Gene Alec Littler (July 21, 1930 – February 15, 2019) was an American professional golfer and a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Known for his solid temperament and nicknamed “Gene the Machine” for his smooth, rhythmical swing, he once said, “Golf is not a game of great shots. It’s a game of the best misses. The people who win make the smallest mistakes.”
Early Years And Amateur Career
Littler was born in San Diego, California. He played on the 1953 United States Walker Cup team and won the U.S. Amateur and the California State Amateur that same year. In 1954, he won a PGA Tour event as an amateur, a rare achievement that was not to be repeated until Doug Sanders won the Canadian Open in 1956.
Littler graduated from San Diego State University and served in the United States Navy from 1951 to 1954.
Littler won one major championship – the 1961 U.S. Open. He shot a 68 in the final round to overtake Doug Sanders. He accumulated 17 top-10 finishes in the three U.S.-based majors: seven at the Masters Tournament, five at the PGA Championship, and five at the U.S. Open. He was a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup teams of 1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, and 1975, and he had a 14-5-8 win/loss/tie record including five wins and three ties in 10 singles matches.
Personal Life And Death
On January 5, 1951, ten days before joining the Navy, Littler married Shirley Warren, his university classmate. They had a son, Curt, born in March 1954 and a daughter, Suzanne, born in October 1957. Littler died at the age of 88 on February 15, 2019.
What Year Did Byron Nelson Play Gene Littler at Pine Valley?
Gene Littler at Pine Valley: 1962 Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf. 52-time PGA TOUR winner Byron Nelson faced off against fellow Hall of Famer, Gene Littler, at Pine Valley in New Jersey, one of the top-ranked courses in the world.