Our Kind of People

Nick Price

In 1982, 26-year-old Nick Price held a three-stroke lead with six holes left to play in one of golf's premier events, the British Open. But then he faltered, and Tom Watson beat him by one stroke. Watson, having also won the 1982 U.S. Open, became only the sixth player ever to win consecutive major tournaments. Twelve years would pass before that exclusive back-to-back club would admit another member: Price, who endured a lengthy period of frustration before being named the best golfer in the world in 1994.

Nicholas Raymond Leige Price was born Jan. 28, 1957, in Durban, South Africa. His family moved to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where he began playing golf at the age of eight. At age 17 he traveled to the U.S. and won the Junior World tournament in San Diego, Calif. Price spent the next year (1975) playing on the South African and European tours as an amateur. He served two years in the Rhodesian Air Force as a pilot and then rejoined the European tour as a professional in 1977. He joined the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA) tour full-time in 1983 and showed great promise, winning the World Series of Golf that year by four strokes over Jack Nicklaus. In the years that followed, Price was hailed by his peers as one of the best, and most likable, golfers on the tour. From 1983 to 1990 he earned nearly $1.9 million. After winning the World Series, however, he did not capture another PGA tour event for eight years.

Finally, in 1991 his name topped the leader board twice, and he earned a career-high $714,000. But it was his first-place finish at the PGA championship in 1992 that marked the beginning of an incredible 24-month run in which he won 16 times and finished in the top 10 in 37 of 59 tournaments. The 15th win came in July 1994 at the British Open in Turnberry, Scotland, where Price avenged his 1982 heartbreak by sinking a spectacular 18-m (60-ft) putt for an eagle on the second-to-last hole, a shot that clinched his victory. Then, in August at the PGA championship in Tulsa, Okla., he shot an 11-under-par 269--the lowest score ever recorded in a U.S. major tournament (Masters, U.S. Open, and PGA)--to win by an amazing margin of six strokes and become the seventh golfer to win back-to-back majors. The win propelled Price to the top position of the Sony world rankings. The next day he underwent minor surgery. Less than a month later he won the Bell Canadian Open at Oakville, Ont. Price finished 1994 as the top money winner of the PGA tour, having earned nearly $1.5 million. (ANTHONY G. CRAINE)

Extract from:

"Year in Review 1994: Biography" Encyclopędia Britannica Online.

Copyright © 1994-1999 Encyclopędia Britannica, Inc.

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