Profile: British Golfer Neil Coles

Neil Coles' career is marked by longevity — he won tournaments from 1955 through 2002 — and productivity. He was a British golf pioneer, and later a member of the Hall of Fame.

Full name: Neil Chapman Coles

Date and place of birth: Sept. 26, 1934, in London, England

Significant Wins
1961 Ballantine Tournament
1963 Martini International
1964 Bowmaker Tournament
1964 News of the World Match Play
1965 News of the World Match Play
1966 British Masters
1970 Italian BP Open
1970 Bowmaker Tournament
1971 Penfold Bournemouth Tournament
1971 German Open
1972 Scottish Open
1973 Spanish Open
1973 Benson & Hedges Match Play Championship
1976 Penfold PGA Championship
1977 Tournament Players Championship
1982 Sanyo Open
1987 Senior British Open

Coles is credited with seven European Tour victories, but won another 24 times across Europe prior to the Euro Tour's foundation in 1972.

In the Majors
Neil Coles never won a major, and he played in only the British Open (he entered The Masters one time, but withdrew). At The Open, Coles had five Top 10 finishes, including third in 1961 and runner-up in 1973.

Notable Notes: Neil Coles was a frequent winner in the 1960s and 1970s in European golf, and was voted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000 under the Lifetime Achievement category. He has the distinction of winning professional golf tournaments in six different decades. His first pro win was in 1955, his last in 2002. And that last win, at the European Senior Tour's Lawrence Batley Seniors Open in 2002, was at the age of 67 years, 9 months, making Coles the oldest winner ever on that tour.

Aside from his productivity over a long period of time, two things stand out about Coles' career: He was the winner of the very first Senior British Open in 1987 (and credited with nine European Senior Tour victories); and his participation as a player on eight Ryder Cup teams. Coles played in 40 Ryder Cup matches, which was the record until Nick Faldo topped that number.

Coles played in every Ryder Cup from 1961 through 1973, then again in 1977. Coles played in an era of near-total USA domination of the Ryder Cup, so his overall record of 12-21-7 doesn't appear that impressive, but he was 5-6-4 in singles.

Coles led the British Order of Merit in 1963 and 1970, and was never outside the Top 10 from 1961-76. ... Was the first chairman of the European PGA Tour, and was involved in its administration for decades. ... Suffers from a serious fear of flying, and that is one of the main reasons he never played in the USA. ... His fear of flying event prevented him from attending his Hall of Fame induction ceremony. ... Has been called "Britain's first tournament professional," since he only held a club pro position for a few years after turning pro. ... Wrote an instructional book in 1965 titled Neil Coles on Golf.

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