This week, the PGA Tour makes its stop in Dallas for the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. “Lord” Byron won the event by 12 strokes in its inaugural year in 1944, when it was known as the Dallas Open.
Nelson, now 93, is golf’s living legend. His 1945 season is not only one of golf’s greatest, but also one of the greatest in all of sports.
A little history lesson is in order here. In 1945, Byron Nelson won 18 tournaments, including 11 in a row. Let’s repeat that students: 11 In A Row.
That’s a streak that will never be matched, like DiMaggio’s 1941 hitting streak. Not only that, but he finished second seven times. In one tournament, he shot 29 under par. He capped it all off by winning the PGA.
Critics have charged that Nelson’s record is tarnished by a weak field. But among his competitors that year were Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Jimmy Demaret. And remember that in golf, you play as much against the courses as you do against the field. In 1945, Nelson simply overwhelmed the courses with a 68.33 scoring average—a record that stood for 55 years.
This weekend’s field features the current top five golfers in the world: Woods, Singh, Els, Mickelson, and Goosen. However, none of those—even Tiger—has ever had a season that matches Lord Byron in 1945.