Although he never regained The Open title, Kel Nagle had six top-five finishes at the Open between 1960 and 1966 (ages 39 to 45). His best result in a United States major was second in the 1965 U.S. Open—the year after he won the Canadian Open—when he and Gary Player finished the 72-hole tournament in a tie. Nagle lost to Player the next day in an 18-hole playoff, during which Nagle hit a female spectator in the forehead on the fifth hole and was visibly affected to the point that he hit another spectator on the same hole. Player won the playoff by 3 strokes.

As late as 1970, the year he turned 50, Nagle was ranked among the top ten players in the world on the McCormack's World Golf Rankings, the forerunner of the modern world ranking system. Nagle won 61 times on the PGA Tour of Australasia, giving him the most wins all-time on that tour, 30 wins ahead of Greg Norman, whose 31 wins sit in second place. Nagle played on the Senior PGA Tour (now Champions Tour) in the U.S. in the 1980s, when he was in his 60s and early 70s. His best finishes were a pair of T-3s: at the 1981 Eureka Federal Savings Classic and the 1982 Peter Jackson Champions. In his final round at the 1982 Charlie Pride Invitational (Four Hills CC Albuquerque, NM), he "shot his age" of 71. In July 2007, Nagle was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame, and was inducted in November 2007.

Nagle died in Sydney on 29 January 2015 at the age of 94.[3]