Bio of Golfer Dave Douglas

Golfer Dave Douglas swings a club
Dave Douglas was a professional golfer who played on the PGA Tour in the 1940s and 1950s. He won eight tour events, and also played on Team USA in one Ryder Cup.

Full name: David Douglas

Date of birth: January 1, 1918

Place of birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Date and place of death: November 16, 1978, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Douglas' Biggest Wins

Douglas is credited with eight wins on the PGA Tour:
  • 1947 Orlando Open
  • 1949 Texas Open
  • 1949 Ozark Open
  • 1950 Big Crosby Pro-Am (four-way tie with Jack Burke Jr., Smiley Quick, Sam Snead, no playoff due to weather)
  • 1952 Greater Greensboro Open
  • 1952 Ardmore Open
  • 1953 Canadian Open
  • 1954 Houston Open

In the Majors

Douglas never won a major, and never played in the British Open, but had Top 10 finishes in The Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship. The first major he played in was the 1940 U.S. Open, the last the 1962 PGA Championship. He had a total of six Top 10 finishes in majors.

His best finish was solo fifth place in the 1951 Masters. Douglas was two strokes off the lead following a third-round 69, but finished eight strokes back of winner Ben Hogan.

Douglas tied for sixth place in the 1949 U.S. Open, and did so again in the 1951 U.S. Open. In 1951 he was two off the lead following the third round, but finished seven behind the winner, Hogan again.

Douglas also reached the quarterfinals of the PGA Championship twice. In 1950, he went out to Henry Williams Jr., 1-down. In the 1953 PGA, Douglas was knocked out by the eventual champion, Walter Burkemo, 2-down.

More About Dave Douglas

Dave Douglas' grandfather ran a golf course near Edinburgh, Scotland. Dave's father, Alex Douglas, immigrated to the United States at age 20, part of an influx of Scottish golf professionals heading to America for jobs in the burgeoning club scene.

Alex Douglas became the pro at Aronomink Golf Club in Philadelphia, and that is the city where Dave was born in 1918. But Alex soon moved on to Rock Manor Golf Club in Wilmington, Delaware. That is where Dave grew up, and he was always associated, after becoming famous, with Delaware.

When Dave was 17, he won the club championship at Rock Manor. That was in 1935. By the time World War II ended, Dave was ready to try his hand at the pro tour, and he was a consistent performer for the rest of the 1940s and much of the 1950s.

Douglas' first PGA Tour win, the 1947 Orlando Open, came in a 19-hole playoff win over a future Hall of Famer. The playoff was scheduled for 18 holes, and Douglas and Jimmy Demaret both shot 71s. (Herman Keiser, the third playoff participant, had a 73). Douglas and Demaret continued into sudden-death, and Douglas won it with a birdie on the first extra hole.

Several of Douglas' wins (and a few of his close losses) came against big names and future Hall of Famers. At the 1949 Texas Open, he beat runner-up Sam Snead by one stroke, outduelling Snead with a 65 to Snead's 66. Douglas made a short birdie putt for the win on the final hole after watching Snead sink his own birdie putt.

Douglas lost an 18-hole playoff to Cary Middlecoff at the 1951 Kansas City Open, but beat Bobby Locke by one stroke to win the 1952 Greater Greensboro Open. His eighth and final PGA Tour win was the 1954 Houston Open, where Middlecoff was the runner-up after Douglas matched the course record in the final round.

Douglas won twice in 1949 an in 1952. He had his highest money-list finish, seventh, in 1952, and was rewarded with a spot on Team USA in the 1953 Ryder Cup. He played a key role in that Ryder Cup. Douglas and his longtime friend and fellow Delawarian Ed Oliver played the first match, winning their foursomes, 2 and 1, over the British squad of Harry Weetman/Peter Alliss.

The 1953 Ryder Cup was one of the most closely contested for decades, with the USA eventually winning 6.5 to 5.5. When Jim Turnesa closed out a 1-up win over Alliss, that guaranteed the American side would retain the Cup. But Douglas, in the only match still on the course, won the 18th hole against Bernard Hunt to earn a half-point, giving Team USA the outright victory.

Douglas' last championship opportunity was when he finished runner-up in the 1956 Houston Open. In 1957, he took over as head pro at St. Louis Country Club in Missouri, and he began cutting back his tournament schedule more and more after that.

Among the other clubs where Douglas worked as a pro was Newark (N.J.) Country Club (before St. Louis CC) and, after SLCC, Terre du Lac Golf and Country Club in Missouri.

In 1974, Douglas underwent an operation for cancer. But it was discovered in 1978 that the cancer had returned and spread. Douglas went downhill fast. He learned about the cancer one week before he was scheduled to be inducted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame, and just that one week later was feeling too bad to attend the ceremony. His wife drove them back home to Delaware in a camper, so Douglas could remain in bed, and he died shortly thereafter. He was only 60 years old.

There was later another golfer on the PGA Tour named Dale Douglass, about 18 years younger than Dave. Dave Douglas and Dale Douglass were obviously not the same golfer, but due to the similarity of their names they are sometimes confused for one another when looking at golf's historical records.

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