|Full name||George Douglas Sanders|
|Nickname||Peacock of the Fairways|
|Born||July 24, 1933|
|Died||April 12, 2020 (aged 86)|
|College||University of Florida|
|Former tour(s)||PGA Tour|
|Number of wins by tour|
|PGA Tour Champions||1|
|Best results in major championships|
|Masters Tournament||T4: 1966|
|PGA Championship||T2: 1959|
|U.S. Open||T2: 1961|
|The Open Championship||T2/2nd: 1966, 1970|
|U.S. Amateur||R64: 1956|
|British Amateur||R256: 1956|
George Douglas Sanders (July 24, 1933 – April 12, 2020) was an American professional golfer who won 20 events on the PGA Tour and had four runner-up finishes at major championships.
Born into a poor family in Cedartown, Georgia, northwest of Atlanta, where his father farmed and drove trucks. Sanders was the fourth of five children and picked cotton as a teenager. The family home was near a nine-hole course and he was a self-taught golfer.
Sanders accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he played for the Gators golf team in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition in 1955. In his single year as a Gator golfer, Sanders and the team won a Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship and earned a sixth-place finish at the NCAA championship tournament—the Gators' best national championship finish until that time. Sanders won the 1956 Canadian Open as an amateur—the only amateur ever to do so—and turned professional shortly thereafter. Sanders was the last amateur to win on the PGA Tour until Scott Verplank in 1985.
Sanders had thirteen top-ten finishes in major championships, including four second-place finishes: 1959 PGA Championship, 1961 U.S. Open, 1966 and 1970 Opens. In 1966, he became one of the few players in history to finish in the top ten of all four major championships in a single season, despite winning none of them. He took four shots from just 74 yards as the leader playing the final hole of the 1970 Open Championship at St Andrews, missing a sidehill 3-foot (0.9 m) putt to win, then lost the resulting 18-hole playoff by a single stroke the next day to Jack Nicklaus. His final victory on tour came in June 1972 at the Kemper Open, one stroke ahead of runner-up Lee Trevino.
Sanders is remembered for an exceptionally short, flat golf swing — a consequence, it appears, of a painful neck condition that radically restricted his movements.
He was a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1967, which won in Houston.
Sanders was a stylish, flamboyant dresser on the golf course, which earned him the nickname "Peacock of the Fairways." Esquire magazine named Sanders one of America's Ten Best Dressed Jocks in August 1972.
Sanders identified himself as the lead character, a playboy PGA Tour golfer, in the golf novel Dead Solid Perfect, by Dan Jenkins.
Sanders wrote a golf instruction book, "Compact Golf", published 1964. The title linked to Sanders' short golf swing. His autobiography "Come swing with me" was published in 1974.
In his autobiography, Sanders told about how he in 1966 was invited and intended to accompany fellow pro golfer and 1964 Open winner Tony Lema on the flight in a private plane that crashed with no survivors. Sanders changed his schedule at the last minute and did not join Lema on the flight.
After retiring from competitive golf, Sanders was active in his own corporate golf entertainment company for nearly 20 years, sponsored the Doug Sanders International Junior Golf Championship in Houston, Texas. From 1988 to 1994, he also sponsored the Doug Sanders Celebrity Classic.
Sanders died in his adopted hometown of Houston, Texas, on April 12, 2020 from natural causes. He was 86.
Sanders was a member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, and the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great."
