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Bob Charles (golfer)

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Title: Bob Charles (golfer)  
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Subject: 1963 Open Championship, 1968 Open Championship, 1969 Open Championship, Mark McCormack's world golf rankings, Champions Tour
Collection: 1936 Births, Champions Tour Golfers, Commanders of the Order of the British Empire, European Tour Golfers, Knights Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, Living People, Members of the Order of New Zealand, New Zealand Male Golfers, New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame Inductees, People Educated at Wairarapa College, People from Canterbury, New Zealand, People from Carterton, New Zealand, People from Masterton, Pga Tour Golfers, Pga Tour of Australasia Golfers, Sports Players and Officials Awarded Knighthoods, Winners of Men's Major Golf Championships, World Golf Hall of Fame Inductees
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Bob Charles (golfer)

Bob Charles
— Golfer —
Charles in 2012
Personal information
Full name Sir Robert James Charles
Born (1936-03-14) 14 March 1936
Carterton, New Zealand
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 79 kg (174 lb; 12.4 st)
Nationality  New Zealand
Residence Florida, United States;
Canterbury, New Zealand
Turned professional 1960
Current tour(s) Champions Tour
European Seniors Tour
Former tour(s) PGA Tour
European Tour
PGA Tour of Australasia
Professional wins 68
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 6
European Tour 4
PGA Tour of Australasia 8
Champions Tour 23
European Seniors Tour 1
Other 12 (regular)
14 (senior)
Best results in major championships
(Wins: 1)
Masters Tournament T15: 1963
U.S. Open 3rd/T3: 1964, 1970
The Open Championship Won: 1963
PGA Championship T2: 1968
British Amateur T5: 1958
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 2008 (member page)
New Zealand Order of Merit 1999
Order of New Zealand 2010

Sir Robert James Charles ONZ KNZM CBE (born 14 March 1936) is a New Zealand professional golfer whose achievements over five decades rank him among the most successful left-handed golfers of all time, being the first lefty to win a golf major, winning more than 70 titles, and beating his age twice during a tournament as a 71-year-old.


  • Early years 1
  • Professional career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Professional wins (68) 4
    • PGA Tour wins (6) 4.1
    • European Tour wins (4) 4.2
    • Australasian wins (8) 4.3
    • Other wins (12) 4.4
    • Senior PGA Tour wins (23) 4.5
    • European Seniors Tour wins (1) 4.6
    • Other senior wins (14) 4.7
  • Major championships 5
    • Wins (1) 5.1
    • Results timeline 5.2
    • Summary 5.3
  • Team appearances 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early years

Born in Carterton, a small town in the Wairarapa district in New Zealand's North Island, Charles lived in Masterton where he worked as a bank teller. He won the New Zealand Open at Heretaunga on 8 November 1954, as an 18-year-old amateur.

Charles decided to hone his skills as an amateur first, and remained in his bank employment for a further six years. He represented New Zealand several times in international amateur tournaments during this period.

Professional career

Charles turned professional in 1960 and the next year won the New Zealand PGA Championship and soon after ventured overseas to the European and North American circuits.

In 1963, Charles won his first PGA Tour event in the United States, the Houston Classic, the first PGA Tour event won by a left-handed golfer.[1] Later that year he won The Open Championship at Royal Lytham and St. Annes. After four rounds (68-72-66-71) his 277 was level with American Phil Rodgers. Charles won the 36-hole playoff by eight shots.[2]

Charles has won about 80 tournaments around the world. As well as his PGA Tour victories, his win in the 1969 World Matchplay Championship was considered one of his best. He won the Senior British Open 30 years after winning his British Open title. He remains, along with Michael Campbell, one of only two New Zealanders to win a men's major golf championship.

In 2007 Charles became the oldest golfer to make a cut on the European Tour at the Michael Hill New Zealand Open. Charles shot a 68 in the second round, beating his age by three strokes.[3] He would go on to finish in a tie for 23rd place.

Charles's move to the Senior PGA Tour (now called Champions Tour) was very lucrative and successful with 23 titles; and in three years 1988, 1989 and 1993, he recorded lowest scoring average. He finished second on the European Seniors Tour's 2007 Wentworth Senior Masters at the age of 71. He was the first left-hander to win a major, but also the first lefty to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, in the veterans category. He was inducted in 2008.[4] He would remain the only lefty inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame until Phil Mickelson was elected in 2011.

At the Senior British Open Championship in 2010, Charles announced in an ESPN interview that he would retire from golf, stating that he was "74 years old, traveling this world for 50 years, and it's time to slow down and spend more time on my farm in New Zealand with my family."

