Dan Halldorson: Profile of Canadian PGA Tour Winner

Dan Halldorson was a professional golfer from Canada who played on the PGA Tour from the mid-1970s into the mid-1990s. Although he won only once on the PGA Tour, he was an important player in the development of Canadian golf at the time. He also led Team Canada to two victories in the World Cup.

Full name: Daniel Albert Halldorson

Date of birth: April 2, 1952

Place of birth: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Date and place of death: November 18, 2015, in Cambridge, Illinois, USA

His Biggest Wins

Halldorson had one win on the PGA Tour: Halldorson also won the Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic in 1986, but it was not yet an official PGA Tour tournament at that time.

In Canada, Halldorson won the Manitoba PGA Championship in 1971 and was a four-time champ in the Manitoba Open (1977, 1978, 1983, 1984). He won the Saskatchewan Open (1977) and Quebec Open (1980). His biggest win in his homeland was the 1986 CPGA Championship, the tournament now known as the PGA Championship of Canada.

His other victories include the 1982 Colorado Open, plus, as part of the 2-man Team Canada, the World Cup team titles in 1980 and 1985.

In the Majors

Halldorson made only 13 career appearances in the major championships: one in The Masters, six in the U.S. Open and six in the PGA Championship. His first was the 1980 PGA Championship and last the 1992 U.S. Open. His best showing (and only Top 20 finish) was tied for 16th in the 1982 PGA Championship.

More About Dan Halldorson

Dan Halldorson, in his early childhood, lived across the street from a golf course in Winnipeg. That convenience helped him build a golf game during the very short golf seasons in that part of Canada due to the cold, snowy winters.

The family moved to Brandon, Manitoba, when Halldorson was 13. When he was 16, he won his first adult (as opposed to junior) golf tournament, but on the top of a terrible tragedy: His parents, driving to the course to watch him play that day, were both killed in a car crash.

Halldorson also caddied when he was young for Wilf Homenuik, a prominent Canadian golfer and one who, like Halldorson, was later elected to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. Homenuik became a friend and mentor to the younger player.

When Halldorson was 17, he won the Manitoba Junior Championship in 1969. He bypassed college to turn pro in 1971 and played regional tournaments and events on the Canadian pro circuit. That year he got his first pro win: the Manitoba PGA Championship.

Halldorson qualified for the PGA Tour in 1974, but earned only $619 in his rookie year in 1975. He was off the PGA Tour for the next three years, but made it through Q-School again in 1978.

"Here's the ball and there's the hole, four and a quarter inches in diameter. We're expected to get the ball from here to there in three shots, across all this land and water. And what's more amazing, sometimes we do it in one shot. It boggles the mind to even think of it." — Dan Halldorson
Halldorson finished 116th on the PGA Tour money list in 1979. But early in 1980, he showed signs of better placings to come: He finished second to Jim Colbert Joe Garagiola Tucson Open.

When he won the 1980 Pensacola Open, Halldorson was the first Canadian winner on tour since George Knudson in 1972. Halldorson came from three strokes behind after the third round to win by two over Gary Hallberg and Mike Sullivan.

The 1980 Pensacola Open was the second-to-last tournament on the schedule. The season-ender was the team-format Walt Disney World National Team Championship the following week. And Halldorson followed up his first PGA Tour victory by finishing second in the Disney (partnered by Dana Quigley).

He finished 36th on the money list for 1980, which turned out to be a career best. Because Halldorson never won again on the PGA Tour.

In 1981, though, at the Quad Cities Open, he was part of a 5-man, sudden-death playoff that lasted eight holes before Dave Barr, a fellow Canadian, emerged as the winner. It was the fourth sudden-death playoff in PGA Tour history that lasted eight or more holes, and tied for second-longest sudden-death playoff in PGA Tour history.

Halldorson was a solid PGA Tour performer in the early 1980s. He was 47th on the money list in 1981, 43rd in 1982. He fell to 146th in 1983, but rebounded to finish in the Top 100 again in 1984 and 1985.

