7 numbers that tell just how great Billy Casper was
Billy Casper died on Saturday, rightfully setting off a series of tributes to a great champion and person. Stringing all those stories together was the sentiment that Casper was underrated as a golfer. At some point, though, unanimously being considered underrated makes someone pretty highly rated, right? No matter what the perception, Casper was a golfing giant any way you look at his numbers. Here are seven stats that stand out:
51: Casper's career total of PGA Tour titles has been surpassed by only six golfers. And if you're waiting for another active player to catch him, don't hold your breath. Phil Mickelson is by far the closest with 42 wins, but Phil getting 10 more at this point in his career seems like a stretch. Next on the list of active full-time players on the PGA Tour is Ernie Els with 19.
3: Three of Casper's 51 PGA Tour wins were majors championships. Only 13 golfers have won more majors since Casper won his first at the 1959 U.S. Open. Casper would also win the 1966 U.S. Open and the 1970 Masters. That total could have been higher, but he finished runner-up at the PGA Championship three times and only played in the British Open five times, including a fourth-place finish in 1968.
8: Casper played on eight straight U.S. Ryder Cup teams beginning in 1961. In 1979, he served as the team's captain. Phil Mickelson, who played in a ninth consecutive Ryder Cup in 2014, has accomplished that feat. Unlike during Mickelson's era, the U.S. was undefeated in the nine times Casper competed in this event.
23.5: Casper wasn't just along for the ride during that dominant stretch by the U.S. His 23.5 points are the most all time by an American.
5: Casper won the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average on the PGA Tour five times. Only Tiger Woods (nine times) has won the award more.
16: Casper won at least one PGA Tour event in 16 consecutive years. Only Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer (both 17 years) have longer streaks.
9.2: Casper's career winning percentage on the PGA Tour. Only two golfers who started their careers after 1950 (Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus) have won at a higher rate.