Personal life

Charles is a sporting hero in New Zealand, not only for his achievements but also for his demeanour and philanthropy regarding junior golfers. He was also a role model worldwide for left-handed golfers. Until Canadian Mike Weir won The Masters in 2003, Charles was the only golfer with a left-handed swing to have won a major.

In the New Year Honours 1972 Charles was appointed an Officer of The Order of The British Empire. In the New Year Honours 1992 Charles was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to golf.[5] In the New Year Honours 1999 Charles was appointed a Knight Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit for services to golf.[6] In the New Year Honours 2011 Charles was appointed to The Order of New Zealand for services to New Zealand.[7][8]

Charles married his wife Verity in 1962 and they have two children, Beverly and David. David is a golf director in the United States. He is a successful golf course designer having had major input into the Formosa Country Club east of Auckland, Millbrook at the resort town of Queenstown, and 'The Dunes' course at Matarangi on the Coromandel Peninsula. He was also consultant to the Clearwater course, near Christchurch, designed by golf architect John Darby.

Charles has played in the Gary Player Invitational several times to assist Gary Player raise funds for various underprivileged children's causes.

Professional wins (68)

PGA Tour wins (6)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 21 Apr 1963 Houston Classic −12 (67-66-66-69=268) 1 stroke Fred Hawkins
2 13 Jul 1963 The Open Championship −7 (68-72-66-71=277) Playoff Phil Rodgers
3 21 Feb 1965 Tucson Open Invitational −17 (65-69-67-70=271) 4 strokes Al Geiberger
4 1 Oct 1967 Atlanta Classic −6 (72-71-69-70=282) 2 strokes Tommy Bolt, Dick Crawford, Gardner Dickinson
5 23 Jun 1968 Canadian Open −10 (70-68-70-66=274) 2 strokes Jack Nicklaus
6 7 Apr 1974 Greater Greensboro Open 14 (65-70-67-68=270) 1 stroke Raymond Floyd, Lee Trevino
PGA Tour playoff record (1–2)
No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1963 The Open Championship Phil Rodgers Won 36-hole playoff (Charles:69-71=140, Rodgers:72-76=148)
2 1965 Lucky International Open George Archer Lost to birdie on second extra hole
3 1970 Greater New Orleans Open Miller Barber, Howie Johnson Barber won with birdie on second extra hole

Major championship is shown in bold.

European Tour wins (4)

Australasian wins (8)

Other wins (12)

Senior PGA Tour wins (23)

No. Date Tournament Winning score Margin of
1 22 Mar 1987 Vintage Chrysler Invitational −3 (72-70-73-70=285) 4 strokes Butch Baird, Bruce Crampton, Dale Douglass
Howie Johnson, Bobby Nichols
Gary Player, Chi-Chi Rodríguez
2 29 Mar 1987 GTE Classic −8 (67-67-74=208) 4 strokes Bruce Crampton
3 3 May 1987 Sunwest Bank Charley Pride Senior Golf Classic −8 (70-70-68=208) 1 stroke Dale Douglass
4 22 May 1988 NYNEX/Golf Digest Commemorative −14 (63-67-66=196) 4 strokes Harold Henning, Don Massengale
5 29 May 1988 Sunwest Bank Charley Pride Senior Golf Classic −10 (69-68-69=206) 2 strokes Orville Moody
6 4 Jul 1988 Rancho Murieta Senior Gold Rush −9 (69-69-69=207) 2 strokes Gary Player
7 28 Aug 1988 Vantage presents Bank One Senior Golf Classic −10 (63-66-71=200) 1 stroke Dick Hendrickson
8 2 Oct 1988 Pepsi Senior Challenge −5 (70-69=139) 1 stroke Dick Hendrickson, Harold Henning, Bert Yancey
9 19 Feb 1989 GTE Suncoast Classic −9 (68-70-69=207) Playoff Jim Ferree, Dave Hill, Harold Henning
10 21 May 1989 NYNEX/Golf Digest Commemorative −17 (63-65-65=193) 5 strokes Don Bies, Bruce Crampton
11 9 Jul 1989 Digital Seniors Classic -16 (65-70-65=200) 3 strokes Mike Hill
12 27 Aug 1989 Sunwest Bank Charley Pride Senior Golf Classic -13 (66-69-68=203) 1 stroke Charles Coody
13 1 Oct 1989 Fairfield Barnett Space Coast Classic −13 (66-70-67=203) 6 strokes Butch Baird
14 24 Jun 1990 Digital Seniors Classic −13 (69-67-67=203) 2 strokes Lee Trevino
15 9 Dec 1990 GTE Kaanapali Classic −4 (65-71-70=206) 4 strokes Lee Trevino
16 10 Feb 1991 GTE Suncoast Classic −6 (68-72-70=210) 4 strokes Lee Trevino
17 11 Oct 1992 Raley's Senior Gold Rush −15 (71-65-65=201) 7 strokes Gary Player, Chi-Chi Rodríguez
18 18 Oct 1992 Transamerica Senior Golf Championship −16 (70-67-63=200) 1 stroke Dave Stockton
19 28 Mar 1993 Doug Sanders Celebrity Classic −8 (69-70-69=208) 1 stroke Jim Ferree
20 23 May 1993 Bell Atlantic Classic −6 (67-67-70=204) 1 stroke Dave Stockton
21 5 Sep 1993 Quicksilver Classic −9 (74-65-68=207) 4 strokes Dave Stockton
22 29 Oct 1995 Hyatt Regency Maui Kaanapali Classic −9 (69-67-68=204) Playoff Dave Stockton
23 27 Oct 1996 Hyatt Regency Maui Kaanapali Classic −15 (64-65-69=198) 1 stroke Hale Irwin
Senior PGA Tour playoff record (2–7)
No. Year Tournament Opponent(s) Result
1 1987 PaineWebber World Seniors Invitational Gary Player Lost to birdie on first extra hole
2 1988 Senior Players Reunion Pro-Am Don Massengale, Orville Moody,
Bobby Nichols
Moody won with birdie on first extra hole
3 1988 U.S. Senior Open Gary Player Lost 18-hole playoff (Player:68, Charles:70)
4 1989 GTE Suncoast Classic Jim Ferree, Dave Hill,
Harold Henning
Won with birdie on third extra hole
Ferree and Hill eliminated on first hole with birdie
5 1989 General Tire Las Vegas Classic Charles Coody, Chi-Chi Rodríguez Coody won with birdie on second extra hole
6 1995 Hyatt Regency Maui Kaanapali Classic Dave Stockton Won with birdie on third extra hole
7 1996 Las Vegas Senior Classic Jim Colbert, Dave Stockton Colbert won with par on fourth extra hole
Charles eliminated with par on first hole
8 1998 Home Depot Invitational Jim Dent Lost to par on third extra hole
9 1998 Kroger Senior Classic Hugh Baiocchi, Frank Conner,
Larry Nelson, Bruce Summerhays
Baiocchi won with birdie on second extra hole

