Orville Moody (1 US Open.)
1933 - 2008
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Orville James Moody (December 9, 1933 – August 8, 2008) was an American professional golfer who won numerous tournaments in his career. He won the 1969 U.S. Open, the last champion in the 20th century to win through local and sectional qualifying.
Moody was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, the youngest of 10 children. The son of a golf course superintendent, he began his career at Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City, winning the 1952 state high school golf championship. After attempting college for a few weeks at the University of Oklahoma, Moody joined the U.S. Army. He was able to continue playing golf while in uniform, winning the All-Service championship and three Korea Opens. He spent 14 years in the Army, heading up maintenance supervision and instruction at all Army golf courses.
Moody gave up his military career in favor of a trial run at the PGA Tour in 1967. His nickname on the Tour was "Sarge" because he rose to the rank of sergeant in the Army.
Moody had limited success on the PGA Tour prior to 1969. In April 1969, he took part in a four-way playoff at the Greater Greensboro Open won by Gene Littler.
The 1969 U.S. Open was played in June at the Cypress Creek Course of the Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas. Defending champion Lee Trevino picked Moody to win, saying, "He's one helluva player." Moody won by one stroke over Deane Beman, Al Geiberger and Bob Rosburg with a 72-hole score of 281. He 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 toured Japan, played in a few tournaments and eventually took a club pro job in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Moody was troubled by poor putting during his early pro years.
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. 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.
Moody continued to play in charity and other golf events up until 2007. He died in 2008 in Allen, Texas from complications of a stroke he had earlier suffered and/or complications from multiple myeloma. He was survived by his wife, Beverly, their son and three daughters, and eight grandchildren.