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Legendary golfer and Ohio State alumni Tom Weiskopf passes away at age 79

Weiskopf was a giant in the game of golf and will be fondly remembered.

144th Open Championship - Champion Golfers’ Challenge Photo by David Cannon/R&A/R&A via Getty Images

The golfing world lost a giant on Sunday with the passing of Tom Weiskopf. Weiskopf passed away at the age of 79 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Weiskopf was a 16-time winner on the PGA Tour and finished runner up at The Masters four times, never winning the tournament. Weiskopf also accumulated 28 total professional golf wins.

“He had a helluva career,” said his good friend Tony Jacklin. “He was unfortunate that he ran into (Jack) Nicklaus so often. He held Jack in such high regard.”

Weiskopf was born in Massillon Ohio and attended high school at Benedictine High School in Cleveland and then attended The Ohio State University. He turned pro in 1964. In addition to his four runner-up finishes at The Masters, Weiskopf won the Open Championship in 1973 at Troon Golf Club in Troon, Scotland and his four-round score of 12-under par matched the then Open Championship scoring record set by Arnold Palmer in 1962.

Weiskopf was also well known for making sure he had a life outside of golf.

“I didn’t really have the passion or the effort that I wanted to put into it, and everyone kept pushing me to put into it. Golf was more a means to an end for me. It was a way to give my family the best possible life they could have. Hunting and fishing and the outdoors was more important to me. Getting the grand slam of sheep was more important. That’s why I gave up a Ryder Cup one year so I could get my grand slam,” Weiskopf explained to Golfweek in an interview in 2020.

Weiskopf is one of the golfers that, as well respected as he was with fans and spectators, he was even more respected by other great golfers and his peers.

“Definitely,” Johnny Miller said when asked if Weiskopf deserved to be enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame. “A lot of guys get into the Hall, but they were never the best, just the body of work was Hall of Fame worthy. But when you have a run like Tom had (in 1973), there’s two ways of looking at greatness, it’s not just always being consistently good but there’s some point in your career where you might have been the best in the world. That’s big to me.”

The PGA Tour released this statement on Sunday:

“The PGA TOUR is saddened at the passing of Tom Weiskopf, a towering figure in the game of golf not only during his playing career but through his accomplished work in the broadcast booth and golf course design business,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “Tom is leaving behind a lasting legacy in golf. The beautiful swing he showcased during his 16 career PGA TOUR victories is still being emulated today, while his golf courses remain as testaments to his love for the game. Our hearts and deepest sympathies are with the entire Weiskopf family during this time.”

Jack Nicklaus, one of the greatest golfers of all time, battled with Weiskopf plenty of times and Weiskopf was one of the top guys to challenge Nicklaus over the years.

“Tom Weiskopf had as much talent as any player I’ve ever seen play the TOUR,” Nicklaus told Golf Channel.

He finished with 68 top three finishes on the PGA Tour.

In addition to his golfing career, Weiskopf is known as one of the most renown course designers in the history of golf. Here are some of the courses that Weiskopf designed or co-designed:

  • Troon North Golf Club
  • Loch Lomond Golf Club
  • Catamount Ranch and Club
  • Double Eagle
  • Mira Vista Country Club
  • Forest Highlands
  • Lahontan Golf Club
  • The Olympic Club
  • The Ridge at Castle Pines North
  • Shanty Creek Resort
  • Quail Hollow Country Club
  • Snake River Sporting Club
  • Castiglion Del Bosco
  • The Rim Golf Club
  • Silverleaf Club
  • Estancia El Terron Mendiolaza
  • Frost Creek
  • Bloody Point
  • Black Desert Resort

In a weird connection to current times, Weiskopf’s first event as a pro and his last win as a pro was at the Western Open — now known as the BMW Championship — which was the tournament the Tour was conducting when news of Weiskopf’s passing arose.