About Curtis Strange
Men who have won consecutive U.S. Opens since 1950: Ben Hogan and Curtis Strange. That’s the list, and it should give some insight into just how strong of a player Strange was in his prime. Of course, there were indications of that coming success during Strange’s time in the VSGA amateur ranks.
He won what was then known as the VSGA Junior Amateur Championship in both 1970 and 1972. (The advent of the Junior Match Play Championship changed the event’s title to the VSGA Junior Stroke Play Championship.) Strange claimed back-to-back titles in the VSGA Amateur Championship in 1974-75. He won an NCAA individual championship at Wake Forest in 1974 thanks an eagle on the 18th hole that also propelled Wake to a team victory. Strange’s tenacity earned the three-time All-American the nickname “Brutus.”
“Curtis and I played a fair amount together over the years, and he was the best golfer I ever played with,” said David Partridge, an accomplished Virginia amateur who is on the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame selection committee. “Even from a very early age, you knew you were in the presence of greatness when you watched Curtis play and compete. While Curtis amassed a marvelous tour record, his grinding, ‘never hit a bad shot’ style of play was ideal for the demanding U.S. Open conditions where Curtis was truly at his best.”
Strange’s scrambling ability was on display at Brookline at the 1988 U.S. Open, when he got up and down out of a greenside bunker for par to tie Nick Faldo and send the Open to an 18-hole playoff. He bested Faldo by four strokes the next day. In 1989 at Oak Hill, Strange grinded his way to 15 straight pars to keep the leaders in sight. Then he pounced, a birdie on the tournament’s 70th hole giving him the lead for the first time.
A swing change helped Strange evolve into the consistent force he was in the 1980s, and he ended his career with 19 PGA Tour victories along with the distinction of being the first player to crack the $1 million mark in career earnings. He was part of five Ryder Cup teams as a player and another as a captain, and his four-birdie charge down the stretch in 1989 beat Ian Woosnam and helped the U.S. team secure a share of the trophy.
Now an on-course reporter for FOX Sports, Strange is also a member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and World Golf Hall of Fame.
He Said It…
“The first thing that comes to mind is that to go in in the first class with these players I have admired and respected and in Sam’s case, idolized forever, it’s just a wonderful honor. It’s hard to put into words. Especially getting to know and playing with Sam a lot, and Mr. Harper and Vinny and Lanny…It’s humbling to some degree that you’re put in the same class with Sam and the others…I’m glad I wasn’t part of the decision”
Career Scoring Average
PGA Tour Victories (134 top-10 finishes)
Ryder Cup Appearances (non-playing captain in 2002)
Achievements & Media
Special thanks to the USGA, PGA Tour, VSGA, MAPGA, WVGA and inductee family members for contributing photos and videos to this project.
In 615 career PGA Tour starts, Strange owns 19 wins and 134 top-10 finishes, including two major victories. Career scoring average of 71.25. Was the PGA Tour’s season-ending money leader three times (1985, 1987, 1988). Career PGA Tour earnings of $7,677,804.44. Appeared on the 1975 Walker Cup team. Played on five Ryder Cup teams and was the non-playing captain in 2002. Played on seven Dunhill Cup teams. Member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Date of birth: January 30, 1955 (Norfolk, Va.)
Notable junior achievements: Won VSGA Junior Stroke Play Championship in 1970 and 1972.
College entry/graduation: Wake Forest
Amateur achievements: Won NCAA individual championship in 1974 and was part of two NCAA championship teams at Wake Forest. Won VSGA Amateur Championships in 1974 and 1975 and was VSGA Amateur runner-up in 1972.
Year turning pro: 1976
1970 (VSGA Junior Stroke Play Championship)
1972 (VSGA Junior Stroke Play Championship)
1974 (VSGA Amateur)
1975 (VSGA Amateur)
1979 (PGA: Pensacola Open)
1980 (PGA: Michelob-Houston Open, Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic. Other: JCPenney Mixed Team Classic (w/Nancy Lopez))
1981 (Other: Panama Open)
1983 (PGA: Sammy Davis Jr.- Greater Hartford Open)
1984 (PGA: LaJet Golf Classic)
1985 (PGA: Honda Classic, Panasonic Las Vegas Invitational, Canadian Open)
1986 (PGA: Houston Open. Other: ABC Japan-U.S. match, tied for win at Fred Meyer Challenge (w/Peter Jacobsen))
1987 (PGA: Canadian Open, Federal Express St. Jude Classic, NEC World Series of Golf)
1988 (PGA: Independent Insurance Agent Open, Memorial Tournament, U.S. Open, Nabisco Championship. Other: Sanctuary Cove Classic)
1989 (PGA: U.S. Open. Other: Palm Meadows Cup, RMCC Invitational (w/Mark O’Meara), PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Skins Game)
1990 (Other: Skins Game)
1993 (Other: Greg Norman’s Holden Classic).