European Seniors Tour wins (1)

Other senior wins (14)

Major championships

Wins (1)

Year Championship 54 holes Winning score Margin Runner-up
1963 The Open Championship 1 shot lead −7 (68-72-66-71=277) Playoff1 Phil Rodgers

1Defeated Phil Rodgers in a 36-hole playoff (Charles 69-71=140, Rodgers 72-76=148).

Results timeline

Tournament 1958 1959
Masters Tournament CUT DNP
The Open Championship CUT DNP
The Amateur Championship QF DNP
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Masters Tournament DNP DNP T25 T15 T40 T45 CUT CUT 19 T29
The Open Championship DNP CUT 5 1 T17 CUT T37 CUT T2 2
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP T13 T19 T41 DNP DNP T2 T35
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Masters Tournament 17 CUT T22 T29 CUT CUT DNP DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship T13 T18 T15 T7 CUT T12 CUT T43 T48 T10
PGA Championship T26 T13 T58 DNP T73 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
The Open Championship T60 T35 CUT DNP T47 WD T19 DNP T20 DNP
Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
The Open Championship CUT DNP DNP DNP CUT CUT 71 DNP DNP CUT
Tournament 2000 2001
Masters Tournament DNP DNP
The Open Championship CUT CUT
PGA Championship DNP DNP

DNP = Did not play
WD = Withdrew
"T" indicates a tie for a place
R256, R128, R64, R32, R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in match play
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10

Source for The Masters:

Source for U.S. Open: USGA Championship Database

Source for The British Open:

Source for PGA Championship: PGA Championship Media Guide

Source for 1958 Amateur Championship: , 6 June 1958, pg. 4.The Glasgow Herald


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 0 0 0 5 15 9
U.S. Open 0 0 2 2 3 6 12 6
The Open Championship 1 2 0 4 6 13 34 19
PGA Championship 0 1 0 1 2 5 10 10
Totals 1 3 2 7 11 29 71 44
  • Most consecutive cuts made – 11 (1962 Masters – 1965 Masters)
  • Longest streak of top-10s – 3 (1968 U.S. Open – 1968 PGA)

Team appearances



  • World Cup (representing New Zealand): 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1971, 1972
  • Dunhill Cup (representing New Zealand): 1985, 1986

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Charles to be inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52768. p. 29. 30 December 1991.
  6. ^ "New Year Honours 1999" (22 January 1999) 5 New Zealand Gazette 139.
  7. ^ "New Year Honours 2011" (14 January 2011) 2 New Zealand Gazette 55.
  8. ^

External links

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