John Byron Nelson, Jr. was born on this day in 1912. He was an American professional golfer between 1935 and 1946, one of the greats not only in his day but over the history of the sport.
Nelson and two other legendary champions of the time, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead, were born within seven months of each other in 1912. Although he won many tournaments in the course of his relatively brief career, he is mostly remembered today for having won 11 consecutive tournaments and 18 total tournaments in 1945.
He retired officially at the age of 34 to be a rancher, later becoming a commentator and lending his name to the HP Byron Nelson Championship, the first PGA Tour event to be named for a professional golfer.
As a former Masters champion, he continued to play in that annual tournament, placing in the top-10 six times between 1947 and 1955, and as high as 15th in 1965.
In 1974, Byron Nelson received the Bob Jones Award, the highest honour given by the United States Golf Association, in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.
Nelson became the second recipient of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. He received the 1994 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2006.