One of the game's all-time greats-particularly with a putter--has passed. Billy Casper was 83. While I never saw him play in his prime, the three-time major winner and 51-time PGA Tour winner displayed his controlled hook with grace and precision on the Senior Tour where he was a 9-time winner.
Tod Leonard, of Casper's native San Diego, on the legend's passing.
In an email, Bob Casper said his father had suffered from pneumonia after Thanksgiving, spent five weeks in the hospital and then returned home. He was doing rehabilitation four days a week, but last Thursday became weak.
“He went downhill quick,” Bob Casper said. “It was quick. But he didn’t have any pain. It was peaceful.”
Jaime Diaz’s Golf World feature on Casper prior to the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club.
Rex Hoggard on Casper's legacy in golf, including one remarkable stretch.
Dubbed “the most underrated golfer of all time” by Johnny Miller, Casper’s 27 Tour victories from 1964 to ’70 topped every player during that timeframe, including Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.
Jack Nicklaus took to Facebook to remember his friend. Just part of the statement:
“Billy Casper was one of the greatest family men—be it inside the game of golf or out—I have had the fortunate blessing to meet. He had such a wonderful balance to his life. Golf was never the most important thing in Billy’s life—family was. There was always much more to Billy Casper than golf. But as a golfer, Billy was a fantastic player, and I don’t think he gets enough credit for being one. I have said many times that during my career, when I looked up at a leaderboard, I wasn’t just looking to see where a Palmer or a Player or a Trevino was. I was also checking to see where Billy Casper was.
Here's a fairly recent clip of Casper telling David Feherty how even Tour Players are unaware if his accomplishments.
**Golf Channel's obit narrated by Rich Lerner, which aired today on Golf Central with follow-up talk (in lieu of Farmers Insurance Open talk).
**Michael Bamberger writing for golf.com:
He will be missed throughout golf, a gentle man who welcomed questions on any subject and who never seemed to be in hurry for anything. He will be especially missed at Augusta. During the Masters, he would have long lunches on the upstairs clubhouse veranda, in his green coat -- 50L would be a generous guess -- surrounded by friends and many family members. Casper and his wife, Shirley, who survives him, had 11 children, six of whom were adopted. Casper was a devout Mormon, a proponent of the health benefits of eating buffalo meat, and a successful businessman. He started a golf-course management company, Billy Casper Golf, that operates well over 100 golf courses.
Golf Channel will re-air Feherty featuring Casper on Monday at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. ET.