Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Byron Nelson and the Congressional Gold Medal

One of Golf's greatest ever players Byron Nelson was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civillian award that can be bestowed upon an individual by the United States congress. He now joins an elite club of people which includes some of the greatest people the world has ever seen such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa among many others. George Washington was the first recipient of this award way back in 1776.
Byron Nelson became only the fifth athlete to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and the first golfer.

The year 1945 in the game of golf will forever be associated with Byron Nelson. That year "Lord Byron" won 18 tournaments which include 11 tournament wins in a row. A record that still stands the test of time. His 113 consecutive cuts made are second only to Tiger's 142 a streak that was snapped at the U.S.Open in 2006. But Byron Nelson's 113 consecutive cuts is a feat far more impressive than Tiger's achievement. According to the information available "The PGA Tour defines a cut as receiving a paycheck, even if an event has no cut per se. In Nelson's era, only the top 20 in a tournament received a check. In reality, Nelson's "113 consecutive cuts made" are representative of his unequaled 113 consecutive top 20 tournament finishes." Such a feat has never been accomplished by any other player and although in today's time any player who make a cut receives a pay, Nelson's feat is truly unparalleled because of the rule the PGA Tour had back then for cuts made.He was the first golfer after whom a professional event on the tour had been named, the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. This year was the first time the event was played in his absence. He passed away in September 2006.

This recognition by the U.S. congress is the true testament to the impact the great golfer had on the game and his contribution to the society at large after his playing days. A champion and a gentleman, the world of Golf stands to applaud this great man.

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