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||To par||Margin of
|1||Jul 8, 1956||Canadian Open
(as an amateur)
|2||Jun 1, 1958||Western Open||69-68-70-68=275||−13||1 stroke||Dow Finsterwald|
|3||Dec 6, 1959||Coral Gables Open Invitational||68-71-69-65=273||−11||3 strokes||Dow Finsterwald|
|4||Mar 5, 1961||Greater New Orleans Open Invitational||68-65-69-70=272||−16||5 strokes||Gay Brewer, Mac Main|
|5||May 14, 1961||Colonial National Invitation||69-75-67-70=281||+1||1 stroke||Kel Nagle|
|6||May 21, 1961||Hot Springs Open Invitational||68-68-69-68=273||−15||1 stroke||Dave Ragan, Jerry Steelsmith|
|7||Aug 6, 1961||Eastern Open Invitational||72-66-68-69=275||−13||1 stroke||Ken Venturi|
|8||Nov 19, 1961||Cajun Classic Open Invitational||67-67-67-69=270||−14||6 strokes||Ken Still|
|9||Mar 11, 1962||Pensacola Open Invitational||67-67-67-69=270||−18||1 stroke||Don Fairfield|
|10||Aug 19, 1962||St. Paul Open Invitational||66-69-69-65=269||−19||3 strokes||Dave Hill|
|11||Aug 26, 1962||Oklahoma City Open Invitational||70-69-74-67=280||−8||2 strokes||Johnny Pott|
|12||Apr 14, 1963||Greater Greensboro Open||68-65-68-69=270||−14||4 strokes||Jimmy Clark|
|13||Mar 7, 1965||Pensacola Open Invitational (2)||68-71-65-73=277||−11||Playoff||Jack Nicklaus|
|14||Mar 14, 1965||Doral Open Invitational||65-71-71-67=274||−14||1 stroke||Bruce Devlin|
|15||Feb 6, 1966||Bob Hope Desert Classic||70-72-68-73-66=349||−11||Playoff||Arnold Palmer|
|16||Mar 27, 1966||Jacksonville Open Invitational||71-65-66-71=273||−15||1 stroke||Gay Brewer|
|17||Apr 3, 1966||Greater Greensboro Open (2)||65-70-71-70=276||−8||Playoff||Tom Weiskopf|
|18||Mar 5, 1967||Doral Open Invitational (2)||68-71-66-70=275||−9||1 stroke||Harold Henning, Art Wall Jr.|
|19||Dec 13, 1970||Bahama Islands Open||66-70-68-68=272||−16||Playoff||Chris Blocker|
|20||Jun 4, 1972||Kemper Open||71-68-68-68=275||−13||1 stroke||Lee Trevino|
PGA Tour playoff record (5–5)
(as an amateur)
|Dow Finsterwald||Won with par on first extra hole|
|2||1961||Phoenix Open Invitational||Arnold Palmer||Lost 18-hole playoff;|
Palmer: −3 (67),
Sanders: E (70)
|3||1962||West Palm Beach Open Invitational||Dave Ragan||Lost to birdie on second extra hole|
|4||1964||Greater Greensboro Open||Julius Boros||Lost to par on first extra hole|
|5||1965||Pensacola Open Invitational||Jack Nicklaus||Won with birdie on third extra hole|
|6||1965||Greater Seattle Open Invitational||Gay Brewer||Lost to par on first extra hole|
|7||1966||Bob Hope Desert Classic||Arnold Palmer||Won with birdie on first extra hole|
|8||1966||Greater Greensboro Open||Tom Weiskopf||Won with par on second extra hole|
|9||1970||The Open Championship||Jack Nicklaus||Lost 18-hole playoff;|
Nicklaus: E (72),
Sanders: +1 (73)
|10||1970||Bahama Islands Open||Chris Blocker||Won with par on second extra hole|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Winning score||To par||Margin of
|1||Sep 25, 1983||World Seniors Invitational||70-70-73-70=283||−5||1 stroke||Miller Barber|
|The Amateur Championship||R256|
|The Open Championship|
|The Open Championship||CUT||11||CUT||T2||T18||34|
|The Open Championship||2||T9||4||T28||T28|
CUT = missed the half-way cut
R256, R128, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Sources: Masters Tournament, U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur, Open Championship, PGA Championship, 1956 British Amateur
|The Open Championship||0||2||0||3||4||6||11||9|
... Doug Sanders, a golf pro selected over the more publicized fashion plates of the game, complete the Esquire "10 Best-Dressed Jocks"