Paul Runyan

Paul Runyan (July 12, 1908 – March 17, 2002)

Considered short for golfers, Paul Runyan stood at 5-foot-7, and while he didn’t have a great long game, his short game was unparalleled among his peers. He is now considered one of the most influential short game players of all time and his techniques have been taught to thousands of golfers over the years.

Paul Runyan won 29 times on the Tour during his illustrious career, winning the PGA Championship twice, in 1934 and again in 1938. He even led the US Open after three rounds in 1951. He won 16 times in two years, between 1933 and 1934. and his 9 victories in 1933 have only been equaled or surpassed by seven golfers throughout history.

Paul Runyan was an iron horse of a golfer and taught up to 20 lessons a week well into his nineties. Paul Runyan began his golf career as a caddy and later became an apprentice at a golf course in his hometown of Hot Springs, Alabama. He turned pro at the age of 17 and later became an assistant pro at Forest Hills Golf Course in White Plains, New York. He was Craig Wood’s assistant in 1921 and thirteen years later, in 1934, he defeated Wood in a playoff for the first of his two PGA Championship victories.

Paul Runyan defeated Sam Snead 8 and 7 for his second PGA Championship, which is the most lopsided Championship final victory in history. Of course, that was back when the tournament was still being decided in a match play format.

Paul Runyan’s simple but effective advice has been carried out over the years and some of the world’s most successful golfers can be seen as living by this assessment Paul made: “Don’t let bad shots get you down.” Don’t let yourself get mad. True coders are thick-skinned. And they always beat up the whiners.”

His passion for golf was not limited to winning tournaments, but to bring golf to the masses. “I want to be remembered as one of the best golf professionals in the industry who was just as interested in promoting golf… I wanted to give something back and I think I have.”

With the work he’s put in in the years since his professional and competitive days ended, it’s a testament that he really did get something back and, to this day, continues to make something back.