Bio of Pro Golfer Paul Harney

Golfer Paul Harney on the cover of a book
Paul Harney was, for a time in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, considered one of the best-playing club pros in the world. That's because he also played part-time on the PGA Tour (after beginning his career as a full-time player) and pulled off multiple victories.

Date of birth: July 11, 1929

Place of birth: Worcester, Massachusetts

Date and place of death: August 24, 2011 in Falmouth, Massachusetts

Harney's PGA Tour Wins

Paul Harney is credited with six official wins on the PGA Tour:
  • 1957 Carling Open Invitational
  • 1957 Labatt Open
  • 1959 Pensacola Open
  • 1964 Los Angeles Open
  • 1965 Los Angeles Open
  • 1972 Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational

In the Majors

Harney first played in a major at the 1956 U.S. Open, and last at the 1974 Masters. He made 34 starts in majors with six Top 10 finishes.

Harney's best finish in a major was fourth place at the 1963 U.S. Open, where he finished one stroke out of the three-man playoff between Arnold Palmer, Jacky Cupit and winner Julius Boros.

In the seven Masters Tournaments from 1961-67, Harney finished in the Top 8 four times: sixth in 1961, tied fifth in 1964, tied eighth in 1966 and tied sixth in 1967. His other Top 10 in a major was a tie for seventh in the 1962 PGA Championship. In 20 of 34 major starts, Harney finished in the Top 25.

More About Paul Harney

In his 1962 book How to Master the Irons (affiliate links), Gene Littler referred to Paul Harney as "famous for (his) long drives." But Harney was also featured in a putting instructional book (pictured above).

In the book Mind Over Golf by Tom Nieporte, the author called "confidence" Harney's "confessed shortcoming," and wrote that Harney often said that "casual conversation bothered him" during a round of golf.

Harney grew up in Worcester, Mass., and played college golf at Holy Cross, in his hometown. While there, he was medalist in the 1952 NCAA Golf Championship.

After serving in the United States Navy during the Korean War, Harney turned professional in 1954 and joined the PGA Tour. He played full-time on the tour from 1955-62.

In 1957, Harney earned win No. 1 at the Carling Open, where he trailed by one entering the final round, shot 68 and won by three. Decades later he called it his biggest thrill because, "I proved I could beat everyone."

He won again two weeks later, finished a career-best sixth on the money list that year, and was named the PGA Tour's Most Improved Player for 1957.

Harney won again in 1959, was runner-up in the Carling Open in 1960, second to Billy Casper in the 1960 Portland Open, and lost in a playoff to Arnold Palmer in the 1963 Thunderbird Invitational.

But by 1963, Harney was no longer a full-time PGA Tour player. He had promised his wife, when he went out on tour, that he would retire when their oldest child (they eventually had six kids) was ready to start school. The time arrived, and Harney did as he promised. He was only a part-time tour player thereafter.

From the mid-1960s into the early 1970s, Harney's primary job was head professional at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, Mass., a course that has been the site of many PGA Tour and LPGA Tour tournaments over the years.

Harney worked his club job during the months when weather was good in Massachusetts. But when the winter weather arrived, Harney headed for PGA Tour tournaments. And he continued having success, despite his part-time status.

His biggest achievement was winning the Los Angeles Open at Riviera Country Club in back-to-back years, 1964 and 1965. He was runner-up at the 1970 Greater Hartford Open, and his final PGA Tour win was in 1972 at the San Diego Open, by one stroke over Hale Irwin.

From 1967 through 1977, Harney also won the Massachusetts Open (not a tour event) five times — four consecutive years from 1967-70, and again in 1977.

Harney finished in the Top 60 of the PGA Tour money list (the cutoff at the time to avoid Monday qualifying) from 1956 through 1965, and again in 1970 and 1972. He last appeared in a PGA Tour event in 1977.

For his PGA Tour career, Harney played 322 tournaments, made 305 cuts, had six wins, was runner-up five times and finished third eight times, and posted 85 Top 10s.

At his club pro job, Harney was named PGA Professional of the Year in 1974. In the 1970s, Harney purchased his own golf course in East Falmouth, Mass. That course, now named Paul Harney Golf Club, is still run by the Harney family.

Harney joined the Champions Tour in 1980 and, although he didn't win, enjoyed some success on the senior circuit. He lost in a playoff to Arnold Palmer in the 1980 Senior PGA Championship, finished 16th on the money list in 1982, ninth in 1983 and 22nd in 1984. Overall, Harney played 70 Champions Tour tournaments with 22 Top 10 finishes.

Harney was 82 years old when he died in 2011. Harney is a member of the Holy Cross Varsity Club Hall of Fame, the New England Golf Hall of Fame and the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame.

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