New Zealand golfer: Sir Bob Charles
Kiwi golfing legend Sir Bob Charles KNZM CBE - the first New Zealander to be admitted to the World Golf Hall of Fame - has been winning tournaments around the world for more than 50 years.
Charles, a winner of more than 60 international titles, was also the first left-hand golfer to win a major golf tournament - the 1963 British Open.
Known as one of the game's best putters, he triumphed five times on the US PGA Tour and claimed eight titles on the European Tour. He is one of the most successful left-handed golfers of all time.
Born on 14 March 1936 in the small Wairarapa town of Carterton, Charles was an 18-year-old amateur when he demolished a top international field - equaling the open record of 280 - to win the 1954 New Zealand Open at Heretaunga.
But, instead of moving straight into professional ranks and a lucrative career, the slight young bank teller decided to keep his day job and spent another six years sharpening his skills. He represented New Zealand several times in international amateur tournaments during this period.
Soon after turning professional in 1960, Charles won the 1961 New Zealand PGA Championship, and moved on to the European and North American circuits.
In 1963, Charles earned international attention with two major wins:
- Houston Classic - first left-handed golfer to win a USPGA Tour event
- British Open.
Sir Bob Charles’ long golfing record includes:
- five PGA Tour wins
- eight European Tour titles
- 17 other international victories including four NZ Opens / three NZPGA championships.
Charles went on to lead an impressive career in the 50+ circuit:
- winner 1989 Senior British Open
- winner 1993 Senior British Open (30 years after his first British Open win)
- 23 Champions Tour titles
- 10 additional senior tournaments.
In 2007 Charles, at 71 years, became the oldest golfer to make the cut on a European Tour event at the Michael Hill New Zealand Open. He finished 23rd.
To New Zealanders, Bob Charles is a sporting hero both for his achievements and his philanthropy towards junior golfers. He has donated one percent of his income to New Zealand golf since 1986, supporting the Sir Bob Charles Scholarships awarded annually to promising young golfers.
Charles was made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in 1972, and CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1992. He became Sir Robert James ‘Bob’ Charles in 1999 when he was named Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1999.
Sir Bob Charles has been married to his wife Verity since 1962, and the couple have two children - Beverly and David. David Charles is a golf director and designer who has been involved in development of several major New Zealand golf courses including the Formosa Country Club (Auckland), Millbrook (Queenstown), and the nine-hole Matarangi course (Coromandel Peninsula).
Profile - Danny Lee
Profile - Michael Campbell
These topics may also be of interest to you