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Major champion Don January dies at 93

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Major champion Don January dies at 93

January, whose most notable triumph came at the 1967 PGA Championship died on Sunday May 7, 2023 at age 93.

    Written by Staff

    Born November 20, 1929 in Plainview, Texas, January graduated from Sunset High School in Dallas. As a member of the North Texas State golf team, he contributed to its four consecutive NCAA Division I titles, from 1949-52.

    Nicknamed “Bones” for his tall, slender stature, he turned pro and went on to win 10 PGA TOUR titles, earned the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average in 1976 at age 47 and was a member of the U.S. Ryder Cup team in both 1965 and 1977. His best-known victory came at the 1967 PGA Championship, when he tied Don Massengale at the end of regulation play and then beat him in an 18-hole playoff the following day at Denver’s Columbine Country Club. His most-disappointing loss came in the same tournament, six years earlier, when he lost a four-shot lead with three holes left and fell into a playoff with Jerry Barber, an overtime session January lost the next day.

    After turning 50, January had tremendous success on PGA TOUR Champions, winning 22 events including two PGA Seniors’ Championships. He won that circuit’s first official tournament, the 1980 Atlantic City Senior International, with his last victory coming in 1987—a playoff victory over Butch Baird at the MONY Senior Tournament of Champions.

    In between his last PGA TOUR win and the start of the Champions Tour, January devoted most of his professional efforts to a golf-course design business, JanMart Enterprises.

    The Don January Golf Classic, a golf tournament played annually in the spring, was established in 1980 to honor him by his alma mater, the University of North Texas.

    January is survived by three children (Tim, Richard and Cherie Depuy), six grandchildren (Sean, Cody, Alexandra Hill, Meagan Eichenlaub, Andy Stowe, Samantha Reasor) and eight great grandchildren.

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