Lanny Wadkins

Lanny Wadkins (1 USPGA, 8 Ryder Cup's.)


Jerry Lanston "Lanny" Wadkins, Jr. (born December 5, 1949) is an American professional golfer. He ranked in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking for 86 weeks from the ranking's debut in 1986 to 1988.[1]

Born in Richmond, Virginia, Wadkins attended Meadowbrook High School,[2] then Wake Forest University on an Arnold Palmer golf scholarship.[3] He won the U.S. Amateur in 1970 in Oregon, one stroke ahead of runner-up Tom Kite,[4] and turned professional in 1971.

Wadkins' first win on the PGA Tour came at the Sahara Invitational in Las Vegas in October 1972, where he finished one stroke ahead of runner-up Palmer, his scholarship benefactor.[3] Wadkins was later voted Rookie of the Year on the tour in 1972. Two more wins followed in 1973 before his form dipped for three years. He bounced back to win his sole major title at the PGA Championship in 1977. He prevailed on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff at Pebble Beach against Gene Littler. It was the first time the sudden-death format was used in a stroke play major championship.[5][6]

Wadkins was runner-up in four subsequent majors (U.S. Open in 1986PGA Championship in 198219841987), and finished third in the Masters three times (199019911993). In The Open Championship, his best finish was fourth at St. Andrews in 1984.

On the PGA Tour, Wadkins won The Players Championship at Sawgrass in 1979 and was voted PGA Player of the Year in 1985. Over his career, he picked up a win more seasons than not until 1992, when he achieved his twenty-first and final PGA Tour victory at the Canon Greater Hartford Open. During his career, he also recorded wins in Australia, Canada, Japan, and South America.

Wadkins played for the United States in the Ryder Cup eight times between 1977 and 1993, which ties the highest number of appearances in the competition by an American, alongside Raymond Floyd and Billy Casper (Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk have since made ten and nine appearances, respectively). Wadkins collected 21½ points during his Ryder Cup career, one of the very best records on either side in the history of the competition. He also captained the team in 1995 at Oak Hill Country Club.

Wadkins began play on the Champions Tour in 2000, and picked up a win in his first event at the ACE Group Classic in a four-way playoff. As a senior, he divided his time between competition and broadcasting work with CBS Sports and did not become a regular winner at the senior level.

Following the retirement of Ken Venturi in June 2002, Wadkins was the lead analyst for CBS for over four years, until he was replaced by Nick Faldo after the 2006 season. He is currently the lead analyst for the Champions Tour on Golf Channel.[7]

Wadkins was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2009.[8]

Wadkins' younger brother, Bobby, currently plays on the Champions Tour. Lanny is married to Penelope Wadkins and has three children: Jessica, Travis, and Tucker. Travis played on the Wake Forest University golf team 2006-2010. Tucker played on the University of Arizona golf team 2011-2015. In 2011, Travis played on the eGolf Tour and made it to the final stage of the PGA Tour's Qualifying School but failed to earn a card. A nephew, Ron Whittaker, is a professional golfer on the second-tier Tour with 77 PGA Tour starts.[9]