Jim Ferree, two-time PGA TOUR Champions winner, dies at age 91
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Written by Staff @PGATOUR
Jim Ferree, who won the 1958 Vancouver Open and then added two PGA TOUR Champions victories after turning 50 but was perhaps most recognized for his on-course attire that included knickers and his trademark flat hat, died Tuesday, March 14. He was 91 years old.
Born June 10, 1931, in Pinebluff, North Carolina, Ferree learned the game from his father, Purvis, a long-time golf professional who also played occasionally on the PGA TOUR between the 1930s and the 1960s.
Ferree, a University of North Carolina graduate, was widely regarded as one of the best tee-to-green players of his generation, while putting sometimes proved his nemesis.
His lone TOUR victory came in Western Canada, where he took a four-shot lead into the final round, triumphing over Billy Casper.
When Ferree joined PGA TOUR Champions in 1981 (then known as the Senior PGA Tour), he was one of a handful of senior players who wore knickers to bring added flair to the then-fledgling tour. PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman chose Ferree to be the model for the knickers-wearing player on that Tour’s logo and, thus, created a living logo.
Ferree is often cited as one of the players who was instrumental in helping get PGA TOUR Champions off the ground. The Champions Tour named him its Comeback Player of the Year in 1993 after he recovered from prostate cancer. He won twice on that circuit—at the 1986 Greater Grand Rapids Open and the 1991 Bell Atlantic Classic. He played in 407 official events and added 12 runner-up finishes in a career that concluded in 2002. Yet he still stayed active, playing every year in the Demaret Division of the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, winning that division with partner Miller Barber in 2003.
While still active on PGA TOUR Champions, he became the head pro at Westmoreland Country Club in Western Pennsylvania, and in 1991, he became the first golfer inducted into the University of North Carolina's Hall of Fame, the 1953 Southern Conference champion and a member of the Southern Conference 75th Anniversary team that included Arnold Palmer, Mike Hulbert, Brad Faxon and E. Harvie Ward.
Ferree is survived by his wife Karen, son Randy, and granddaughter Jennings.