The CANCER Golf Legend: Gene Littler
- Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1990.
- Major Championship Victories: 2
- U.S. Amateur: 1953
- U.S. Open: 1961
- PGA TOUR victories: 29
Nicknamed “Gene the Machine” for his remarkably consistent
ball striking, Gene Littler possessed one of golf’s truly great
swings. Had he been more passionate about golf he may have won many
more than the 29 PGA TOUR events he captured. Content to spend time
at home in Rancho Santa Fe, California among his vintage car collection,
Littler was often criticized for not taking more advantage of his
talent. What allowed him to get by was one of the finest natural swings
the game has ever seen.
on July 21, 1930 in San Diego, California, Gene Littler first attracted
national attention at the age of 23 when he won the U.S. Amateur.
Four months later, he won the San Diego Open as an amateur and two
days later, he turned pro. The following year he captured four titles
but a tendency to fiddle with his swing got him into a slump in
1957 and 1958. Under the tutelage of Paul Runyan he quickly regained
his old form and in 1961 he won his only professional major, the
U.S. Open at Oakland Hills.
Littlers sustained excellence is what made his career so noteworthy.
Only once from 1954 to 1979 did he finish out of the top 60 on the
money list and that was because he was sidelined by surgery to remove
a cancerous lymph node. Coming back to win three tournaments after
that scare and finishing fifth on the money list in 1975 at the
age of 45 is one of the true great stories in golf.
In 1980 at the age of 50, Littler became eligible for the SENIOR TOUR
and proceeded to win three of his first five tournaments and, in 1981
won the Vintage International by an amazing nine strokes.
your CANCER personality with the CANCER Golf Legend, Gene Littler