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FULL NAME: Ben Crenshaw
NICKNAME: Gentle Ben
HEIGHT: 5-9     WEIGHT: 157
BIRTHDATE: January 11, 1952
EDUCATION: University of Texas
SPECIAL INTERESTS: Fishing, bird watching, collecting golf artifacts, golf course architecture, country music



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Ben Crenshaw, one of golf's greatest putters, was involved in two of the most emotional golf course scenes of the 1990s.

First was his victory at the 1995 Masters, just days after the death of his mentor and friend, the legendary golf teacher Harvey Penick. Crenshaw was a pallbearer at Penick's funeral on Wednesday, then teed off in The Masters on Thursday. Four days later, Crenshaw was Masters champion. After his final putt, he collapsed into the arms of his caddie while the tears flowed.

In 1999, Crenshaw was Ryder Cup captain at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., where the U.S. team was far behind following Saturday's matches. "I'm a big believer in fate," Crenshaw said that night. "I have a good feeling about tomorrow. That's all I'm gonna say."

The next day, the U.S. staged its greatest Ryder Cup comeback ever, culminating in the raucous celebration on the 17th green when Justin Leonard's long putt sealed it for the Americans.

Crenshaw and Tom Kite were childhood friends and rivals in Austin, Texas. While a senior in high school, Crenshaw placed 32nd in the U.S. Open, prompting Lee Trevino to call him "the best eighteen-year-old golfer I've ever seen."

At the University of Texas, Crenshaw shared the 1972 NCAA Championship with teammate Kite.

Crenshaw turned pro in 1973 and won his first tournament as a professional, the Texas Open. His "golden boy" image and boyish looks led to a strong following among female fans, whose ranks were dubbed "Ben's Bunnies" or "Ben's Wrens."

Crenshaw would go on to win 19 times on the PGA Tour, including two majors.

After his competitive days on the PGA Tour ended, Crenshaw focused on golf course design, with only occasional flashes on the Champions Tour. With partner Bill Coore, Crenshaw designed some of the most acclaimed golf courses of the 1990s and early 21st century, including Kapalua Bay Resort in Hawaii and Sand Hills Golf Club in Nebraska.

Ben Crenshaw was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2002.

• Journalist Jim Murray on Ben Crenshaw: "He walked up on a green as if he intended to arrest it."

• Ben Crenshaw on putting: "The ball which arrives at the hole with the proper speed has an infinitely greater chance of falling in the hole from any entrance. Harvey Penick taught me the value of this method at an early age. This is what he meant by 'giving luck a chance.' "

• Crenshaw had occasional bursts of temper on the course, and his "Gentle Ben" nickname was given to him sarcastically.

• He broke his putter in anger in a singles match at the 1987 Ryder Cup and putted the rest of the match with his 1-iron and sand wedge. Crenshaw lost the match to Eamonn Darcy.

• Crenshaw has one of the worst playoff records at 0-8, including a loss in the 1979 PGA Championship playoff.


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