“PRO” FILE – TOURING PROFESSIONAL DOUG SANDERS

For this month’s edition of “pro” files, we turn back the clock to look at the career of Doug Sanders, a prominent touring professional from the 1960s.  Sanders was a prolific winner, but his legacy seems lost to our modern times.

Sanders was born in Cedartown, Georgia, a city northwest of Atlanta near the Alabama border.  He attended the University of Florida, playing on its golf team, and in 1956 he won the Canadian Open as an amateur, defeating the likes of defending champion Arnold Palmer, and turned pro shortly thereafter.  His first three Tour wins all featured the same victim as runner-up, Dow Finsterwald.  Sanders’ best year as a professional came in 1961 when he won five tournaments and finished third on the money list.  He wound up winning 20 times on the Tour.  Sanders was also known for his colorful wardrobe, often decked out in pinks, purples, teals and others such robust colors, quite a contrast to other professionals of the time.

Unfortunately for Sanders, all of his accomplishments are overshadowed by what happened in the 1970 British Open at St. Andrews.  Facing a three-foot putt on the final hole for victory, Sanders nervously pushed the putt wide right and lost an 18-hole playoff to Jack Nicklaus the next day.  He has remarked that he doesn’t think about that putt all that often, only “every five minutes or so.”

Today, Sanders lives in Houston, Texas, and hosts the annual Doug Sanders International Junior Golf Championship in Aberdeen, Scotland.

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