Then, in 1986, Halldorson won again. Unfortunately for him, it was in a tournament that, although staged by the PGA Tour, was not then counted as an official tour victory, and his earnings were not counted as official tour money. That tournament, then known as the Deposit Guaranty Classic, was still being played on the PGA Tour (as the Sanderson Farms Championship) 35 years later. Halldorson won it by two strokes over runner-up Paul Azinger. But because it was an unofficial money event then, Halldorson today is credited with only one tour victory, rather than two.

Halldorson had to returned to Q-School again in 1990, and in 1991 he cracked the Top 100 again on the money list. But by the mid-1990s he'd fallen off the tour.

PGA Tour statistics show Halldorson made 441 starts in official tournaments, with one win, five second-place finishes, three thirds, 14 Top 5 finishes and 28 Top 10 finishes. His other second-place showings were at the 1982 Pensacola Open, 1987 Southwest Golf Classic and 1991 Honda Classic.

While he never had a Top 15 showing in the majors, Halldorson did twice finish in the Top 10 in The Players Championship: tied for eighth in 1981, and tied for fifth in 1985.

Halldorson represented Canada in the World Cup seven times, helping lead Team Canada to victory in 1980 and 1985. In 1980, he teamed with Jim Nelford for the team title (over runner-up Scotland) and tied for third individually. In the 1985 World Cup, Halldorson and Barr notched the team victory (over runner-up England) and Halldorson was solo third individually. He also represented Canada in the World Cup in 1976, 1978, 1979, 1982 and 1991.

Halldorson was twice named the Canadian PGA Player of the Year (1981 and 1982). After his competitive days ended, he worked as an instructor, operated golf schools for corporate and charity events, had a golf-course design business, and was involved with administration of the Canadian Tour.

In the 2000s, Halldorson served as deputy executive director of the Canadian Tour. The Canadian Broadcasting Company once described his duties in that role as including "hammering in signage stakes and cruising the practice range talking to young players, honing their craft far away from the rarified air of the PGA Tour." He was considered a valuable influence by many young Canadian pros.

In 2013, Halldorson became the director of golf at Oak Island Resort not far from Brandon, Manitoba, were he'd spent the second half of his youth.

Halldorson was 63 years old when he suffered a stroke in 2015. He died a couple days later.

Halldorson was the author of one instruction book, Keys to Effortless Golf (affiliate link), published in 1994. He was elected to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 2002, and is also a member of the Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame and Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.

(Book titles are affiliate links; commissions earned)
Alliss, Peter. The Who's Who of Golf, 1983, Orbis Publishing.
Apfelbaum, Jim. The Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations, 2007, Skyhorse Publishing.
Brenner, Morgan. The Majors of Golf, Volume 3, 2009, McFarland and Company.
Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. "Daniel Albert Halldorson," https://heritage.golfcanada.ca/hall-of-fame-members/dan-halldorson/
Golf Canada. "Canadian Golf Mourns The Loss Of Dan Halldorson," BritishColumbiaGolf.org, https://britishcolumbiagolf.org/uncategorized/1462-canadian-golf-mourns-the-loss-of-dan-halldorson
Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. Honoured Members, "Dan Halldorson," https://web.archive.org/web/20090405235557/http://www.halloffame.mb.ca/honoured/2007/dhalldorson.htm
Penton, Kirk. "Brandon's former PGA golfer Dan Halldorson dead at age 63," Winnipeg Sun, November 18, 2015, https://winnipegsun.com/2015/11/18/brandons-former-pga-golfer-dan-halldorson-fighting-for-life-after-suffering-stroke
PGA Tour. Official PGA Tour Media Guide 1981, 1980, Workman Publishing.
PGA Tour. The Tour Book 1990: Official Media Guide of the PGA Tour, 1989.
PGA Tour. 1995 PGA Tour Official Media Guide, 1994.
PGA Tour Canada. "Dan Halldorson," https://archive.ph/20140616181016/http://www.cantour.com/leagues/cantour_player.cfm#selection-459.1-459.70
PGATour.com. "Dan Halldorson," https://www.pgatour.com/player/01469
Robinson, Peter. "Dan Halldorson blazed a trail for Canadian golf," CBC Sports, November 19, 2015, https://www.cbc.ca/sports/golf/dan-halldorson-canadian-golfer-obituary-1.3326518

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