Bo Wininger, PGA Tour Winner and 'Lucy' Guest Star

Bo Wininger was a winner on the PGA Tour in the 1950s and 1960s, with a break to work in public relations in-between. He was known during his time for his dapper manner and his penchant for wracking up second-place finishes. And although he wasn't a huge winner on tour, he was well-known enough to land a guest starring role on Lucille Ball's sitcom.

Full name: Francis Gerald Wininger

Date of birth: November 16, 1922

Place of birth: Chico, California

Date and place of death: December 7, 1967 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Nickname: Bo

Wininger's PGA Tour Wins

Bo Wininger is credited with six wins in official PGA Tour events:

In the Majors

Wininger never played the British Open, and didn't have any Top 10 finishes in the U.S. Open (his best showing in that major was a tie for 17th in 1962).

But he did post Top 10 finishes in both The Masters and the PGA Championship. Winginger finished eighth in the 1963 Masters, seventh in the 1964 PGA Championship, and fourth in the 1965 PGA Championship.

His first appearance in a major was as an amateur in the 1951 U.S. Open, where he finished tied 29th. And his final appearance in a major was at the 1966 PGA Championship. In total, Wininger played in 25 majors and made the cut in all but two of them.

More About Bo Wininger

The authors of the 1976 Who's Who In Golf described Wininger as "a popular, personable pro who cut a debonair figure on tour." He was also a golfer whose tour career was divided into two sections separated by a break to try private business.

After playing college golf at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University), Wininger, who grew up in Oklahoma, moved to Philadelphia for a job at Atlantic City Country Club. He joined the PGA Tour in 1952, and a year later he took the 1953 Pennsylvania Open (not a tour event) for his first pro win.

His first tour win came at the 1955 Baton Rouge Open, but Wininger had several near-misses between his Penn Open and Baton Rouge wins: He was runner-up at the 1953 Phoenix Open, 1954 Thunderbird Invitational and 1954 Miami Open.

He took the title in Baton Rouge in an 18-hole playoff over Jimmy Clark and Billy Maxwell. At the time of that first win, Wininger had moved back to his home state and was, in his off time from the tour, selling cars at an Oklahoma dealership. In an article in Sports Illustrated, Herbert Warren Wind described Wininger as:

"... (A)n exceptionally sturdy young man with a streak of genuine independence who learned how to take care of himself long ago, a grown-up athlete who keeps a firm martingale (reins) on his considerable temperament and knows how to ride the breaks, both good and bad, without getting unduly histrionic about them."
(Note that Wind called Wininger a "young man" although Wininger was already 33 by the time of his first PGA Tour win.)

Winginger quickly added two more wins, in the 1955 Hot Springs Open and 1956 Kansas City Open. But he didn't win again before the close of the decade, even though he continued wracking up second-place finishes: in the 1956 Ampol Tournament in Australia, the 1956 Pensacola Open, the Canadian Open in 1957 and 1959, the 1958 Havana Invitational and Agua Caliente Open.

He finished a career-best 14th on the money list in 1954, 18th in 1955 and 18th in 1956. But after losing in a playoff in the 1960 Dallas Open, Wininger decided to take a break from tour golf. He left the PGA Tour and went to work as a public relations man for an oil field equiment manufacturer.

Two years later, however, he was back on the PGA Tour circuit. And just like his first time on tour, Wininger won three tournaments in a short span: two in 1962 and one in 1963. Those included back-to-back victories at the tour's New Orleans stop. And a golfer known for finishing second had more of those, too, including at the 1964 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am.

So Wininger was never a huge winner, but he won enough, and was noticeable enough, that he was asked to guest star (along with Jimmy Demaret) in a 1964 episode of The Lucy Show (affiliate link) titled "Lucy Takes Up Golf":

Wininger was only 45 years old when he died in Oklahoma City in 1967. His death followed by about 10 days a massive stroke.

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