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Sports Then and Now




Billy Casper – Masters Champion

Posted on April 01, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Billy Casper

Billy Casper

It was 40 years ago that the April Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month put an exclamation point on his distinguished professional career by claiming the prestigious Green Jacket at the Master’s Championship.

When Billy Casper entered the 1970 Masters, he had won 44 PGA Tour events, including the 1959 and 1966 U.S. Open titles.

Having finished tied for second at the 1969 Masters, the 38-year-old Casper was again in contention in 1970. After four rounds was tied with Gene Littler with a nine-under-par score of 279.

In what would be the last 18-hole playoff in Masters history, Casper shot a 69 to defeat Littler by five strokes. The victory was the final major victory of Casper’s career and helped propel him to PGA Player of the Year honors in 1970.

Casper nearly claimed a fourth major title in 1971 as he finished second at the PGA Championship. He continued to challenge well into his 40s, finishing sixth at the Masters and tied for fifth at the PGA Championship in 1975.

While Casper claimed 51 PGA Tour titles and later nine more on the Senior Tour (including the 1983 U.S. Senior Open), it was as a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team that Casper particularly distinguished himself.

As a member of eight U.S. Ryder Cup teams, Casper helped the squad to seven victories and one tie. He shared the U.S. record for most singles points and holds the U.S. record for total points.

In 1979, Casper served as U.S. Captain as the squad won the title 17-11 in the first Ryder Cup in which the European squad expanded past Britain and Ireland to include all of Europe.

If you have a nominee for the Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month, please e-mail dean@sportsthenandnow.com and we will consider your nomination.


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