Three-time TOUR winner Ragan passes away
March 15, 2018
By Chris Cox, Special to PGATOUR.COM
- March 15, 2018
- Dave Ragan had 54 top-10 finishes in 278 starts on TOUR. (Courtesy of the PGA of America)
Three-time PGA TOUR winner and longtime golf instructor Dave Ragan, who proved himself a steady, consistent presence on the leaderboards in the 1950s and 1960s, passed away Tuesday. He was 82 years old.
Ragan turned professional in 1956 after finishing a stellar career at the University of Florida, where he earned All-America honors that year after winning an SEC individual championship. The Gators have since enshrined the Daytona Beach, Florida, native into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
In his time on TOUR, Ragan missed just six cuts over 278 starts, finishing with 54 top-10 finishes and those three aforementioned victories. His first career victory came in June 1959, when he won the Eastern Open Invitational, before encountering his best run in late 1962, when in the span of a month he won the Beaumont Open Invitational and the West Palm Beach Open Invitational in a playoff over Doug Sanders.
“My second year, I went right out to Los Angeles— finished seventh, I think—and I was kind of on my way,” he told the Daytona Beach News-Journal in 2014. “From there, I was consistently in the money, but we weren’t playing for very much then.”
In 1963, he earned a spot on the Ryder Cup team, which the U.S. won, 23 to 9, thanks to his performance. He teamed with Billy Casper to win 1 up in foursomes, and won 2 & 1 in singles over Neil Coles. That year also saw his best finish in a major, when he finished second to Jack Nicklaus at the PGA Championship.
His other showings in majors are highlighted by a pair of T25 finishes at the Masters and a T12 at the U.S. Open in 1963.
“He was a peaceful gentlemen and the kindest soul who devoted his life to his family, the game of golf and the good book,” his son, Chuck Ragan, posted on Instagram. “Just like his sweet parents, he inspired and lifted up anyone that came close to him. He taught my brothers and I more about life, fishing, the outdoors, the game of golf, sportsmanship, love and never quitting than anyone ever had.”
Ragan, who also spent time on PGA TOUR Champions, discovered instruction after his playing days ended. He was the Director of Golf and Teaching Professional at Pine Tree Country Club and Inverness Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama. Earlier this year, Pine Tree renamed their club’s tournament the Dave Ragan Cup in honor of his service.
He is survived by his wife, Geraldine, and five sons.(Courtesy of the PGA of America)